A T-bone accident is another term for a broadside crash or a side-impact collision. This is what happens when one vehicle crashes directly into the side of another. If you imagine the scene from above, the two cars form the shape of an uppercase T, hence the name.
Many T-bone accidents occur at intersections, usually because one of the drivers ran a red light or stop sign. Another way T-bone accidents can occur at intersections is when a driver turns left into oncoming traffic. These side-impact collisions can also happen when one driver pulls out into traffic from a side street or business parking lot without seeing the oncoming traffic and either strikes the side of another vehicle or is struck in the side by the oncoming vehicle that’s driver has had no warning or time to brake.
Examples of Indiana T-bone crashes in the past several months
- November 4, 2021: A T-bone crash at the intersection of State and Sherman Boulevards in Fort Wayne caused one person to be injured. The person injured was in a Prius that flipped on its side after being T-boned by a pickup truck.
- October 22, 2021: A LaGrange police officer made an improper U-turn near the intersection of Lafayette Parkway and Morgan Street, causing another car to T-bone his police cruiser.
- September 23, 2021: Two people were seriously injured in Lawrence County when one driver drove his Mustang into the path of a Buick LeSabre on Route 37. The LeSabre T-boned the Mustang, which then rolled several times down an embankment. Sadly, the Mustang driver later died from his head injuries in Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.
- September 16, 2021: An Adams County Sheriff’s deputy transporting a woman drove through a red light at the intersection of US 27 and Ferguson and Hessen Cassel Roads in Allen County and was hit broadside by another vehicle whose driver hadn’t seen the flashing lights. There were only minor injuries in this initial T-bone accident and also in a subsequent accident when another vehicle hit the initial two vehicles plus the vehicle of an onlooker who had stopped to help.
- May 5, 2021: A T-bone accident at the intersection of South Clinton Street and Creighton Avenue in Fort Wayne resulted in one car ending up submerged in the Ivan Lebamoff Reservoir. The driver was rescued by bystanders.
Indianapolis Danger Spots:
In Indiana, there were 217,396 collisions in 2019. These accidents resulted in 46,310 injuries and 800 fatalities.
According to a study by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute and reported in The Indy Star, the most dangerous intersections in Indianapolis are:
- East Stop 11 Road and Madison Avenue on the Far Southside
- East Thompson Road and South East Street
- East Raymond Street and Shelby Street on the Near Southside
- East 86th Street and North Keystone Avenue
- South Emerson Avenue and East Southport Road
- West 38th Street and Guion Road
- East 38th Street and North Meridian Street
- West Washington Street and South West Street
- East 21st Street and North Post Road
- South Post Road and East Washington Street
Statistics about side-impact accidents:
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2019:
- 2,506 (33% of total fatalities ) car occupants died in side-impact multiple vehicle collisions
- 446 (24% of total fatalities ) pickup occupants died in side-impact multiple vehicle collisions
- 721 (27% of total fatalities) SUV occupants died in side-impact multiple vehicle collisions
- Altogether, 23% of all passenger vehicle fatalities in the United States in 2019 were due to side-impact collisions.
- This percentage can be compared to 57% for frontal impact collisions and 6% for rear-impact collisions.
You may have noticed that car occupants seem to be in more danger than pickup and SUV occupants. This is for a couple of reasons:
- Both car SUVs (also known as “crossovers” or CUVs) and truck SUVs have increased in popularity each year, to the point where they have a combined market share of 50% in 2020. Pickup trucks make up another 20% of the market as of 2020. All of these vehicles weigh considerably more than cars and can do a lot of damage in a side collision.
- SUVs and pickup trucks have higher points of impact than cars; in a T-Bone collision, they demolish the side of the car where the driver or passengers sit at exactly the wrong place. (The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been rating side-impact crashworthiness since 2003.)
The injuries incurred in a typical side-impact collision can be extremely serious because:
- First of all, as described at the top of this article, T-bone accidents often occur at intersections when neither vehicle stops (and one of them likely ignores a red light or stop sign). In this kind of scenario, both vehicles will be traveling at a high rate of speed. As The Department of Transportation (DOT) succinctly explains, “As speeds get higher, crashes also result in more serious injury, for the driver who caused the crash as well as for the crash opponent.”
- Vehicles that are struck on the side don’t have the advantage of several feet of bumper, dashboard, or engine to cushion the blow. There is no crumple zone.
- Although head-protecting side airbags reduce the fatality risk for a driver in a driver-side crash by 37%, they are not present in all cars. Front airbags have been mandatory in all new cars since 1999, but side airbags, especially for passengers, are less ubiquitous.
- Side airbags did not become the norm for manufacturers until 2014, so that leaves many vehicles on the road without appropriate head and torso protection.
Typical injuries in T-bone crashes:
- Injury pattern studies by the IIHS have found that if the vehicle being struck rolls towards the other vehicle as the crash occurs, occupants will be likely to have primarily pelvic or femur injuries. If the vehicle being struck is pushed away from the other vehicle as the crash occurs, the injuries are more likely to be those of the head and chest.
- In a side-impact collision, the body will be shaken from side to side, rather than front to back as in a rear-end collision or front-impact collision.
- There is also a chance that occupants may be ejected from the vehicle, especially if it rolls over. Although only 3% of vehicle accidents involve a rollover, fully 30% of all crash fatalities are a result of a rollover accident, according to Consumer Reports.
- Without side curtain airbags (designed to protect the head), occupants can hit the window next to them and sustain whiplash, serious concussions, or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Broken bones and fractures are common in T-bone accidents, mainly because of the lack of a crumple zone and because of blunt force impact.
- Spinal cord injuries often occur in side-impact accidents. These types of injuries can cause someone to be permanently disabled.
- Broken glass can cause deep lacerations or even internal injuries.
- All accidents can cause muscle injuries and soft tissue injuries.
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after any serious accident.
- One study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) broke down the percentages of the most commonly injured regions of the body after T-bone accidents:
- Chest and abdomen 49%
- Head and face 24%
- Pelvic region and lower extremities 14%
- Neck and spine 4%
Obviously, each accident is different, but to put it in the simplest terms: fault belongs to whichever driver didn’t have the right of way. This is not difficult to figure out if one driver ran a red light, but it becomes slightly murkier when other factors are included, such as speeding, bad weather, or driving under the influence, which is why you need to call and Indianapolis t-bone accident lawyer immediately after the accident.
Indiana has a modified comparative fault negligence system, which means that one or more individuals can share in the liability for an accident. Each party’s contribution to the accident factors into the dollar amount of damages he or she can recover.
If an individual’s percentage of fault is greater than 50%, he or she is barred from recovery. In other words, if you had the right of way in the broadside collision and the other driver was found to be at least 51% at fault, he or she cannot receive compensation. If you are held partially liable (but 50% or less), your compensation would be reduced by a proportional amount.
None of this is simple, so you would need to consult an experienced car accident attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve in any scenario like this. You can read more about determining fault in this type of accident in our article: Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
If you are involved in a T-bone accident:
- You should follow the procedure that you would in any vehicle accident. First and foremost, check that the other people in your vehicle are safe.
- Call 9-1-1 even if you think that your injuries aren’t serious. Many injuries (like concussions, whiplash, or internal bleeding) aren’t immediately apparent but are serious, nonetheless. You may not feel pain because you are in shock and because of the jolt of adrenaline that shot through your body.
- If you are able to, take pictures of the scene, including the position where your car ended up as well as the other vehicle. Include landmarks for reference. Photograph the damage to both vehicles.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver, but do not say anything that could be construed as admitting fault.
- After the police have investigated, make sure that you get a copy of the police report.
- Contact your insurance company, and don’t speak to the other person’s insurance company. Instead, direct them to speak to your insurance investigator or your accident attorney.
- Even if you refuse to be transported to a hospital at the scene of the accident, get checked out by your doctor and keep all copies of medical documents and receipts.
- Document all expenses as well as lost wages that you incurred as a result of the accident.
- Because T-bone crashes are usually so serious and because the aftermath can often be complicated, you would be well advised to seek the advice of an expert car accident attorney.
- At Poynter & Bucheri, our attorneys have many years of experience finding expert witnesses, accident reconstructionist, engineers, and sometimes even surveillance videos from area businesses to establish the cause of the collision and identify the responsible party.
What could the at-fault driver’s insurance be liable for?
Once it has been established that the other driver was responsible for the T-bone accident, it’s time for the PBAR attorneys to start negotiating a fair settlement for you. Several factors will affect the value of your claim:
- What type of injuries you have
- How severe your injuries are
- What financial losses you have incurred
You may be able to recover compensation for economic damages such as:
- Medical treatment
- Property damage
- Lost wages
- Travel expenses to medical appointments
- Medical equipment (such as a walker, hospital bed, cane, etc.)
- Physical therapy
- Any other out of pocket costs
You may also be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages such as:
- Physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional stress
- Permanent impairments
- Mental anguish
Because Indiana’s personal injury laws do not contain a formula for calculating pain and suffering damages, you need an experienced Indianapolis car accident attorney to establish the value of your claim.
Statute of Limitations:
The Statute of Limitations for Indiana (IN Code § 34-11-2-4 ) lawsuits is two years. The pain of being involved in an accident that results in an injury may last anywhere from days to years after the incident. Don’t let a personal injury disrupt your life without speaking to a qualified attorney like those at PBAR to help you seek compensation.
Being involved in any car accident is traumatic and also possibly tragic. It is difficult at the best of times to negotiate with an insurance agency that is trying to protect its bottom line, but it’s particularly difficult to make your best case when you are suffering physically and emotionally. That’s why it makes sense to rely on experienced car accident attorneys who can negotiate for you – and if necessary take your case to court.
Call today for a free case review at 1-800-265-9881, or contact us online.