Side Impact Truck Accidents
No two truck collisions are the same. One factor that differentiates collisions is how the collision occurred. Some collisions involve rear-end impacts, others head-on, still others involve rollovers. One particularly dangerous kind of crash is a “T-bone” collision.
A T-bone collision becomes significantly more serious—and even deadly—when it involves a large truck or another commercial motor vehicle. Learn the risks and the causes below from our experienced semi truck accident attorneys.
What Is a T-Bone Collision?
“T-bone” is a nickname for a broadside collision. These happen when the front of one vehicle crashes directly into the side of another vehicle. The colliding vehicles form the shape of a “T;” Hence, the “T-bone” nickname. T-bones are common at intersections, but can happen on other areas of road including highways.
The particular concern regarding T-bone crashes is that the side of a vehicle often has much less protection for vehicle occupants than the front or rear. There are often crumple zones between occupants and a front or rear impact and airbags can help soften the blow as well. While some vehicles have side-impact airbags, these are not a standard or required feature on all vehicle models, especially older vehicles.
When another vehicle crashes into the side of your car, anyone sitting on the collision side is highly vulnerable to catastrophic or fatal injuries. This is especially true if a small child is sitting on the side of the collision. This is why T-bone crashes often result in devastating injuries and losses to people and their families.
How Trucks Make T-Bones Worse
Large trucks like tractor-trailers, semis, and tanker trucks are significantly heavier and larger than passenger vehicles. As a result, when they are involved in collisions, they can cause much more serious damage than usually occurs in “regular” car collisions. In addition, when trucks are involved in collisions, their cargo often spills out into the road, causing secondary hazards for other motorists.
Worse still is when a truck carrying hazardous materials is in a serious collision, and its trailer allows the materials to escape. In cases like this, not only is there the potential for secondary collisions as a result of the initial crash, but also injuries from exposure to hazardous materials.
Common Causes of T-Bone Truck Collisions
T-bone collisions rarely occur in the absence of a serious error on the part of a driver, a vehicle defect, or a malfunctioning or ineffective traffic controls. As a result, in many T-bone collision cases, people may recover money to reimburse them for their losses.
Some of the more common causes of t-bone collisions include:
- Distracted driving;
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol;
- Failing to stop or yield for stop signs or traffic signals;
- Texting and driving;
- Failing to account for slippery roads or poor weather conditions;
- Malfunctioning or ineffective traffic controls;
- Defective brakes;
- Improper turns.
After a collision, you should call 911 and let the dispatcher know that an collision occurred. In most cases, the dispatcher will direct police to the crash scene who may make initial determinations of fault and traffic violations. While a police report cannot itself be used as evidence in court, an insurance company can use it to determine fault in a collision. In addition, if the police issue any traffic tickets or determine that the other driver involved in the collision was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it can make it easier for you to establish fault in a truck accident.
Your Rights After a T-Bone Truck Crash
As with any crash, your legal rights and options after a T-bone truck collision will depend on the circumstances of the collision. The first order of business is to determine whether another party caused the truck collision should be held responsible for your losses.
Some parties that might be liable include:
- Truck driver – Many T-bones happen because a truck driver was not paying attention or otherwise acted negligently. In this situation, you can file a claim against the negligent driver to seek financial recovery for your losses.
- Trucking company – If the truck driver was to blame, his or her employing trucking company can also be held legally at fault. The trucking company might have also acted negligently in hiring a dangerous driver, failing to supervise the driver, or failing to maintain the truck, among other conduct.
- Manufacturers – Some T-bones occur because part of the commercial truck was defective and malfunctioned. For example, if a defective tire suddenly blew out, the truck driver might have lost control, resulting in the T-bone. In this situation, the tire manufacturers could be the liable party.
- Government agencies – Some T-bones result from poorly timed traffic signals, a lack of traffic signs, or other failures of agencies to properly direct traffic and safely maintain the roads.
Once your truck collision lawyer determines which parties are liable, you have the right to seek compensation for your injury-related losses.
These can include:
- Past and future medical costs;
- Past and future lost earnings;
- Pain, suffering and other non-economic losses;
- Permanent injuries and disabilities
Your lawyer should help you through every step of the process always protecting your right to a full and fair recovery.
Speak With the Best Truck Collision Attorney Near You
After a T-bone collision, you should retain the best truck collision lawyer near you as soon as you can. Trucking companies and their insurers will take aggressive action to avoid or minimize their liability, which can leave injured people and families of those killed with significant losses.
Fortunately, a lawyer familiar with representing people impacted by truck collisions can help ensure that you obtain the monetary reimbursement the law allows.
A truck collision attorney can help you by:
- Evaluating the strength of your case;
- Identifying all potentially liable parties;
- Filing an insurance claim on your behalf;
- Representing you in settlement negotiations;
- Filing a lawsuit on your behalf;
- Trying your case to a jury.
Without a lawyer, you risk accepting a settlement offer far below the actual value of your losses in a truck collision case or having your claim wrongfully denied. Protect your rights from the start by retaining a truck collision attorney near you as soon as you can after your crash.