Among the most common intersection accidents is the T-bone collision, or “broadside.” These are characterized as collisions involving the front end of a vehicle that hits another vehicle’s side, center mass, “broadside.” Upon impact, the crash configuration resembles the shape of a T. Hence, the name: “T-Bone.” Common injuries from a broadside impact like this are those to the head, neck, and shoulders. But more severe bodily injuries occur during higher vehicle speeds.
Yes, failure to yield right of way does lead to T-Bones. Statistically, a T-bone collision is most common at busy intersections, such as those in Los Angeles County cities like Beverly Hills, near Rodeo Drive, or Torrance, Calfornia, near Del Amo Mall, for example.
Our law offices primarily receive potential new case inquiries when one vehicle driver lawfully crossing an intersection on a green light gets broadsided because another motorist ran a yellow light that had just phased from yellow to red. So most cases, we help involve the “gray area” defense of failure to yield the right of way or allow other vehicles access to the roadway.
Common sense indicates that a bigger, broadsiding vehicle, like a limousine or a large truck, can do terrific damage to other users of the streets and highway systems. When heavier vehicles like big rigs, city buses, and tour buses fail to yield the right-of-way to the operators of smaller, lighter compact cars, and motorcycles, the results are more statistically probable to lead to permanent injuries and death. But even with lighter vehicles, at low-speeds, all occupants and even bystanders can suffer a wide range of severe to moderate injuries after a crash. For example, low-speed collisions can cause light cases of whiplash, moderate cases of emotional shock, and severe physical trauma, such as a closed head injury.
Also, big trucks can’t stop and go in the fashion smaller sized vehicles can. For example, they are heavy and usually diesel-powered. Because of this, many smaller autos tend to “cut” in front of oncoming trucks close to intersections. But since trucks can’t stop very fast, this move can lead to a T-bone truck accident. In that case, the trucker’s defense attorneys will place the fault on your for cutting them off.
Hence, since you triggered the accident, the liability insurance companies will argue that fault lies with you and you alone. But these disputed liability cases are hard to win because sometimes the driver of the other automobile will claim he or she was already in the correct lane or that they were crossing the intersection on a green light. In any event, determining fault in side-impact crashes typically hinges on witness testimony and other evidence showing who had the legal right to access the intersection.
Ehline Law Firm is among the highest-rated car accident law firms serving clients in Los Angeles and other counties. We regularly help customers with disputed liability T-Bone accident claims. And our time tested, the proven track record has yielded significant, high dollar verdicts and settlements for customers just like you. We invite you to call us to discover more about the Ehline difference.
Make no mistake about it, the most lethal weapon on the road is an inattentive motorist. (Michael Ehline). Driver inattentiveness is one of the main causes of broadside accidents. So it goes without saying that distractions like smartphones often prevent one or several drivers from stopping at posted signs or phased traffic lights.
Modernly, all newly sold motor cars in California and the United States must meet minimum side-impact safety standards. But there are issues with these rules, and they are old. Some forward-looking carmakers have gone beyond the law to secure vehicle occupants with side-impact airbags and other countermeasures. Even with all this special protection, older cars may not meet these standards.
Also, high-speed T-bone accidents can kill someone in vehicles with safety standards that exceed government regulations. According to the National Highway Traffic Security Administration (NHTSA), around 8,000 people die nationally annually in T-bone accidents. Besides that, thousands upon thousands of more people are badly hurt.
The below statistics and crash analysis research demonstrate:
To recap, many of these particular traffic accidents arise from distracted driving. But who knows what the real numbers are since few people report themselves or accept personal responsibility once they have lawyered up.
Los Angeles City is made up of many child cities. For example, you’ll see the City of Los Angeles police cruisers patrolling Venice Beach and even the eastern parts of Marina del Rey. So L.A. has a fascinating conglomeration of cities buttressed against unincorporated and other Los Angeles County municipalities, CA. Most of the below traffic datasets come from reports handed over to the CHP. Not every reported intersection accident is available unless via public records requests to the local agencies themselves. However, the statistical data we have compiled below should be helpful to researchers and safety analysts.
SWTRS City of Los Angeles Intersection Accident With Injuries Data from 2017-2019 shows:
As seen in the below table, of these above Los Angeles City T-Bone collisions, 50% were due to failure to yield the right of way, 25% were due to speeding, and the next 25% was due unsafe right or left-hand turn. Left-hand turns, in particular, are dangerous. These commonly occur when a vehicle making a left turn in front of another car fails to account for speed and distance. A driver making turning left at an intersection must yield to all oncoming traffic to avoid creating a hazard.
A driver and any other party triggering such a crash generally remain legally liable for the harm it caused to others, as well as anyone transported in the car. The law makes clear that the path must be clear before trying to turn. Any oncoming vehicles, such as a yellow-red light, need to yield and allow the car to turn. And if the other driver with time to yield did not all the other vehicle sufficient time to complete its left turn and crashes into the car making a left, a jury can find the vehicle failing to yield accountable to pay for injuries and harm that arose from the collision.
As discussed above, most of these cases involve contested liability, so you need more than he said, she said. You need tangible, unbiased evidence to win. And you had better be prepared because there are many ways you can get into a broadside collision in LA. Whether you have a case or not will likely be due to the special investigations conducted by your injury lawyers and their legal team. Do you think you have a case?
Examples of common T-bone accidents taking place in Los Angeles would include four-way stop collisions. By far, the most common reasons the accidents happen are from the other driver failing to obey traffic signals. Traffic “signals” include the use of crossing guards with a “stop” sign, fixed stop signs, or other electronically phased traffic devices.
As noted above, either vehicle operator can be at fault in a T-bone collision. Also, theories of legal liability such as respondeat superior or negligent entrustment may come into play. Besides this, more than one driver’s negligence may have played a role in your T-Bone crash.
T-Bone collisions, such as Stein v. Los Angeles, can be triggered by road construction that may have severed electrical cables controlling the stop and go traffic signals’ phasing. Other times, deteriorating or improperly maintained infrastructure can lead to downed powerlines, electrical, and other mechanical failures that fail to warn drivers of peril while approaching traffic controls at intersections.
When red lights and traffic signals are not functional at intersections due to power-outages, poor upkeep, or lack of warning signs, a rise in the number of broadsides is a natural consequence. In cases such as this, State, County, and City officials are supposed to set up hasty safety arrangements. For example, in a faulty traffic light, parking enforcement officers and traffic cops will work hand in hand to cordon off the area and clear the traffic lanes of obstructions. Police will undoubtedly direct the traffic until the glitches are finally repaired, or a temporary way to flow traffic exists.
Yes, Calfornia and most municipal corporations indeed mandate drivers to act reasonably when traffic lights are out of service at an intersection. So, in that case, vehicle operators approaching the intersection need to come to a complete stop and only proceed when it is safe. Sometimes, the signals are malfunctioning, and they direct all lanes of traffic with a green light, for example. So now, all four lanes of traffic cross paths as they continue into the controlled crossing.
And even if the other driver was aware of the dangers, a substantial portion of motorists will ignore the traffic signal failure and blow through the intersection, often at high-speed rates. So, in that case, the City of L.A. could be liable for failure to repair and warn of traffic signal problems. Also, the other drivers may be partially responsible for failing to be careful. Either way, you’ll need a lawyer to make sure you comply with all the special rules for multiple party claims and governmental/municipal defendants.
In a typical T-Bone crash, proving which driver had the right of way into the lane of travel first is the key. All sides know their case hinges on who had access and whether another driver had a chance to reduce or mitigate the collision risks. In other words, the party deemed to have acted reasonably for the given situation is at a distinct advantage as a defense or a tool for proving fault. As discussed above, an intensive physical examination of the accident scene is often necessary. For example, percipient witnesses working in nearby offices may have seen the accident, or may even have surveillance videos, or even records of complaints to the City of Los Angeles.
Forensics could reveal debris fields and show the direction of the vehicle’s travel at impact. Also, gouges, yaw marks, and impact marks on curbs, power poles, guardrails, or other structures can show evidence of evasive action and attentiveness. Our experienced and knowledgeable T bone car accident firm has significant experience helping victims of T-bone wrecks.
Don’t count on the police to find the right person liable for the accident. True, sometimes the other motorist is obviously at fault for your crash. But most of the time, the person who caused the collision will assert that he or she had the signal or the right of way in their favor. So even calling the cops to the scene won’t prove much, and it can sometimes hurt you if you say the wrong thing to the investigating officer or fire department.
TIP: Attempt to obtain contact info from any percipient or eyewitnesses. Use your smartphone to snap photographic images of the accident scene and damage the vehicles and people involved. And never say it was your fault!
To recap, the risks of death or severe injuries in T-bone side-impact accidents are statistically more significant than other roadway accidents. For example, when someone gets hit in their rear bumper, the vehicle occupants have a cushion of steel and crumple zones like a trunk. And if you have a rear-engined vehicle, you also have that additional barrier to provide protection. However, in a broadside impact, you don’t have all that protection. All you have is a metal door and windows in that case. So don’t hesitate to contact us for a free case consultation at any time of day or night, 24-7, and discover your rights at (213) 596-9642.
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