Either driver can be at fault in a T-bone accident in Georgia. T-bone accidents usually happen because one driver did not yield to the right of way while passing through an intersection. An investigation is often needed to prove which driver is at fault.
A T-bone accident (aka side-impact collision) happens when one car crashes head-on into the side of another car. These accidents mostly happen at intersections and involve drivers traveling perpendicular to one another, and injuries can be severe. Get help from a T-bone car accident lawyer if you have been in a collision.
Why Are T-Bone Accidents so Serious?
Car manufacturers have developed many safety features to minimize the injuries suffered in car accidents. These include improved bumpers, seat belts, and driver and passenger seat airbags. If your car suffers an impact in the front or rear, there is a considerable distance between the point of impact and your body.
But if you are “T-boned,” the force of the accident hits the side of your car, where there is much less protection. Many cars do not have side airbags, and there isn’t much separating your body and the point of impact. This means that T-bone accidents are some of the most dangerous collisions of all.
What to Do After a T-Bone Accident in Georgia
If you were in a T-bone accident in Georgia, and you believe it’s not your fault, talk to a car accident lawyer about it. A good car accident lawyer knows how to gather and review police reports and other evidence about your accident.
If the evidence shows you were not at fault, a lawyer can put together a solid case and show the other driver’s insurance company why its driver is legally responsible for your injuries. A lawyer puts an experienced professional on your side to fight for your rights in insurance company negotiations or a car accident lawsuit.
Common Injuries Seen in T-Bone Accidents
T-bone accidents can cause severe and permanent injuries like traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. They can damage bones, tissues, and organs, causing long hospital stays, surgeries, and lasting complications.
T-bone accidents have also been known to cause substantial psychological trauma that leads to the development of anxiety, depression, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other emotional injuries.
Furthermore, a significant number of T-bone accidents are fatal. The surviving family members of individuals who pass away in T-bone accidents may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the liable party.
No matter what type of injury occurred in your T-bone accident, if someone else is responsible for causing your injuries, you could make them pay. Remember, it is not the type of injury you are diagnosed with that will impact your ability to pursue your case, but rather the extent to which your injuries have affected your life.
Why Is It Hard to Tell Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
Many people automatically assume that the driver who plowed into the side of another car is the one at fault, but that’s not necessarily true. In many T-bone accidents, the position of the cars is simply a matter of timing or which car got to the center of the intersection first.
T-bone accidents are also complicated because the factors involved may not be obvious at first. For example, a T-bone collision at a traffic light may be caused by a malfunction in the light. The driver who had the right of way might have avoided the accident if she had not been texting while driving.
A driver making a legal left turn might be T-boned by a driver who was drunk and speeding. And because T-bone accidents can cause such serious injuries, the drivers themselves may have a hard time describing what happened.
How Fault Affects Your Compensation in a Georgia T-Bone Crash
In some states, sharing any of the blame for a crash can mean that you are barred from recovering compensation at all. Luckily, Georgia has a much better approach to fault and injury claims. Called the modified comparative fault model, it allows you to sue for compensation as long as you are no more than 50% at fault for your crash.
Still, any amount of fault attributed to you will reduce your potential settlement or court award. According to Georgia Code §51-12-33, the percentage of blame you share for the wreck directly lowers your compensation. For example, if you’re 10% at fault, your eventual payout will be reduced by 10% as well.
A Georgia T-bone collision attorney can help you gather evidence to show that the other driver was primarily or entirely at fault for your accident, maximizing your claim.
What Are Some of the Ways T-Bone Accidents Can Happen?
Georgia’s right-of-way laws are designed to keep traffic moving in an orderly way and prevent accidents. When drivers don’t follow these rules, T-bone accidents can happen. For example, T-bone accidents may occur in these scenarios:
- A driver runs a red light and hits another vehicle passing through the intersection on green.
- A driver is hit while crossing the opposing lane of traffic to make a left turn at an unmarked intersection (such as into or out of a parking lot or residential street).
- A driver runs a stop sign and collides with another car traveling across the intersection.
When a driver doesn’t follow traffic laws, and an accident happens because of it, the driver is legally at fault. The driver might be a nice person who has never gotten a ticket in their lives, but if they are at fault, their insurance company must pay for your injuries and the damage to your car.
How Can a Georgia T-Bone Car Accident Attorney Help You?
There are many ways our law office can help you get the money you need and deserve after your t-bone car crash injury. For starters, that means gathering and preserving evidence to support your case, including:
- Medical records, lost income statements, and other data showing your total damages
- Video and photos of the accident scene
- Surveillance or traffic camera footage of the T-bone collision, if possible
- Testimony from eyewitnesses
- Testimony from expert witnesses, such as accident reconstructionists
A side-impact collision lawyer will also handle settlement negotiations with the at-fault party and insurance companies on your behalf. It is far better to have an attorney present during these negotiations, as the opposition’s goal is to pay you as little as they think they can get away with.
How Insurance Negotiations Work After a T-Bone Accident
After being involved in a T-bone accident, one of the top ways injury victims go about recovering compensation is by filing a claim with a liable party’s insurance provider. Georgia law requires all motorists to carry a minimum of:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and bodily injury liability coverage
- $25,000 per accident in property damage liability coverage
After you are involved in an accident, you will file a claim with the liable party’s insurer as opposed to your own. However, you may be able to file a claim with your own auto insurance provider if you purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. This may be ill-advised, as doing so could increase the amount of your own auto insurance premiums.
Expect Some Pushback from the Insurer
When filing a claim with the liable party’s insurer, expect some pushback. Insurance companies are profit focused and will take the necessary steps to reduce their financial obligation wherever they can. Insurance companies have been known to participate in a variety of unscrupulous tactics, such as:
- Delaying the processing of a T-bone accident claim
- Wrongfully stating that the liable party does not have sufficient insurance coverage
- Denying the T-bone accident victim’s claim in bad faith
- Attempting to place unwarranted blame on the T-bone accident victim for causing the collision
- Making an insultingly low offer to the T-bone accident victim
If you hope to avoid being taken advantage of during your greatest time of need, do not go into the insurance negotiations process alone. With an experienced T-bone accident attorney by your side, you can show the insurance company how seriously you are taking your case and avoid being tricked into settling for less than you would otherwise deserve.
What do T-Bone Accident Insurance Settlements Cover?
There are many preconceived notions about how insurance settlements work and what they cover. After a T-bone accident, you might assume that the insurance company will cover all of your losses and ensure that you have the compensation you need to cover your costs and rebuild your life.
However, this is often not the case. In fact, insurance settlements only cover certain types of losses. In many cases, the insurance company will only compensate you for the cost of repairing or replacing your car and your medical bill as they relate to your T-bone accident. Any other expenses will not be covered by the insurance company.
The Amount of Compensation You Could Win
The amount of compensation you will be awarded could be limited as well. The amount of coverage the policyholder purchased will determine how much compensation you can collect from the insurance company.
If the person who hit you only purchased the minimum amount of $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage, but your medical expenses exceeded $100,000, the insurance company would only be required to pay out a maximum of $50,000 in your case. This would leave you with an excess of $50,000 in medical expenses alone. For this reason, you should always be prepared to file a civil lawsuit against the liable party after a T-bone accident.
How Long do You Have to File Your T-Bone Accident Claim?
After you have been involved in a T-bone accident, filing a lawsuit may not be the first thing on your mind. However, it is important that you take action on your T-bone accident claim before time runs out. Under Georgia law, T-bone accident claims must be filed before the two-year statute of limitations runs out. The statute of limitations says the amount of time you have to file your claim before having your case barred from the civil court system.
Two years seems like plenty of time to build a powerful case against the liable party. However, when your lawyer needs to investigate, gather time-sensitive evidence, and establish culpability, two years can fly by more quickly than you thought. Avoid risking your T-bone accident settlement by getting a car accident lawyer on your case as soon as possible following your collision.
Damages You Could Recover in Your T-Bone Accident Claim
Many people are surprised to find that their T-bone accident claim is worth far more than they thought. If you were relying on the insurance company to give you a clear understanding of what your claim is worth, you might be shocked to discover the value of your claim.
The amount of compensation you will be awarded is based not only on the way your life has been affected by your injuries, but the circumstances of your case as well. To ensure every loss is accounted for, it is important to consider the different types of losses you could be awarded in your T-bone accident claim. These are commonly referred to as compensatory damages and punitive damages. Here is more:
Compensatory damages are the losses you have the right to recover. Also commonly referred to as economic damages and non-economic damages, these encompass the ways your life has been affected by your T-bone accident and subsequent injuries.
Examples of compensatory damages you could recoup include:
- The income you lost by being out of work
- Your loss of future potential earnings
- Hospital bills, prescription medication fees, medical treatment, and future medical care
- The embarrassment of a disfiguring injury
- Your inability to participate in events and activities you want to take pleasure in
- The loss of protection, companionship, love, and support
T-bone accidents may also warrant an award of punitive damages, but only if the court system finds the defendant’s conduct intolerable. The defendant must have intentionally caused the accident or acted in gross negligence for an award of punitive damages to apply.
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