What Are T-bone Accidents, Causes & Compensation Plan

T-bone Accidents

What Are T-bone accidents

T-bone accidents occurs where the side of one vehicle is impacted by the front or rear of another vehicle, forming a “T”. In the United States and Canada this collision type is also known as right-angle collision or T-bone collision; it is also sometimes referred to by the abbreviation “AABS” for “auto accident, broadside”. Vehicle damage and occupant injury are more likely to be severe, but severity varies based on the part of the vehicle that is struck, safety features present, the speeds of both vehicles, and vehicle weight and construction.

When a vehicle is hit on the side by another vehicle, the crumple zones of the striking vehicle will absorb some of the kinetic energy of the collision. The crumple zones of the struck vehicle may also absorb some of the collision’s energy, particularly if the vehicle is not struck on its passenger compartment. Both vehicles are frequently turned from their original directions of travel. If the collision is severe, the struck vehicle may be spun or rolled over, potentially causing it to strike other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians. After the collision, the involved vehicles may be stuck together by the folding of their parts around each other.

An occupant on the struck side of a vehicle may sustain far more severe injuries than an otherwise similar front or rear collision crash.


Side-impact airbags can protect vehicle occupants during side collisions, but they face the same limitations as other airbags. Additionally, side impact wrecks are more likely to involve multiple individual collisions or sudden speed changes before motion ceases. Since the airbag can only provide protection during the first collision, it may leave occupants unprotected during subsequent collisions in the crash. However, the first collision in a crash typically has the most severe forces, so an effective airbag provides maximum benefit during the most severe portion of a crash.

Broadside collisions are frequently caused by a failure to yield right of way. In the case of collisions in an intersection, the cause is often a result of one vehicle failing to obey traffic signals (fail to stop or running past a red light). As with any crash, increased speed may increase crash severity.

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Usual Causes of T-Bone Accidents

T-bone accident causes involve someone failing to yield to the driver that has the right of way.

Usually, one driver will accidentally make a dangerous left turn at an intersection, thinking the other car will stop at a yellow traffic light. Or in other cases, one driver might run a red light while the other driver crashes into the speeding car while trying to make a left turn. And sometimes, T-bone crashes are caused by one driver blowing through a designated stop sign.

Another big cause of T-bone accidents is driving while distracted by things like:

  • Texting friends or looking up directions on your smartphone.
  • Lack of sleep, which causes intense exhaustion and fatigue on the road.
  • Eating and drinking while driving on the road.
  • Fiddling around with the radio in your car.

And since most T-bone collisions have to do with someone failing to give the other person the right of way, or illegally driving through a red light, it can be extremely easy to find out who is responsible for the incident too.

The truth is, when your eyes and mind are not focused on your driving, then you are much more likely to be involved in a T-bone collision. On top of distracted driving, other causes of T-bone accidents include the following:

  • Operating a defective motor vehicle on the roads.
  • Driving recklessly while intoxicated with drugs and alcohol.

Although it’s not as common, operating a defective motor vehicle with bad brakes or a broken steering component can also be a cause of T-bone collisions.

Common Injury Types During a T-Bone Accident

Just like other car accident types, T-bone car accident injuries vary depending on factors such as:

  • Speed of collision
  • Airbags
  • Impact angle
  • Vehicle type
  • Seatbelt use

Despite slight variations depending on the above, T-bone accidents usually lead to serious injury because the passengers and drivers are only protected from the striking vehicle by their car’s thin metal doors.  Some common T-bone collision injuries are:

  • Neck – A forceful T-bone crash can cause the body to suddenly jerk, leading to neck injuries like strain, sprain, whiplash, and break.
  • Back – Human backs are delicate, and a strong T-bone impact can cause back injuries such as sprains, breaks, herniated disks, pinched nerves, and other spinal cord issues.
  • Head – The most common head injuries come from the head striking something, and a sideways T-bone hit often causes the head to connect with the car door, air bag, or flying debris, causing concussions or brain contusions.
  • Broken Bones – As there is not much to soften the impact of a T-bone collision, the force can cause bone fractures in the pelvis, hips, arms, and ribs.

Emotional ramifications

  • While physical injuries are almost always discussed when it comes to car accidents, not many people are aware of the emotional trauma often associated with serious collisions like T-bones.
  • After an accident, even the thought of riding in a car can bring about feelings of anxiety, fear and panic. If the crash was especially traumatic, like T-bone accidents commonly are, the victim can even become afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. PTDS can lead to trouble sleeping, disassociation, panic attacks, mood swings, and depression.

Read Also: 13 Most Common Types of Road Accidents

How to Avoid Being in a T-Bone Accident

Here are few ways to prevent getting in a side collision:

  • First of all, it is essential to obey the traffic lights when you are rapidly approaching an intersection. Of course, you are going to have to make a full stop at every single stop sign too. In addition, you should start slowing down, not speeding up, when you see a yellow traffic light.
  • This one is a no-brainer. Stop whenever you see flashing red lights as well. Another word of advice is this: do not ever attempt to enter an intersection while hoping to turn after the traffic light has turned red. Why is that?

Because it is a much smarter idea to wait for the traffic light to tell you when to make a turn. Better yet, keep an eye out for a traffic gap before you force your way through an intersection. Also, you should never assume that the other drivers are always going to follow the traffic light laws either.

  • If you count on some other driver to slow at a yellow light or stop at a red light you could be making a fatal mistake.

Pro tip: Make sure that you check to see if the intersection is safe and cross street traffic is fully stopped before you make your move.

  • You should be especially cautious when you are at an intersection that is only controlled by stop signs. Again, be prepared to make any sudden stops when you are approaching an intersection. Lastly, take caution when driving on foggy days when visibility is poor.

What’s the point? By driving slowly when approaching a blind corner, you could avoid an accident and a hefty ticket too. On top of that, you could even save a life!

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Compensation for T-bone injuries and losses

T-bone collisions are serious, and lead to serious physical and emotional injuries. These injuries usually warrant some kind of compensation so the victims can cover medical bills, missed work, and other losses. One of our Los Angeles car accident lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your T-bone accident damages.

Damages are losses associated with an accident and can include both economic and non-economic compensatory damages. Economic damages are those that have a clear dollar amount, like car repairs or medical bills, while non-economic are those that can be tougher to assess, such as suffering and pain.

Some common compensatory damages for T-bone accidents are:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Wrongful death
  • Physical therapy
  • Future care and treatment
  • Medication and medical supplies