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T-Boned: Establishing Fault and Collecting Damages After a Side Impact Collision

What does car insurance cover after a Texas T-bone crash?

Some car accidents put people at a higher risk of severe injury than others – and T-bone crashes are one of them. Unlike head-on and rear-end car accidents, in a T-bone accident or side-impact collision, vehicle occupants don’t have much in between themselves and the negligent driver’s vehicle. A hollow metal and plastic door is likely the only thing shielding occupants from the impact.

Compared to other crash configurations, side impact accidents are nearly four times more likely to result in a severe head injury, according to a study.

In Texas, the victims of T-bone car accidents often suffer devastating injuries that require extensive medical treatment and surgeries to repair. T-bone collisions frequently cause lifelong disabilities and have a higher risk of being fatal.

Crash victims and the families of fatal car accident victims that want to be in the best position to recover maximum compensation turn to experienced Houston car accident lawyers to take on the insurance companies for them. An attorney who is knowledgeable about Texas T-bone accidents understands what it takes to establish fault and get results for victims of side-impact crashes.

What is a T-bone accident?

A T-bone accident, also known as a side-impact collision or broadside crash, happens when one vehicle hits another on the left or right side of another vehicle, usually at an intersection. From above, the crash configuration typically looks like a “T.”

T-bones are typically caused by:

  • Red light running
  • Distracted driving
  • Turning with an obstructed view
  • Road rage (aggressive driving)
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Other dangerous driving behaviors like speeding or misjudging distance

In Texas, who is at fault in a T-bone accident?

It depends on the circumstances. It’s possible for the driver who T-bones another vehicle to be at fault. It’s also possible for the driver of the T-boned vehicle to be at fault. It all depends on who had the right of way and which driver was careless and caused the collision.

Again, most T-bone wrecks are caused by speeding, running red lights, failure to yield the right of way, and similar risky driving behaviors. Unfortunately, it’s common for witnesses to disagree on which driver had the right of way or for physical evidence from the scene to be ambiguous. That’s one of the reasons you need an experienced attorney to investigate the accident and get to the bottom of what happened.

In some circumstances, a party other than a motorist can be at fault for a T-bone accident. For instance, if one driver tried to stop at a red light but their vehicle’s brakes failed, leading to a collision, that may be the responsibility of the manufacturer, or it may be a result of poor maintenance. Again, an attorney can get to the bottom of what happened and find a way to prove fault.

Where do T-bone accidents happen in Houston?

Side hits are most likely to happen at intersections, in parking lots, and in other high-traffic areas. Houston fatal car accident statistics can help identify roadways, intersections, and areas where the risk of a side-impact collision is heightened. Here are some T-bone hotspots in Houston:

  • St Joseph Pkwy between Milam St and Austin St.
  • Westheimer Rd between Montrose Blvd and Bagby St.
  • Griggs Rd between Wayside Dr and Redwood St.
  • Fannin St between Holcombe Blvd and Hermann Dr.
  • Cullen Blvd between Airport Blvd and Brinkley St.

Common T-bone car accident injuries

Due to the lack of protection for vehicle occupants, T-bone and side-impact crashes frequently cause severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment to heal. Here are some of the most common injuries sustained by victims of T-bone accidents:

  • Whiplash. Damage to the fragile muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck, aka whiplash, is one of the most common injuries sustained in any car crash. T-bones are known to cause whiplash because of the violent jerking motions experienced by vehicle occupants. The damage may be compounded if the vehicle spins out. Some soft-tissue neck injuries heal with time and medical treatment like neck stabilization equipment, physical therapy, rest, and/or surgery. However, even with the best care, some people never fully recover from whiplash. Treatment to reduce chronic pain may be a lifetime commitment for victims suffering with whiplash.
  • Bone fractures. Whether it’s a hairline fracture, partial or full break, the bones most likely to be damaged in a side impact collision are in the thigh (femur), shin (tibia or fibula), and arm (radius, ulna, or humerus). Bone fractures may be treated with bandaging, casts, rest, and/or orthopedic surgery. Some types of fractures may require multiple surgeries.
  • Shoulder injuries. When the sudden and extreme force of a car accident hits, it temporarily destabilizes the bodies of those involved. During this moment, the connection between bones and joints can loosen. After the impact, joints may fail to rejoin properly. In the shoulder, this could lead to a pinched nerve, a broken clavicle (collarbone), partial or full shoulder socket dislocation, bursitis, or a torn rotator cuff, among other injuries. Shoulder injuries are often diagnosed with an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan, but not all shoulder injuries can be observed this way. Treatment may include surgery to remove scar tissue and other damage or reconstruct the shoulder joint. For less severe injuries, physical therapy and rest may be enough to relieve pain and restore an injured person’s range of motion. Pain relievers may be prescribed.
  • Back injuries. Herniated discs, also known as slipped discs, may result from a T-bone accident. This type of injury occurs when one or more of the discs that make up the backbone and neck is damaged and the soft interior bulges out, sometimes pressing on nerves. The pain is often immense, and surgery may be required to repair it.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). The force of impact can cause concussions and other brain injuries, especially if an occupant’s head hits a window or another part of the car. Even if you don’t actually hit your head, though, it’s still possible to develop a TBI from the violent movement of the head alone. If left untreated, a TBI can decrease brain function and control of body function or lead to disabilities or death. Many people who sustain TBIs in car accidents do not fully recover and require ongoing physical therapy and compensation for diminished earning potential, as well as replacement and support services to maintain a comfortable life.

How to get maximum compensation after a Houston T-bone accident

In Texas, car accident victims may be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, among other potential losses. To get the compensation they deserve, though, injured victims need evidence to support their case and the skills to out-negotiate a veteran insurance adjuster. These are not simple tasks, and the insurance companies put accident victims at a disadvantage. The right attorney can help you push back.

Houston T-bone accident lawyers conduct thorough crash investigations, collect evidence, interview witnesses, gather expert testimony, meet legal deadlines and insurance claim requirements, calculate maximum compensation packages that put the highest value recovery and comfort, and relentlessly negotiate for top results. If the insurance company won’t make a substantial offer, a lawyer can force the issue by filing a lawsuit.

How much does it cost to hire a Houston T-bone accident lawyer?

Anyone can afford to hire an attorney to handle their case. Most car accident attorneys, including Smith & Hassler, work for a contingency fee. That means there is no upfront or out-of-pocket expense for their services. You only pay if you win your case.

We also offer free case evaluations. At no cost, and with no obligation to hire, T-boned and other injured crash victims can get their accident-related legal questions answered, obtain claim estimates, and get help deciding what to do next.

Experience matters

Don’t get tricked into taking a lowball settlement. Never accept an offer from an insurance company without consulting a lawyer first.

If you were injured in a Houston T-bone or another type of car accident in the Greater Houston Area, contact Smith & Hassler, Attorneys at Law. Our local car accident attorneys have extensive experience successfully handling T-bone crash claims.

Do not wait to protect your right to justice and compensation. In Texas, strict statutes of limitations apply to car accident claims, wrongful death actions, and injury lawsuits. Contact our Houston car accident attorneys to schedule a free case evaluation today.

Click here to download a printable PDF of this article, "T-Boned: Establishing Fault and Collecting Damages After a Side Impact Collision."

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