T-bone car accidents, which are also referred to as side-impact or broadside accidents, are both dangerous and common in Southern California. Unlike rear-end and head-on collisions, the victims have little protection from the vehicle smashing into theirs—only a thin door and window. This increases the likelihood that they will suffer long-term injuries or death. While they are entitled to compensation for their injuries, proving who was at fault can be more complicated than in other types of car accidents.

woman with paramedics addressing injuries from a side impact car accidentLeading Causes of T-Bone Collisions

In a broadside crash, the front end of one vehicle collides with the side of another one. These accidents frequently occur at intersections and in parking lots. 

While there are many reasons that these collisions occur, the underlying reason is usually a driver’s negligence. Here are some of the major causes:

  • Failure to yield. One of the most common reasons for side-impact accidents is that a driver fails to yield the right of way at a traffic light or stop sign. This is a violation of California traffic laws as well as negligent driving. 
  • Running a red light. Another way a T-bone crash occurs is when one driver runs a red light and collides with an oncoming vehicle that has the right of way. These negligent motorists are often speeding, too, which makes the force of impact greater and the injuries more catastrophic.
  • Improper left turn. If a driver does not have the right of way or does not have enough time to safely make a left turn at a stop sign or intersection, a side-impact crash is likely. In this scenario, his vehicle may be the one that is struck.
  • Distracted driving. Talking on cellphones, texting, and reading directions on a GPS are a few of the distracted driving practices that motorists engage in daily while driving in San Diego and Southern California. One of the consequences can be a side-impact wreck if the driver does not realize he needs to stop at a stop sign or that a traffic light has turned red.
  • Intoxication. If a driver is high on drugs or drunk, his reaction time, vision, and judgment are impaired. He is much more likely to engage in reckless behaviors like speeding, running a red light, or trying to make a left turn when he does not have enough time to do so safely.
  • Vehicle defects. While not a common reason for a T-bone accident, brake failures, steering malfunctions, and other vehicle defects can cause a driver to lose control of his vehicle. If an auto part was defectively designed or manufactured, the liable parties could include the vehicle and part manufacturers.

Determining the Liable Party Can Be Complex

Under California law, a victim must prove that the other driver was negligent in causing the side-impact accident in order to be entitled to compensation for his injuries. However, establishing who was at fault can be more complicated in this type of accident. This is because the negligent driver is not always the one who crashes into another vehicle’s side. For example, if he runs a red light, drives through a stop sign, or makes an improper left turn, the innocent motorist who has the right of way may not have enough time to avoid smashing into the negligent driver’s vehicle. In addition, this type of accident can escalate into a multi-vehicle wreck, making the determination of who started it even more difficult to prove.

How Can You Establish the Other Driver’s Liability in Your T-Bone Collision?

The best way you can prove the other motorist’s negligence in causing your accident is to retain an experienced car accident attorney. He will be able to collect the evidence you need, such as the police report, eyewitness statements, pictures, traffic camera footage, data from the vehicles’ black boxes, and expert witness testimony to prove the cause of your crash.

Call my San Diego office to schedule a free consultation to discuss your car accident and how I can assist you in fighting for the compensation you deserve. I also encourage you to take advantage of the offer of my free book, The 10 SECRETS You Need to Know About Your Injury Case BEFORE You Call a Lawyer. Download it today and learn what to expect when you file a claim with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company.

Mark Blane
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San Diego Personal Injury Lawyer | California Car Accident Attorney