Who Is at Fault in A T Bone Accident?

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Side impact collisions, sometimes known as T-Bone collisions, are both common and dangerous. They occur most frequently at intersections when one car is turning and the other is proceeding through the intersection.

T-Bone accidents are deadly because there is so little protecting the person inside a vehicle that is hit from the side. Only a window and side panel protect the driver or passenger when a collision like this occurs. Compare that to the relative safety provided by the hood or trunk section of a car when hit from behind or when rear-ended by another vehicle.

The majority of auto accidents occur at intersections. Oftentimes, inattentive or reckless drivers fail to follow the rules of the road. Traffic signals help, but drivers frequently run lights and stop signs, either through blocked sightlines, inattentiveness or on purpose. When a driver is speeding through an intersection, collisions can result in severe injuries.

Liability in T-Bone Accidents Can Go Either Way

When looking at the issue of liability, you always want to know who had the right of way. At a traffic signal, liability is often clearer. If the car T-Boned was proceeding through the intersection on a green light, then usually liability is with the person making the turn. In some T-Bone accidents the insurance company will try to deny your claim on the basis of contributory negligence. They may allege you were traveling to fast or that you ran the red light. Or, that you should have seen the other vehicle and done something to avoid being hit. In these situations, an attorney can help obtain traffic surveillance, black box information, or other evidence to help prove it wasn’t your fault.

Ways This Accident Often Occurs

This accident can occur in any number of ways, but here are some of the more common ways it occurs:

  • Speeding (or driving too fast under specific conditions like rain or fog)
  • Running a red light or failing to stop at a stop sign
  • Drivers unsure of who has the right of way at flashing yellow or red lights
  • Illegal passing or cutting off another vehicle
  • Texting, talking, daydreaming—distracted driving
  • Reckless driving or failure to yield
  • Poor weather conditions

North Carolina’s Contributory Negligence Law Can Impact Your Recovery

North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. That means that if Driver A is partly at fault and Driver B is 99% liable, Driver A may be precluded from any recovery from Driver B. It seems unfair, and so, the common law of the state has found several workarounds to allow recovery in certain circumstances.

One, in particular, is appropriate here. If Driver B has the “last clear chance” to avoid the accident and failed to, then even if Driver A is partly at fault, Driver A can collect from Driver B. So, let us say that Driver A, driving 5 miles above the speed limit, had the green light and didn’t see Driver B begin the turn. Liability in these cases is often contested and consultation with an attorney sooner rather than later to help preserve relevant evidence is always a good idea.

Things You Can Do at the Scene

Because liability can be tricky, it is helpful to get take pictures and videos of the intersection, the cars at rest in the intersection, any skid marks, and of the traffic signals including anything blocking a clear sightline. It can also be helpful to talk to any witnesses there and to get their names and addresses for future interviews.

These accidents can result in serious injuries. You must get the help you need at the scene, at the hospital, and from a North Carolina accident attorney whom you trust.

Free Consultation with An Experienced North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney

These accidents are serious, and you want to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who has your back. Get the help you need. We are experienced, compassionate, and care about getting you the help you need. We know the insurance companies’ playbook, and we utilize our skills to help you get the best outcome possible with your case. Put your focus on healing and put our experience on your side. The initial consultation is free. Call Horton & Mendez today at (910) 668-8067 or fill out the form on this page to see what we can do for you.

T-Bone Accident FAQ

The Insurance Company Has Denied My Claim, What Do I Do Now?

You have a limited amount of time to act once an insurance company has denied your claim. Make sure to consult with and find an attorney experienced in T-Bone accidents. They will know how to deal with liability in these cases.

I Was Taken by Ambulance and Was Unable to Take Any Pictures. What Now?

The first step is to get a copy of the police report. If you have not received a copy yet, we can help obtain that and the police officer or trooper’s entire investigative file. The police may have spoken to others at the scene, taken photos, diagrammed skid marks noted the damage to the vehicles.

I Know Exactly What Time I Entered the Intersection. Will That Help?

Yes, maybe. If there was a timed light, and your cell phone shows the exact time you entered the intersection, this can be helpful in terms of establishing liability.

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