T-bone auto accidents take place when the front end of one vehicle strikes the side of another automobile. They’re also known as broadside accidents or a side-impact crash. In a T-bone accident, one of the vehicles must have violated the right of way. At times, proving T-bone accidents may be challenging since both parties may claim that they had the right of way. Evidence, such as witnesses or dash cameras can be helpful to determine liability.
WHO IS RESPONSIBLE IN A T-BONE ACCIDENT?
You may be at the scene of a car accident, wondering what to do. The evidence gathering process for side impact collisions are largely the same as for other car accidents. Call the police, look for witnesses, take as many photos and videos as possible, insist on police writing a report.
Under California law, traffic collision reports are inadmissible evidence. “accident reports, especially those compiled by police at the scene of the accident – based on statements of participants, bystanders, measurements, deductions and conclusions of their own fail to qualify as admissible official records or business records.” (Behr vs. County of Santa Cruz (1959) 172 Cal.App.2d 697,705.)
California Vehicle Code section 20013 provides: “No such accident report shall be used as evidence in any trial, civil or criminal, arising out of an accident…” The purpose for this rule is to protect against the danger of a jury giving weight to the conclusion in an accident report because of its “‘official’ character or allowing the ‘official’ report alone determine the verdict.” (Sherrell v. Kelso (1981) 116 Cal. App. 3d Supp. 22, 31.)
However, statements given by the parties to the officer at the scene of the accident can be helpful in the discovery process after a lawsuit is filed. Your attorney can question the negligent party during a deposition about the statements they had made to the officer and the accuracy of the statements provided.
Your actions and evidence gathering after any sort of collision can assist your attorney in guiding your case to a successful resolution.
INJURIES FROM A T-BONE COLLISSION
Injuries sustained from T-bone accidents depend on many factors including:
- The angle of the collision
- Whether airbags were deployed
- Seatbelt use
- Force of the impact
- Vehicle type
- Number of vehicles involved
Safety features can greatly reduce the risk of injury to occupants in side-impact collisions, especially vehicles equipped with side-curtain airbags. Still, side impact auto accidents can lead to serious injuries such as:
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bruising of the bones and organs
After a side impact accident, the risk of serious injury or death is increased, if the occupants become stuck in the vehicle. Emergency responders may have to use “jaws of life” to free the occupants from their vehicle. Freeing passengers can be even more difficult if the vehicle is overturned from the impact.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF A T-BONE COLLISSION?
Some of the common causes of T-bone collisions are:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Texting while driving
- Running a red light or a stop sign
- Confusing intersections
- Distracted driving
- Confusion as to right of way
- Excessive speed
- Weather conditions
A plaintiff who brings a personal injury lawsuit has the burden of proving the case by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence is an evidentiary standard used in a burden of proof analysis. Under the preponderance standard, the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true.
WHY CHOOSE ARATTA LAW FIRM?
At our firm, every injured client will be in direct contact with an attorney. Many large corporate law firms end up transferring you to a case manager – you never speak to an attorney directly and your case becomes part of the mill. At our firm, we do things different. We pay close attention to every individual case, from the inception and throughout the process of the claim / lawsuit. Our diligence and attention to detail result in consistent higher settlements, which adds up to a higher compensation for you, the client.
ATTORNEY’S ABILITY TO NEGOTIATE
Even though you may have a solid personal injury claim, the skill and the attentiveness of your attorney can also considerably impact how much compensation you will receive for your injuries. If your injury claim is negotiated by a case manager, assigned to your file at a firm, and not an attorney, your claim may end up settling for a lesser amount. This is because adjusters know who they’re dealing with and how aggressive the firm is when settling injury cases. Insurance adjusters also know who they can bully into accepting lower settlements.
An attorney’s ability to negotiate a settlement is, in many ways, the most important skill an attorney possesses. Lawyers who are effective negotiators know the importance of timing, preparation and strategy. That being said, our firm recognizes the importance of precision, timing and subsequent results, which is the foundation of Aratta Law. At our firm, nothing happens by luck but by great preparation and good strategy.