A T-bone car accident, or broadside collision, happens when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another car travelling on an intersecting roadway. While these accidents may happen anywhere, they are widespread at four-way traffic intersections – even those equipped with traffic lights, stop signs, and yield signs.
T-bone car accidents typically occur when a driver fails to yield the right-of-way at the intersection. With a car accident lawyer’s help, you can hold this driver legally responsible for a T-bone crash, and for paying the accident victim monetary damages through their insurance company.
Unfortunately, dealing with insurance companies is often an uphill battle following a car accident. If you sustained injuries in a broadside collision or other traffic accident resulting from another driver’s negligence, speak with legal counsel immediately. Otherwise, you may inadvertently waive your right to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit for monetary damages. The sooner you involve an experienced lawyer to help with your case, the better.
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can review the circumstances of your crash with you and determine your legal options for moving forward. Your lawyer can then file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and begin negotiating a fair settlement for you. If the insurer refuses to settle, you can file a lawsuit and, if necessary, take your case to a civil jury trial or alternative dispute resolution hearing. Throughout the process, your lawyer will answer all of your questions and help you make responsible and intelligent decisions at every stage of the proceedings.
The Burden of Proof in a T-bone Car Accident Case
In any car accident claim or lawsuit that involves negligence, the injured accident victim must satisfy their legal burden to recover monetary damages. The at-fault driver who caused the accident does not need to prove anything in the case or meet any legal burden of proof.
In a T-bone or broadside accident, the driver who fails to yield the right-of-way is legally responsible for the crash and its aftermath.
First, the injured accident victim must establish that the other driver violated their legal duty of care. For example, that driver might have sped through an intersection or disregarded a red traffic signal, yield sign, or stop sign. Alternatively, they might have improperly sped out of a parking space without looking and hit the side of another vehicle.
In addition to proving that the other driver was at fault for the T-bone collision, you must demonstrate that the other driver’s negligence was both the actual and the foreseeable cause of the crash. Finally, you must show that you suffered at least one physical injury in your T-bone accident and that your injuries directly resulted from the subject accident.
Satisfying this legal burden of proof in a car accident claim can be difficult. However, a car accident lawyer on your side can introduce various pieces of evidence to prove these legal elements. For example, your lawyer can submit a copy of the police report, which details how the accident occurred and indicates the other driver was at fault.
Your lawyer can also obtain your medical records to establish the necessary causal connection between the subject accident and your claimed injuries. Finally, if your case goes to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding, your lawyer can introduce the necessary witness testimony to demonstrate the overall effects of the accident and injuries on your life and well-being.
Common T-bone Accident Injuries
The injuries that a T-bone accident victim suffers can be extremely serious – primarily if the accident occurs at a high rate of speed.
For example, when a negligent driver speeds through a traffic intersection and strikes an oncoming vehicle, the vehicle on the receiving end might spin around rapidly or even overturn in the middle of the intersection, causing the vehicle occupants to sustain severe and sometimes deadly injuries.
Sometimes, the force of a T-bone collision causes an accident victim’s body to move around violently inside their vehicle and strike something inside the car, such as the door frame, window, steering wheel, dashboard, or headrest, bringing about debilitating injuries. At other times, the abrupt back-and-forth movement of the accident victim’s body may cause them to suffer soft tissue neck and back injuries, such as whiplash.
Other common injuries that victims of T-bone accidents commonly suffer include:
- Bruising that results from airbag deployment
- Bone fractures
- Traumatic head and brain injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Internal organ damage
- Full and partial paralysis injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, including vertebrae fractures
Many of these injuries require an ongoing treatment regimen that the accident victim should always follow. Additionally, accident victims must refrain from discharging themselves from medical care and avoid significant gaps in their medical treatment.
When accident victims fail to treat appropriately for their injuries and miss their medical appointments frequently, insurance companies and their adjusters often become skeptical. Specifically, adjusters in these circumstances typically believe that accident victims are not seriously injured. As a result, they may not offer victims significant monetary compensation to resolve their claim via a personal injury settlement.
While you follow your treatment regimen and focus on making a full recovery, your car accident lawyer can begin advocating for you and handling the legal components of your case. Specifically, your lawyer can start to gather your medical treatment records, lost income documents, and other potential evidence necessary to prove the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit.
Filing a Claim with the At-fault Driver’s Insurer
When accident victims suffer injuries in a T-bone crash that another driver causes, they may be eligible to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company for monetary damages.
When submitting the claim documents, a car accident lawyer will typically include a copy of the accident police report, eyewitness statements, injury photographs, property damage photographs, lost income documents from the accident victim, and medical treatment records for treatment to date.
The insurance company adjuster will then review these documents, and the settlement negotiation process may then begin between the insurance company and the accident victim’s lawyer.
The relationship between an accident victim and the insurance company is automatically adversarial. This is because insurance companies do not have any real incentive to offer car accident victims favourable monetary compensation for their injuries and other accident-related losses.
In fact, the exact opposite is true. Insurance companies will do everything in their power to avoid paying out significant monetary damages to car crash victims and will look for inconsistencies in medical records and other shortcomings to avoid a large financial payout. The more money that insurance companies keep in-house, the more money that they have available to distribute to their shareholders.
During settlement negotiations with insurance company adjusters, it is hugely beneficial to have skilled legal counsel on your side advocating for you. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company adjuster handling your claim and threaten them with litigation if they refuse to compensate you fairly and reasonably for your injuries.
Filing a Timely Car Accident Lawsuit
Car accident victims only have two years from their accident date to file a lawsuit seeking various types of monetary compensation and damages. If an accident victim files their lawsuit belatedly and absent exceptional circumstances, the court will promptly dismiss their case. Therefore, retain skilled legal counsel as quickly as possible to represent you throughout your case.
Upon filing suit, a defence lawyer will enter their appearance on behalf of the at-fault driver. The parties will then typically begin the discovery process, during which time they will answer one another’s written questions, called Interrogatories, and engage in discovery depositions.
During a discovery deposition, the accident victim will typically answer questions from the defence lawyer about how their accident happened, the circumstances surrounding the accident, the injuries that they suffered, and the effects that the accident had on their life and well-being.
Most T-bone car accident claims settle at some point while the case is in litigation. After all, if every personal injury lawsuit went to a civil jury trial, it would place an undue burden on judges and the court system as a whole. The parties in a car accident claim also have a significant incentive to settle, given the many costs associated with litigation.
During a car accident lawsuit, the parties will typically engage in one or more settlement conferences with the court, during which time a retired judge or settlement officer will try to bring the parties together and resolve their claim. However, if neither party can agree on a settlement, the parties may take their case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding for a result.
Jury Trials versus Binding Arbitration Proceedings Following a Car Crash
When a car accident victim does not settle their claim, they have the option of pursuing a favourable result at a civil jury trial. When a car crash claim goes to trial, the jury decides all issues in dispute.
Instead of taking a case to trial, the parties may decide to pursue alternative dispute resolution, such as binding arbitration. During a binding arbitration proceeding, the arbitrator handling the case decides the amount of monetary compensation to award the accident victim after reviewing all of the evidence that the parties already introduced during the proceeding.
Potential Monetary Damages in T-bone Car Accident Cases
Victims of broadside car accidents may receive monetary damages. The damages that car crash victims recover vary from case to case, depending upon the seriousness of their injuries, the amount of time they missed from work, and other accident-related factors.
Some of the most common monetary damages that an accident victim can recover via settlement or litigation include compensation for:
- Loss of earnings, if the accident victim had to take time off work following their accident to recover from their injuries and attend medical visits, undergo medical procedures, or attend physical therapy appointments.
- Loss of earning capacity, if the accident victim needed to switch jobs following their accident (and accept a lower rate of pay) because their injuries prevented them from performing their former job duties
- Inconvenience, pain, and suffering that the accident victim experienced (and may potentially experience in the future) due to their accident-related injuries
- Emotional anguish, if the accident victim suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or other mental health complication, due to their accident
- Loss of the ability to use a body part – or to feel in a specific body part – due to a spinal cord or paralysis injury
- Permanent disfigurement or disability
- Loss of spousal companionship, if the accident victim’s injuries limit or prevent their ability to engage in spousal intimacy
- Loss of enjoyment of life, if the accident’s victim’s injuries brought about a significant decline in their activity levels over time
By having skilled legal counsel in your corner, you significantly increase your chances of maximizing monetary recovery in your car accident case. Your lawyer can negotiate with insurance company representatives, highlighting the strengths of your claim, and pursue the full recovery you deserve for your injuries and other losses.
Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
Sometimes people make the mistake of thinking that their accident case is simple and that there isn’t a need for a lawyer. You should remember that insurance companies are large for-profit entities, and they will seek out any opportunity to not give accident victims the compensation they deserve.
If you sustained injuries in a recent car accident, you should speak to a car accident lawyer as quickly as possible. Your lawyer can address all of your legal questions and concerns and help you develop a plan of action for settling or litigating your case favourably.
Never wait to protect your rights. It costs you nothing upfront and you have nothing to lose. Reach out to an Edmonton personal injury lawyer.