T-Bone Truck Accidents

HutzlerLaw July 24, 2022

Because of the high traffic volume in larger cities such as Phoenix, T-bone accidents are more common. The risk of a T-bone truck accident is higher in cities because of the number of trucks making deliveries to businesses and the number of roads entering main roads. When drivers do not stop at a traffic signal or an intersection with no signal, they risk T-boning someone.

A passenger vehicle could T-bone a truck or vice versa. Either way, those in the passenger vehicle are more likely to sustain injuries. The faster the vehicle that T-bones the other, the more severe the injuries.

For example, a tractor-trailer truck driver ignores or doesn’t see the stop sign and pulls into the intersection at five mph. The passenger vehicle does not realize the truck is pulling out, so it does not avoid the truck. While the insurance company will probably total the vehicle, the occupants might have minor injuries. However, if the truck blows a four-way stop traveling at 40 miles per hour, the passengers in the vehicle it hits will most likely sustain severe if not catastrophic injuries.

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Truck Accident Types

A T-bone accident is just one type of truck accident. Other truck accidents include rollover crashes, front-end wrecks, read-end crashes, blind spot wrecks, and sideswipe wrecks. Any time a truck tangles with a passenger vehicle, regardless of whose fault the accident is, the injuries you could suffer are often catastrophic because of the vehicle’s size and weight difference.

Fully loaded trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If a truck carries an oversize load, the total weight could exceed 100,000 pounds.

T-Bone Accidents

A T-bone accident happens when the front of one driver’s vehicle hits another vehicle in the side. The two vehicles form a T. If a truck hits you in the side, it could cause extensive damage by crushing the side of the vehicle.

Even vehicles with steel pillars in the doors, side curtain airbags, and side seat airbags can suffer severe damage, thus, injuring those inside the vehicle if a truck T-bones them.

Injuries Caused by T-Bone Truck Accidents

The injuries caused by a T-bone truck accident are often severe, catastrophic, or deadly. While some people are “lucky” to suffer minor injuries, many suffer more severe injuries.

If you are in a T-bone accident, you could expect:

  • Bruises, cuts, scratches, and scrapes.
  • Face and eye injuries.
  • Ear injuries, including deafness, usually occur if one of the vehicles explodes.
  • Strains and sprains.
  • Pulled and torn muscles and other soft tissue injuries.
  • Traumatic brain injuries.
  • Head, neck, and shoulder injuries.
  • Chemical and thermal burns.
  • Road rash (a friction burn).
  • Internal injuries.
  • Simple and compound fractures.
  • Crushed bones and other crush injuries.
  • Back and spinal cord injuries.
  • Amputation of a digit or limb.

Accident victims could also suffer from secondary injuries, such as infections of open wounds. Even if the infection enters a surgical wound created to repair an accident injury, the defendants may need to pay for the medical expenses and extra pain and suffering you suffer.

Additionally, accident injuries could exacerbate existing illnesses and injuries. The defendants are also responsible for expenses and other damages related to the aggravated injuries because you would not have been worse off if not for the defendants’ negligent actions.

What to Do After a T-Bone Truck Accident

In some cases, accident victims cannot or should not move after an accident. However, if you can move without further injuring yourself, you can take some steps at the accident scene to help document your case:

  • Call first responders and check on others involved in the accident.
  • Take photos of the accident scene. Be sure to take pictures from all angles. Include close-up and distance photos, but do not get so close that you cannot tell what the photo shows. Include damage to the road and nearby property, including yards, fences, mailboxes, parked vehicles, and utility poles.
  • Obtain the following information from other drivers involved in the accident:
    • Regular driver’s license.
    • CDL license.
    • Insurance cards.
    • Registration information.
    • License plate.
    • Obtain contact information, including an address, phone number, and email address, from witnesses. You can also ask witnesses what they saw, but take notes.
    • Allow emergency medical technicians to check you over, even if you believe your injuries are minor. This is the first step in documenting injuries that could become worse later. It also forms a basis for injuries that manifest hours or even days after.
    • Give the police officer your statement.

As soon as the officer releases you from the scene, seek medical attention. Emergency medical technicians can only do so much at the scene. Let medical professionals know that you were in an accident and you need a full workup. Be sure to mention anything that seems sore.

Finally, contact a T-bone truck accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Why You Should Retain a T-Bone Truck Accident Lawyer

You should retain a T-bone truck accident lawyer for many reasons, but mostly to ensure you recover the compensation you deserve—not the compensation an insurance company wants to pay you.

Investigations

Your legal team will investigate the accident to determine fault. Even if a police officer gives you a ticket, it might not be your fault, so never admit fault. Let the investigators determine who is at fault.

Not only do the investigators determine whether you or the other driver was at fault, but they will also look for others who might share responsibility for your accident injuries. In some cases, the truck driver might not be at fault or share partial responsibility for the accident. For example, a dispatcher tells the truck driver to deliver a load by 5:00 pm, but the truck driver protests because they know that he cannot possibly get there before 7:00 pm due to regulations he must follow.

Upon his protest, the dispatcher stated that he would lose his job if he did not deliver on time. Thus, the truck driver speeds and ignores break times, then “fixes” the log book. Because he has been on the road for 10 hours straight, he is tired and dozes off—and the truck driver wrecks into you.

In this scenario, because the dispatcher threatened the truck driver with his livelihood, the court could—and probably will—hold the dispatcher at least partially responsible for your injuries.

It is nearly impossible to investigate the accident yourself, especially if you are still in the hospital.

Additionally, a T-bone truck accident attorney has the resources to retain expert witnesses, including forensic accident reconstruction teams.

Insurance Companies

Another big reason to retain a T-bone truck accident attorney is the insurance companies. They are in business to make a profit. Any claim they have to pay out cuts into their bottom lines, so they get less money for the same amount of time.

Insurance companies use several tricks to deny a claim or offer the least amount possible. They generally do not try that when you have an attorney because they know the attorney knows the laws and that the truck accident lawyer will take the case to court.

Going to court is very expensive for the insurance company, even if they have in-house attorneys. If they lose, they not only have to pay their attorney, but they must also pay your attorneys’ fees and costs. Trial prep and attendance are very expensive, especially trials that take more than a day.

One of the tricks an insurance company uses is to twist your words. If you contact the insurance company to report the accident, give it only your name, contact information, the date and location of the accident, and your attorney’s contact information.

Another trick they use is telling you they know their client is at fault. They try to get on your good side, then offer a pittance while telling you that is all they can pay. Usually, that is not the case.

Instead of worrying about recovering enough compensation to cover all of the damages you deserve—they are much more than medical expenses—a T-bone truck accident lawyer ensures you recover the compensation you deserve.

Recovering Damages After a T-Bone Truck Accident

You could recover two types of compensatory damages if another’s negligence caused your injuries or the death of a loved one: Economic damages and non-economic damages. The law provides for both to make you whole again. In most cases, those with short-term injuries could recover economic damages. Generally, those who suffer injuries that cause long-term or permanent disabilities or lose a loved one in a truck accident recover non-economic damages in addition to economic damages.

While the money cannot bring back a loved one or erase your injuries, it does reduce the financial stress on you and your family, especially for those with injuries that cause long-term or permanent disabilities.

Economic Damages

Sometimes referred to as special damages, economic damages have a monetary value and include:

  • Current and future medical expenses, including doctors’ appointments, surgeries, follow-up appointments, prescriptions, ambulatory aids, cognitive therapy, psychological therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, home health care, rehabilitation care, hand controls for vehicles, wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, grab bars, and handrails.
  • Compensation to replace or repair damaged or destroyed personal property.
  • Lost wages.
  • Loss of future earning capacity based on your salary until your expected retirement date.
  • Death-related expenses, including burial, funeral, and cremation expenses. You might also be able to recover certain probate court expenses or probate attorneys’ fees and costs.

Non-Economic Damages

Sometimes called general damages, non-economic damages do not have a monetary value and include:

  • Pain and suffering, including emotional distress.
  • Loss of quality of life if you have to make life-long changes, including taking prescriptions or using ambulatory aids for the rest of your life.
  • Loss of companionship if you can no longer enjoy attending family activities and events.
  • Loss of consortium if you can no longer have a physical relationship with your spouse.
  • Loss of use of a body part such as an arm or foot.
  • Loss of use of a bodily function such as your hearing, eyesight, or bladder.
  • Amputation of a limb or digit.
  • Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, such as house cleaning, grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, and home repair and maintenance.
  • Excessive scarring or disfigurement.

How to Pay Medical and Legal Expenses While Waiting for a T-bone Truck Accident Settlement

It does take some time to receive a settlement payment or a trial award. While you wait, you might wonder how you will pay medical expenses and put food on the table. You can use your vehicle insurance and health insurance to cover some medical expenses.

A lawyer can stop medical professionals from sending you to collections until you receive your settlement or trial award. Once our office receives the money on your behalf, your truck accident lawyer will reimburse your insurance companies and pay any outstanding medical expenses before cutting you a check for the balance.

Additionally, good truck accident lawyers do not charge for the initial case evaluation. They also work on a contingency basis, so you do not pay them anything unless you win your case. Should you decide to retain a truck accident lawyer, they will review their contingency agreement with you. You do not need to bring money with you.