T- bone accidents or side-impact accidents account for an average of 24% of driver and passenger vehicle occupants, according to a 2018 report released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). A T-bone accident occurs when a vehicle crashes on another on its side at a 90-degree angle.

You deserve compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and other forms of damages if you suffer injuries from a T-bone accident. However, you cannot achieve a settlement as deserved unless you depend on a professional car accident attorney. At Dallas Horton and Associates, we are determined to help our clients receive compensation in a T-bone accident and other types of accidents in Las Vegas, NV, and its surroundings. Please schedule an appointment with us today, and let's discuss the details of your case.

An Overview of T-Bone Accident

A T-bone accident is a type of accident where the front part of a car crashes into the side of another vehicle. This type of accident is common at an intersection when one driver fails to stop at a traffic light or a stop sign. It is also referred to as a side impact or a side collision. The term T-bone is derived from the "T" shape formed at the impact point when the front of a vehicle smashes the side of another one.

T-bone accidents can also happen on a highway when a vehicle loses control and skids sideways and ends up crashing on the other. It also occurs in parking lots when a driver is backing out from a parking space, and another vehicle comes along, striking it from the side.

There are high chances of sustaining severe injuries to the drivers and passengers involved in this type of crash. Occupants on the struck side of the vehicle have far more chances of incurring severe injuries or even die instantly.

Major Causes of T-Bone Accidents

T-bone accidents usually result from poor decisions made by motorists. However, it can also result from a driver's violation of traffic laws. Below are some of the significant causes of T-bone accident that you should know about:

Excessive Speeding

Traveling at a reasonable speed like 40mph could still be risky, especially when driving through a residential neighborhood where the speed limit is ten mph. With this kind of speed, you will need about 120ft to slow down to a stop. Therefore, if you drive towards a stop sign or traffic signal at this speed, you might crash on a vehicle that's driving through if you don't have enough space to slow down.

Running a Red Light

Another scenario that can cause a T-bone is running a red light. Some motorists usually run red traffic lights to avoid stopping when the lights turn red. Unfortunately, this could result in a side-impact accident if there were a vehicle driving through the intersection.

Failure to Yield the Right of Way

Yielding the right of way is a primary traffic rule that every motorist should adhere to. However, negligent drivers would disregard this rule leading to a side-impact wreck. Failure to yield includes:

  • Failing to yield to oncoming traffic when making a right or left turn.

  • Failure to follow the traffic rules at a four-way stop.

  • Failing to stop at a stop sign.

Distracted Driving

If a driver is distracted by his or her cell phone, drinking, eating, or engaging in behaviors that take their attention away from the road, he or she can cause a side-impact accident. This is because a distracted driver has less time to react to something that occurs on the road or with his vehicle and would probably end up hitting a car on its side, depending on the situation.

Intoxication

When drivers are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, their vision, reaction, and judgment are impaired. Such drivers also engage in reckless driving behaviors like swiftly changing lanes, running a red light, traveling on the wrong way, and misjudging safe turns or stoplights. These behaviors have a likelihood of causing a T-bone accident.

Unsafe Left Turns

Drivers making a left turn have the right to turn on a green-arrow traffic signal. They must also yield to oncoming traffic, pedestrians or bicyclists. However, they can cause a side-impact accident when they misjudge that they can turn safely.

Ignoring Harsh Weather Conditions

Harsh weather conditions like snow and ice can cause roads to be slippery and slick. They also cause poor visibility. Car drivers should slow down as much as necessary given this kind of road conditions. Otherwise, they might find themselves sliding into an intersection or sliding into another vehicle's side when trying to switch lanes.

Operating a Defective Vehicle

Although operating a defective vehicle is not a significant cause of a T-bone accident, a car with bad breaks or broken steering components can cause a T-bone accident.

Common Injuries Associated with a T-Bone Accident

Victims of a T-bone accident are more seriously impacted than in other forms of vehicle collisions. The direct impact can be devastating, especially to drivers or passengers sitting on the impacted side of the vehicle. Some of the common injuries associated with T-bone accident include the following:

Whiplash

Whiplash is commonly associated with rear-end accidents but can also occur in a side-impact crash. Whiplash occurs when there is a sudden forward movement of the body while the head remains behind instantly. This kind of force rocks the head up and back, stretching and sometimes tearing some neck tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

A whiplash takes about 12-24 hours to develop, meaning that you won't experience any swelling or bruising of your neck muscles at the time of the accident. However, you will probably experience pain and discomfort on the following day and worsen as time goes by.

Common symptoms associated with whiplash include:

  • A reduced ability to move your neck

  • Headaches

  • Neck stiffness

  • Tendering at the back of your neck

  • Neck pain

Other possible signs and symptoms include the following:

  • Pin and needle feeling or numbness in your arm and hand

  • Muscle spasm

  • Pain on the lower back

  • Swallowing difficulties

  • Fatigue

  • Vision problem

  • Sleep disturbance

  • A feeling that you are spinning or moving which is referred to as vertigo

Internal Bleeding

Since most T-bone occurs close to the driver or passenger, the impact on the victim often jerks the body around at a force that's hard enough to cause internal bleeding. The pain that results from internal bleeding can alert the victim that there's something wrong. However, serious injuries can still show some easy-to-ignore signs for a few hours of the day. Therefore, you might end up not recognizing the gravity of the injury you've incurred.

Symptoms of internal bleeding can be subtle and become prominent with time. The kinds of symptoms that you'll end up experiencing depend on where the bleeding is occurring and the severity of your blood loss. Here are some of the frequent signs that signify internal bleeding:

  • Blood in your urine or stool

  • Severe fatigue

  • Swelling in the abdomen that worsens with time

  • Feeling light-headed, dizzy, or fain

  • Confused, slurred speech accompanied with difficulty concentrating

  • Low blood pressure

  • A painful headache

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Low blood pressure

  • Chest pain

Spinal Injuries

Victims of T-bone accidents can also suffer from spinal injuries. Spinal injuries vary according to the affected location and severity. Common types of spinal injuries include the following:

  • Fractured Vertebrae: Humans have 33 vertebrae in their spine. When one of the vertebrae fractures, it can end up compressing or pinching your spinal cord. The severity of the fractured vertebrae depends on the stability of the spine after the fracture.

  • Ruptured and Herniated Discs: Your vertebrae have discs in between that are made up of a soft inside and tough cartilage perimeter. These discs might tear through this tough cartilage perimeter when a sudden force is applied to the spine. This causes a painful condition known as a ruptured or herniated disc.

  • Bulging Disc: Bulging discs occur when your neck is flipped back and forth, causing the disc to protrude out of its natural alignment. This is where the term "whiplash" comes from. Untreated discs can become herniated.

  • Paraplegia: Paraplegia is a form of paralysis that renders the functioning of your muscles from the waist downwards. It usually occurs when the thoracic spine is injured.

  • Quadriplegia: Quadriplegia is a form of paralysis that renders the functionality of the muscles from the neck downwards.

  • Spondylolysis: This is a general term used to describe the degeneration of the spine. Spine degeneration usually results from aging or natural wear, but a T-bone collision can cause it.

Head Injuries

Head injuries vary according to severity. Head injuries are commonly referred to as Traumatic Brain Injury. Below are the five types of brain injuries that you can suffer from a T-bone accident:

  1. Concussions

A concussion is a type of head injury that occurs when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. Concussion usually differs in severity and can lead to the following symptoms:

  • Pressure within your head that's accompanied by severe headache

  • Temporary loss of consciousness

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Slurred speech

  • Fatigue

  • Tinnitus or ringing in the ears

  • Difficult concentration

  • Personality change

  1. Contusions

A contusion is a bruise on your brain caused by a direct impact on the head. It occurs when a T-bone accident victim is struck by an external object or fixed object in the car after the crash. Symptoms of contusion include:

  • Slurred speech

  • Cognitive changes

  • Difficulty forming sentences

  • Poor concentration

  • Numbness or tingling in the affected area

  1. Penetration

Penetration occurs when a projectile penetrates your skull after a T-bone collision. Penetration head wound can lead to severe complications like:

  • Bleeding from the ear

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Paralysis

  • Coma

  • Loss of bowel and bladder function

  • Difficulty breathing

  1. Diffuse Axonal

A diffuse axonal injury occurs when there is severe rotating or shaking of the brain. It usually occurs when the vehicle stops abruptly and your brain isn't moving as fast as the skull. A diffuse axonal injury can cause tearing of your brain structure and might bring the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Fatigue

  1. Coup-Contrecoup

A coup-contrecoup injury occurs when your brain jerks suddenly inside your skull. This type of accident is common in a highly violent T-bone accident, which can cause the brain to strike both sides of the skull, which ends up damaging them. Common complications associated with this type of injury include:

  • Confusion

  • Skull fracture

  • Fatigue

  • Swelling in the brain

  • Headache

  • Seizure

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Bleeding in the brain

Broken Bones

There is less material to soften the impact caused by a striking vehicle in a T-bone accident. This force can cause severe fractures of various bones in your body. Some of the common fractures include:

  1. Arm Fracture

As a T-bone accident occurs, occupants try to brace themselves as they instinctively pull their arms to hold onto something. This can cause bones in your arm to break. A broken arm only heals when a cast is placed on them.

  1. Wrist Fracture

Your wrist is composed of several fragile bones that can break easily. This often occurs when bracing yourself or when your wrist is caught during an accident.

  1. Fibula or Tibia Fractures

Vehicle occupants' legs are susceptible to injury when a car caves in during a T-bone accident. The legs can also be trapped between the floor and the dashboard. The severity varies depending on the impact on the legs, but they would heal with a cast and physical therapy.

  1. Rib Fracture

Seatbelts and the impact of airbags cause rib fractures. The ribs can only heal when there is a careful movement of the ribs or treated through surgery if it's severe.

  1. Hip Fractures

The hip is the joint connecting the bone to the pelvis and is critical in human movement. This kind of injury is complicated and might require screws, rods, and plates to stabilize the area and return to full mobility.

  1. Face or Skull Fractures

You can incur a face or skull fracture if you don't wear a seatbelt during a T-bone accident. Your head will probably strike the back of the seat or on the windshield, leading to a face or skull fracture. Most of these fractures heal independently but can lead to severe complications like brain damage if not handled accordingly.

Potential Damages after a T-Bone Accident

Victims of a T-bone accident can incur significant expenses following an accident. Apart from that, you might end up losing their wages due to the missed time from work. Fortunately, victims can take legal action to recover from the injuries and damages that they've sustained. The term "damage" refers to the monetary compensation awarded to a victim of a car accident. There are two broad categories of damages: economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages are calculable costs incurred in a car accident. They include the following:

Medical Expenses

Medical expenses include all sorts of costs incurred in your medical treatment after an accident. It's essential to seek medical attention after being injured in a T-bone accident. Prompt medical care reduces the risk of your condition worsening. Immediate medical attention also increases the possibility of receiving the maximum compensation for your accident claim. Even so, medical care can be expensive since it includes different expenses such as:

  • Emergency room fees

  • Ambulance services

  • X-rays, MRIs, blood test, and diagnostic test

  • Therapy bills

  • Medication and medical equipment

  • Radiology and lab bills

A minor injury can result in high medical bills, but severe injuries like head and spinal cord could lead to hundreds of thousands of medical bills.

Income Loss

If a T-bone accident leaves the victim unable to work temporarily or permanently, they should be compensated for the damages that they incur.

An obvious example of a physical injury that can impact your ability to work is a broken leg. If you break your leg, you’re entitled to receive compensation for the wages you could have received if the legs were not broken and could still work. For instance, if the injury prevented you from working for two months, you can receive compensation for the amount you’d have earned during this period.

Loss of Earning Capacity

One of the significant financial costs of suffering a physical injury is the loss of earning capacity. This occurs when an injury prevents you from working by rendering you the ability to make money. Liable motorists must compensate victims of a T-bone accident if they prove they lost their earning capacity due to the accident. You must establish this amount with reasonable certainty, but the calculation of loss of earning capacity is usually speculative, making it difficult to prove the amount you should be compensated.

Property Damage

You can recover property damages in a T-bone accident apart from the damages resulting from the physical injuries you've suffered. Property damages involve anything that's damaged in a car wreck. Although your car is the main component of property damages, you can be compensated for any personal property that was damaged during the accident.

You must establish the value of the items and demonstrate that they were damaged in the accident if you want to be reimbursed. Property damages also include all the veterinary bills incurred if your pet was hurt during the car accident.

In contrast, non-economic damages are referred to as intangible losses that victims cannot easily calculate. The jurors in a car accident lawsuit are responsible for evaluating non-economic damages. Non-economic damages include the following:

Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering include the physical and mental suffering that results from a T-bone accident. Physical pain consists of the pain and discomfort that claimants have endured from an accident. Mental pain includes things like mental anguish, emotional distress, anxiety, and humiliation. It's the negative emotion that a car accident victim suffers due to the physical pain and trauma endured in an accident.

Loss of Consortium

Loss of consortium represents the disabling condition that prevents a car accident victim from enjoying the everyday relationship they previously had with their spouse. This type of damage is unique since it's filed by the spouse.

Disfigurement

A T-bone accident can leave a victim scarred or permanently disfigured in one way or another. You can seek compensation for this type of damage if you can associate the scarring or disfigurement with the T-bone accident that you were involved in.

Loss of Quality Life

Some of the injuries suffered in a T-bone accident can cause permanent disability, reducing the victim's quality of life. You can seek and recover damages to compensate for the loss of quality of life if you can prove how the accident led to this type of damage.

Punitive Damages

The third form of compensable damages in a T-bone accident is known as punitive damage. Punitive damages are awarded in an instance where the court finds the at-fault party actions to be egregious, reckless, and intentional. Punitive damages are not intended to compensate the victim but to punish the wrongdoer.

Wrongful Death

When a victim T-bone accident dies due to the injuries sustained in the accident, their family member can recover some form of damages that fall under the wrongful death category. Wrongful death allows you to recover multiple damages such as the pain and suffering suffered by the victim, medical expenses, lost income, and loss of consortium. A professional attorney should advise you about the type of damages you would recover if your loved one dies due to the T-bone accident.

Find a Car Accident Attorney Near Me

A successful car accident compensation process involves several steps. This includes proving that someone else was at fault for the T-bone accident, you suffered injuries from the accident, and the injuries led to compensable damages. Managing these procedures can be challenging, especially when recovering from the injuries incurred.

You need the help of an experienced car accident to help navigate the compensation process. If you are seeking compensation after a T-bone accident in Las Vegas, NV, Dallas Horton & Associates suits your expectations. We are an experienced law firm that aims to help our clients in the best way possible. For more details, contact us at 702-380-3100 and speak to one of our personal injury attorneys.