Unfortunately, devastating T-bone accidents don’t come with warnings. For instance, one minute you’re entering the intersection of Airline Drive and West Road, and the next, another driver has run through a red light, only to smash into the side of your vehicle.
T-bone accidents involve two motor vehicles colliding in the shape of a T and often cause debilitating losses, excruciating pain, and astronomical medical expenses. Following this type of accident, many victims struggle to determine who bears liability for such a horrific collision.
In this blog post, we work to clear up some of the confusion surrounding these types of accidents, go over how these crashes occur, delineate the parties who can bear liability for these types of accidents, and discuss the actions you should take if you’ve sustained injuries in a Houston T-bone collision.
About T-Bone Accidents
A T-bone accident occurs when the front of a vehicle strikes the side of another, which from an overhead perspective looks like it forms a T. These types of accidents often occur at intersections when a motorist disregards a red light or a stop sign or drives through the crossing at the same time another automobile crosses the intersection.
These accidents can also occur at interstates or highways when motorists lose control of their cars and skid sideways, or in a parking lot where one driver backs out and does not see the other car, causing a collision.
Common Causes of T-Bone Crashes in Houston
Although T-bone collisions tend to result because of driver error, in Houston, the most common reasons for this accident include:
- Excessive speeding
- A driver failing to yield the right of way at an intersection
- A driver failing to stop at a stop sign or a red light
- A driver failing to make a lawful and safe left turn
- A driver being distracted by their phone, a road sign, the radio, or something else that causes the driver to take their eyes off the road, even for a second
- A driver who operates a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Defective motor vehicle parts, such as a brake failure or a flawed steering system
- A driver operating a vehicle too close to another vehicle
Dangerous Intersections in Houston Where T-Bone Accidents Can Occur
Since T-bone accidents frequently occur at intersections, motorists have to always stay alert when approaching one of these areas.
However, in Houston, drivers should stay especially alert at some of the more dangerous intersections in the city, including:
- Long Point Rd. and Gessner Rd.
- Bissonnet St. and Wilcrest Dr.
- W. Bellfort Blvd and Fondren Rd.
- Shepherd Dr. and Allen Pkwy and Kirby
- Hawthorne and Spur 527 and Holman
- Fannin St. and Pierce St.
- Bellaire Blvd and Ranchester Dr.
- Bellaire Blvd and S. Gessner Rd.
- 11th St. and Nicholson St.
Common Injuries Resulting From a Houston T-Bone Accident
The injuries that result from a T-bone accident often prove more severe than other motor vehicle crashes. The direct impact of a car striking another vehicle from the side can prove catastrophic, especially if a passenger or the driver sits on the side of the motor vehicle where the impact occurs.
Yet, although the injuries that result from this accident often range in severity depending on the circumstances of the crash, some of the more common injuries that can occur include:
- Head and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones, especially in the legs, hands, and ribs
- Spinal cord damage
- Deep lacerations
- Facial trauma, such as eye injuries
- Loss of a limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
Who Bears Liability for a T-Bone Accident in Houston?
Unfortunately, when it comes to liability in a T-bone accident, numerous parties can actually share responsibility for an incident. Consider the following:
The Motor Vehicle Driver Involved in the Crash
Generally, the motorist who breaks the rules of the road will often bear liability for a T-bone collision. For example, if a motorist runs a red light at an intersection and strikes another vehicle from the side, that driver may bear liability for the T-bone accident. Or, if a driver makes a left turn, failing to yield to the right-of-way, and crashes into the side of an oncoming vehicle, that driver will likely bear liability for the accident.
The Manufacturer of the Vehicle
If the T-bone accident resulted because of faulty vehicle equipment or components, such as bad breaks, then the manufacturer of the vehicle or these parts can share full or partial liability for the victim’s damages, injuries, and losses.
A Third Party
In some T-bone crashes, a third party may bear all or partial liability for a collision. These third parties can include other motorists, employers, mechanics, and even a vehicle’s owner.
Following a T-bone accident, determining fault may not prove easy, especially if an accident involves multiple parties. For these reasons, you should reach out to a skilled T-bone accident attorney as quickly as possible. These lawyers can investigate the crash, determine what happened and who bears liability for your injuries, and hold all those liable accountable for the harm and losses you sustained.
Damages Available in a Houston T-Bone Accident
If you have suffered harm in a motor vehicle accident because of another person’s wrongful actions, you may qualify to pursue monetary damages. These damages cover your losses associated with the accident and often include both injuries and property damages. In Houston, these damages can include:
Economic Damages: These damages generally include those losses that have a clear dollar value, such as:
- Past, present, and future medical bills, including hospital stay, doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, labs, emergency room visits, and medical assistive devices
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Personal property damages
- At-home nursing care
- Rehabilitative services (physical and occupational therapy)
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-Economic Damages: These damages often prove more difficult to assess since they refer to subjective losses that result from an accident, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- A reputational injury
Punitive Damages: In addition, in certain cases, the victim may also receive punitive damages. However, unlike the other damages, which compensate victims for their losses, courts award punitive damages to punish the defendant for wrongful actions and to deter others from committing similar actions. In Texas, the court will only award punitive damages if the victim’s lawyer can show that the defendant acted with gross negligence or severe misconduct.
The Actions You Should Take After a Houston T-Bone Accident to Prove Liability
Establishing liability following a T-bone accident in Houston may prove difficult and often takes detailed evidence. Even in cases where the at-fault party may seem obvious, the victim still needs to provide proof before obtaining compensation.
Following a T-bone collision, you must take action, not only to protect your overall well-being but your legal rights as well. For these reasons, if you have sustained injuries in a Houston T-bone crash, you should take the following steps:
Call the Cops as Soon as Possible
Following a Houston T-bone collision, you should call 911 as soon as you can. This constitutes the quickest way to ensure your T-bone accident gets on record and will alert authorities that you or someone at the scene needs emergency medical help.
In addition, once the police arrive, they can investigate your T-bone crash and jot down their findings in their police report. If you decide to bring an injury claim, this report can provide you with valuable information regarding the incident and who may bear liability for the accident.
Collect Evidence From the Scene
If you do not require emergency medical help and the area seems secure, you should collect as much evidence from the scene as you can. This should include videos and pictures of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, their placement on the road, the damage to your car, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, traffic signals near the crash scene, skid marks on the street, road defects, and any other evidence that can help show what happened and who may bear responsibility for the accident.
Get Information From the Other Drivers Involved
Try to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the T-bone accident. This should include names, contact details, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers.
Check For Witnesses
If bystanders witnessed your accident, try to get their names and contact information. These witness statements can provide valuable details regarding the T-bone accident and help back up your claim.
After Your T-Bone Accident, Get Looked Over by a Medical Professional
Even if you think you only suffered minor injuries and do not require emergency medical treatment, you still need to head to your doctor following your T-bone crash. Many times, symptoms of serious injuries, such as brain trauma, can take days, if not weeks, to appear. The longer you wait to get this condition checked out, the deadlier it can become. That is why you should get to your physician as soon as possible following your T-bone accident.
Plus, getting this prompt medical treatment often proves important to your legal claim. Insurance companies will look for any reason to deny your case or pay you less than the full value of your claim. By not getting immediate medical assistance following your T-bone accident, the insurance company may argue that your injuries stem from a separate event or that you didn’t suffer as serious of injuries as you claim.
Fortunately, when your doctor looks over your injuries after your accident, they will create a medical report documenting everything that happened—ultimately, providing you with evidence of a direct link between your T-bone accident and the injuries you sustained.
Be Careful What You Say to Others Following the T-Bone Crash
After the T-bone accident, you need to watch what you say to others at the scene. This means you want to avoid taking the blame for what happened, apologizing for the accident, or making any definitive comments about the crash. These types of statements can come back and hurt you, affecting the amount of money you can receive
Following a Houston T-Bone Accident, Get the Legal Help You Need
Typically, to have a successful legal claim following a T-bone accident, you need to have strong, reliable evidence showing what happened and who bears liability and sound legal arguments that prove your claim. However, many times following a T-bone collision, you don’t have the time or energy to worry about building a legal argument. Fortunately, with an experienced T-bone accident attorney on your side, you will not have to take on this challenging legal battle on your own.
Once you retain these experienced attorneys, they can provide you with the legal help you need to take on this complex legal claim, including:
- Going over your case, evaluating your claim, and determining which legal options you should pursue.
Investigating your T-bone accident and securing the evidence needed to show what happened and who caused the accident.
- Bringing in the experts that can help prove liability after a T-bone accident, including accident reconstructionists.
- Handling all the negotiations with the insurance company and going after the fair settlement you need.
- Taking your case to trial, if the other side proves unwilling to negotiate and fighting relentlessly to recover compensation to cover the full cost of your injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered harm in a Houston T-bone accident, do not wait any longer to seek legal help. Instead, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today for your free case consultation, and let those attorneys show you how they can fight for you and your rights. During your free consultation, you can discuss the details of your accident, ask questions about your legal options, and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for the full cost of your injuries.