Truck broadside collisions, or T-bone accidents, occur when the front of a large truck or tractor-trailer strikes the side of a vehicle moving in an adjacent direction. The force of a broadside impact is sometimes so severe that it causes the vehicle on the receiving end to spin around rapidly in the intersection—or completely overturn. At other times, the impacted vehicle may strike one or more other vehicles, causing numerous injuries and sometimes fatalities.
Broadside collisions typically result from truck driver and trucking company negligence. If you suffered injuries in a broadside accident that was someone else’s fault, you have legal options available to you.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident and review your eligibility for filing a personal injury claim. If you are eligible to file a claim, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and work to recover the monetary damages you deserve.
Insurance companies are often unwilling to compensate accident victims for their case’s fair value. Instead, they want to save themselves as much money as possible. If that happens in your case, your lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. If the adjuster refuses to compensate you reasonably for your accident-related injuries, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and litigate your case to a favorable conclusion in court.
Potential Damages in a Truck Broadside Collision Case
Broadside truck accidents leave many accident victims severely injured and in need of prompt medical attention. These injuries may cause some accident victims to experience pain and symptoms for the remainder of their life. In fact, your lawyer may call upon a healthcare provider to establish that you suffered a permanent injury in your accident which is unlikely to improve over time. To prove permanency, a medical provider must state that your injury is permanent on the record and to a reasonable degree of medical probability.
In addition to recovering monetary compensation for a permanent injury or disability, accident victims can recover lost wage damages if they missed time from work due to their injuries. To prove they are entitled to these damages, an accident victim must normally introduce documentation from their employer that states the number of days they missed from work and the amount they lost per day. In cases where an accident victim’s injuries prevent them from performing the same work at the same job, the accident victim can bring a claim for loss of earning capacity. This is especially true if they had to switch to a light-duty job and take a pay cut in the process.
Moreover, broadside truck accident victims can pursue compensation for their inconvenience, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, and mental distress. If their activity levels decrease due to their injuries, they can make a claim for loss of life enjoyment. They can also recover damages for their loss of the ability to use a body part, such as from a paralysis injury. Finally, they can pursue damages for loss of spousal companionship and family support.
If you suffered injuries in a broadside truck accident that was not your fault, you might be entitled to recover some or all of these damages. A truck accident lawyer in your area can help you determine which of these damages you are eligible to recover in your personal injury case. Your lawyer will then do everything possible to help you maximize the compensation you receive and ensure that it is reasonable, given the facts and circumstances of your case.
If the insurance company will not take your case seriously and refuses to compensate you appropriately, your lawyer can take your case to court and represent you at all court proceedings, including your jury trial or binding arbitration hearing.
How Do Truck Broadside Accidents Happen?
Truck broadside accidents can occur anywhere, but they are widespread at traffic intersections where a truck negligently strikes the side of a vehicle traveling on an adjacent roadway. However, they can also happen when a large truck merges onto a busy highway and fails to yield the right-of-way, striking the side of a through-moving vehicle.
Truck broadside collisions typically result from driver negligence. A truck driver is negligent when they operate their vehicle in an unreasonable manner under the circumstances. This typically means that the driver refrains from doing something that a hypothetical “reasonable truck driver” should have done under the same circumstances. Alternatively, the negligent driver might do something that a reasonable driver should not have done in the same situation.
Truck driver negligence can take various forms, but it typically involves violating a rule of the road, engaging in distracted driving, exhibiting road rage, driving while intoxicated, or driving while fatigued.
Road rules are in place to keep truck drivers and others safe. Common road rule violations that cause broadside truck accidents include speeding and failing to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate time.
In addition to road rule violations, broadside truck accidents also occur when a driver fails to watch the road. Numerous distractions can divert a truck driver’s attention away from the road, including cellular phones, tablets, GPS devices, music playing in the vehicle, and other individuals who are present in the vehicle. When a truck driver turns their head for a second or two, they may not notice an abrupt traffic slow-down, stop sign, or a red traffic signal ahead. Consequently, the driver might be unable to stop in time to avoid an intersection impact.
Broadside truck accidents also occur when drivers operate their trucks while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol is a depressant and slows down the central nervous system’s ability to function. As a result, the truck driver may experience blurred vision and an inability to concentrate on the road. They may also experience delayed reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle at a traffic intersection in time to avoid a crash. This is especially true if the driver operates their vehicle too fast.
A truck driver is legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04 percent or greater. However, a police officer can arrest the driver for DUI with a lower BAC if they exhibit signs of alcohol impairment—like alcohol on their breath, slurred speech, or bloodshot eyes. If the intoxicated truck driver incurs a criminal conviction, they may have to pay monetary fines and even serve jail time. Moreover, if they cause a broadside accident that leads to someone else’s injuries, they and their insurance companies can be responsible for damages.
Drugged driving is also an unfortunate problem among truck drivers. Many drivers operate their vehicles for hours on end, usually because trucking companies offer them financial incentives. For example, an employer trucking company might offer the driver a big bonus if they deliver their cargo to its intended destination ahead of schedule. As a result, some truck drivers will resort to various drugs to keep them awake for long periods. However, these drugs sometimes have the opposite effect and make drivers sleepy—or limit their ability to concentrate. As a result, the driver may be unable to stop the truck at the appropriate time, resulting in a broadside accident.
Finally, some broadside accidents happen when truck drivers are fatigued. If the truck driver fails to take frequent breaks and drives for hours on end, they may lose focus, causing them to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a broadside accident—or some other collision. Even if the driver does not fall completely asleep, they may experience limited focus and concentration, causing a severe accident.
If you suffered injuries in one of these truck accidents resulting from driver or trucking company negligence, you should speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately. Your lawyer can obtain copies of the police report and speak with eyewitnesses to determine exactly how your crash occurred. If necessary, your lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist or other expert to testify about the accident’s cause. Your lawyer can help you establish the legal elements of your claim and pursue the full amount of damages you deserve for your injuries.
Who Can I Hold Responsible for My Truck Broadside Accident?
The most obvious responsible party in truck broadside accidents is the negligent driver. However, employer trucking companies are sometimes fully or partially responsible for these crashes. Trucking companies must take the proper measures to hire and retain only competent and experienced drivers. When these companies engage in negligent hiring practices or retain drivers who previously incurred moving violations or caused accidents, they can be liable for any new accidents that occur. Moreover, trucking companies are sometimes responsible for their drivers’ negligent acts while on the road.
If you suffered injuries due to a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, you can file a claim with their insurance company. If the insurance company does not offer you the fair and full amount of damages you deserve, you can file a lawsuit in court and pursue a favorable result at trial or arbitration.
Injuries in a Truck Broadside Crash
The force of impact in a truck broadside accident can bring about severe injuries. The injuries that a truck accident victim may suffer depend upon how their body moves in the car at the time of impact. Sometimes, the force of a broadside collision can spin the vehicle around rapidly, causing a part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in the vehicle. Moreover, T-bone accidents may cause the vehicle to completely overturn, causing severe injuries and fatalities for the vehicle occupants.
Common broadside accident injuries include internal organ damage, fractures, soft tissue injuries, traumatic head and brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, and death.
If you or someone you care about suffered injuries in a truck accident, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. In addition, you should follow through with all of the emergency room doctor’s treatment recommendations. For example, depending upon your injuries, you may need to follow up with your family doctor, neurosurgeon, orthopedist, or physical therapist. Otherwise, the responsible driver’s insurance company might view your personal injury case in an unfavorable light and offer you limited monetary compensation for your injuries.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim
While you focus your attention on receiving the treatment you need and recovering from your injuries, a truck accident lawyer in your area can begin working for you. Your lawyer can gather the necessary medical documentation, photographs, eyewitness statements, police reports, and lost wage documents and begin assembling them into a settlement demand package.
After your medical treatment is complete, your lawyer can submit the demand package and a formal settlement demand letter to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim. The adjuster will review all of these documents and decide whether or not to accept liability for your accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, your lawyer can begin negotiating with the adjuster and pursuing favorable settlement compensation for you.
It is important to remember that most initial settlement offers are far below the actual value of the damages. Therefore, your lawyer will likely need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before they will increase their offer meaningfully.
Your lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept or reject a pending settlement offer—or file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court. Your lawyer will have a good idea of the approximate value of your truck accident claim. Therefore, they can help you make wise decisions that benefit you.
Call a Truck Accident Lawyer Near You Today
If you sustained injuries in a truck broadside accident that resulted from a truck driver or trucking company’s negligence, you might be eligible for compensation. After your accident, you should seek medical treatment for your injuries as soon as possible. You should also treat continuously for those injuries until a medical provider formally discharges you.
A skilled truck accident lawyer in your area can help you with your case at every stage, from investigating the circumstances of your accident to filing a claim on your behalf to negotiating and litigating your case. Your lawyer will stay by your side every step of the way and work to get you full and fair monetary compensation for your injuries. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.