Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident?

A T-bone car accident occurs when the front of one vehicle crashes into the side of another, forming the shape of the letter “T.” These accidents often cause severe injuries – especially to the occupants in the vehicle impacted on the side – because most vehicles lack sufficient safety features. 

If you have full tort insurance in the State of Pennsylvania, you will need to establish the other driver was at fault before you can recover maximum compensation. An experienced car accident lawyer can help explain potential liability for your car accident claim and how to prove it.

Potential Parties Responsible for a T-Bone Accident

Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, the following parties could be responsible:

The Driver Turning Left

In most T-bone accident cases, one driver is traveling straight, and the other is turning left. Many times, these accidents occur at intersections. In these cases, the driver turning left is usually to blame. 

According to Pennsylvania’s Suggested Standard Civil Jury Instruction, vehicles turning left at a light must “yield the right-of-way to other vehicles and to pedestrians lawfully within the intersection.” If a driver turned left in front of oncoming traffic or misjudged the distance of approaching traffic when turning, that driver will likely be found at fault for the resulting accident. 

The Driver Traveling Straight

There are times when the driver traveling straight may be at fault. For example, the driver traveling straight may have run a red light, causing the accident. In other cases, the driver may have been speeding. Because there is a strong presumption that the driver turning is at fault, powerful evidence may be necessary to establish the other driver’s liability. 

Both Drivers

In some instances, both drivers may have contributed to the accident. If this is the case, Pennsylvania’s law on comparative negligence applies. Pennsylvania follows a 51% rule for comparative negligence, meaning the plaintiff can still recover damages so long as they are less than 51% to blame for the accident. Any damages the plaintiff is entitled to are reduced by their degree of negligence, assuming they are not more than 50% at fault. 

Here is how this rule works in the real world: Imagine that Driver A was traveling straight and was driving 5 mph over the speed limit. Driver B was not paying attention and turned left in front of Driver A, causing a collision. 

The jury then determines that Driver A was 10% responsible for the accident, and Driver B was 90% responsible for the accident. Driver A sustained $100,000 of damages. Because Driver A was 10% responsible, their damages are reduced by $10,000 or 10%. Therefore, Driver A could still recover up to $90,000.

Proving Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Accident

Accident victims will need to have strong evidence to show who was at fault for the collision if liability is in dispute. Evidence that may help establish fault in a t-bone accident includes:

  • Police reports made at the scene of the crash that state how the accident occurred and give the officer’s opinion about a preliminary fault determination
  • Traffic or surveillance camera footage that recorded the accident
  • Eyewitness testimony regarding how the accident occurred
  • Vehicle damage that indicates where each vehicle was impacted
  • Testimony from accident reconstruction experts regarding how the crash occurred
  • Determining the accident’s cause
  • Gathering evidence to prove your claim
  • Communicating with the insurance company 
  • Requesting medical records
  • Negotiating a fair settlement 

The car accident victim will also need to present evidence of damages, which may include medical records, bills, pay stubs, and other bills. An experienced car accident lawyer can help collect evidence to establish your claim and right to recovery. 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 955-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963