It’s always disconcerting to be involved in even a minor fender bender. Your morning plans have to be shelved as you tend to the almost endless details of exchanging information, filing a police report, and speaking to your insurance company. However, certain accidents, such as a head-on collision, rollover, or T-bone collision, usually result in life-altering injuries or fatalities.
If this has happened to you, speak with a lawyer at the Patterson Law Group who is familiar with the personal injury laws in Texas but also the specific fact patterns of serious accidents. Schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Fort Worth personal injury attorney. We can provide vital context for moving forward.
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What is a T-Bone Accident?
A T-bone accident, also known as a side-impact collision, is one of the worst accidents on the road. This is because the side panels do not offer protection in the event of a crash–they crumple inwards. As a result, occupants are struck with jagged metal and broken glass as the front end of the car hits and potentially breaks through. Also, in the event of a T-bone accident at high speeds, there is a chance of a rollover. The roof may collapse, potentially crushing the occupants.
Common Injuries from T-Bone Car Accidents
Injuries that are common to T-bone accidents include:
- Whiplash from a sudden, forceful, back and forth movement from an unexpected blow.
- Spinal cord injuries from the head being forced outside of its normal range of motion.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from the trauma at the scene of the accident.
- Broken bones can be particularly common in the case of a rollover.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) such as a concussion.
- Cuts and abrasions from being struck by crumpled metal and broken glass.
Common Causes of T-Bone Car Accidents
Many factors can cause an accident, often in combination with each other. Some of the most common that lead to T-bone accidents include:
- Drivers following too closely.
- Failing to yield.
- Driving while intoxicated.
- Driving while influenced by medications.
- Distracted driving, such as making a phone call or adjusting the radio while driving; and
- Running a red light
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How to Establish Liability
Liability for an accident will typically be established through analyzing a formula for negligence. It is as follows:
- Duty: A defendant must owe a duty to the plaintiff to be liable. The duty owed to a potential plaintiff is to act as a reasonable person under the circumstances–such as being a cautious driver behind the wheel.
- Breach: A defendant must have failed in their duty to the plaintiff, such as driving recklessly.
- Causation: It must be proven that the driver’s actions were both the factual cause and the proximate cause of the accident and subsequent injuries of the plaintiff.
Who is Liable for T Bone Car Accidents?
In T-bone accidents, there is usually a reckless or irresponsible driver who is responsible, but liability can extend to other parties. One well-known example is Tracy Morgan, whose limousine was struck by a truck making deliveries for Walmart. The driver had been awake for 28 hours. This ultimately ended in an estimated $90 million settlement, paid out by Walmart’s insurance company.
In addition, truck accidents require specialized knowledge. The damage is often catastrophic and frequently leads to high-stakes settlement negotiations and litigation. Speak with a Fort Worth truck accident lawyer if this has happened to you.
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What Damages can be Collected?
Three types of damages can be collected from personal injury lawsuits in Texas–economic, non-economic, and punitive. Economic damages are verifiable expenses, such as current and projected future costs. Non-economic are intangible losses, which are more difficult to quantify, such as pain and suffering. Finally, punitive damages serve the purpose of punishing the wrongdoer for intentional and egregiously irresponsible actions.
Punitive damages are capped at $200,000 or double the non-economic damages up to $750,000, whichever is greater. Economic damages do not have a cap for personal injury cases in Texas, and non-economic damages are only capped in cases involving medical malpractice claims.
Economic damages include:
- Medical bills, both current and future.
- Physical rehabilitation, which can be ongoing and last well into the future.
- Professional rehabilitation, such as job counseling or training if the injured party can no longer work at their previous job or career.
- Lost wages from time out at work.
- Costs of repairing or replacing the damaged property, such as a vehicle.
- Mental health services for issues like PTSD.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Mental anguish.
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
In the event of a death resulting from a T-bone accident, the family has the option of pursuing a wrongful death claim. This will include additional damages meant to compensate survivors for what the decedent would have provided throughout their life. This can include loss of services, parental guidance, and other damages unique to wrongful death cases.
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What To Do After You are Injured in a T Bone Car Accident?
In the immediate aftermath, ensure everyone moves out of the path of oncoming traffic. If possible, call emergency services. Next, document the accident scene:
- Take photos of the damage to the cars, and then document the circumstances that may have contributed to it. This includes pictures of the road, weather conditions, and traffic signs.
- Record your account to refresh your memory.
- Ask for a copy of the police report.
- Speak with witnesses to get their contact information.
- Speak with a Fort Worth car accident lawyer before contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance. Insurance companies are incentivized to pay as little as possible and settle quickly.
- Do not post details about the accident on social media.
Is There a Time Limit to File a Claim?
Yes. Texas law requires a personal injury lawsuit to be filed within two years. In the event of wrongful death, the survivors will have two years to file a claim. Additionally, it is best to pursue these claims as soon as possible. It demonstrates to the court that you are diligently pursuing your rights, put the insurance company on the defensive, and get a potential lawsuit started before witness memories fade or evidence otherwise disappears.
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Contact us to schedule a free consultation
We understand that the injuries sustained after a collision can be emotionally and financially draining. Our attorneys understand the gravity of your situation and the importance of justice. Results matter, and we want to help you earn them. Contact Patterson Law Group for a free consultation with a T-bone accident lawyer. They can help you determine if you have a case, and the best way to move forward.