Chicago T-Bone Accident Lawyer
A side impact collision, sometimes referred to as a T-bone crash, often comes out of nowhere. You were following the rules, but someone else ran a red light or a stop sign and slammed into the side of your car. These kinds of collisions can result in serious injuries and damage. Unlike head-on or rear-end collisions where the front or back end of your car may crumple and absorb some of the impact, when you’re hit from the side there’s little between you and the impact. Much of that force hits you directly, and the results can be very painful.
If you’ve been injured in a T-bone crash by either another car or a commercial truck, your injuries may require a lengthy recovery. Medical bills likely are more than your family can manage, and you may not know where to turn for help. A personal injury attorney may be the answer. An attorney can help you get compensation for your medical bills, wages you lost because of time away from work, pain and suffering, any disability or disfigurement you suffered, and your loss of normal life. An attorney can investigate your crash and gather the evidence to support your claim, and then negotiate to get you the compensation you deserve.
Common Causes of Side Impact Crashes
Most of the time, side impact crashes are caused by negligence. A driver runs a red light or a stop sign either because they’re driving aggressively or were distracted by talking or texting on a cell phone and didn’t see the light or stop sign before entering the intersection where you had the right of way.
If your crash was caused by another person’s negligence or recklessness, you have a legal right in Illinois to recover compensation for your injuries and other damages. An experienced auto accident lawyer can go over the facts of your case and determine whether you might have a claim.
Common Injuries in Side Impact Accidents
In a side impact collision, people on the side of the car that is hit tend to have more serious injuries than those on the opposite side because the people on the side where the impact happens absorb more force from the crash. However, people on the opposite side also can be injured — sometimes because the people on the impact side are thrown against them. Some of the most common injuries seen in T-bone crashes include:
- Head injuries — Can include concussion and other traumatic brain injuries, or cuts from shattered glass.
- Neck injuries — Can include herniated discs or whiplash, where the neck extends unnaturally as the head snaps from the force of the impact.
- Back injuries — Can include herniated discs, nerve damage, spinal cord damage, or paralysis.
- Chest, abdominal and pelvic injuries — Can include crushing injuries from a buckled car frame.
- Limb injuries — Can include broken bones or dislocated limbs.
- Soft tissue injuries — Can include muscle, tendon, and ligament sprains, strains, and tears.
Side Impact Collisions with Trucks Are Incredibly Dangerous
When a commercial vehicle like an 18-wheeler hits the front or back of a car, there are several feet of steel, bumper, engine and internal seating protecting the driver. But when a car is T-boned by a truck, there is only a door and a window between you and the truck or another commercial vehicle. Given that scenario, it’s not surprising that side impact collisions kill up to 10,000 Americans annually.
This is an even more dangerous scenario when you consider that a commercial truck like an 18-wheeler can weigh up to 80,000 pounds fully loaded. While all cars sold in the United States are required to meet federal side-impact safety standards, those rules go out the window when a commercial truck hits a car. At best, the truck is going slow enough to only tap the car from the side, which can still break limbs and cause whiplash. But when a truck collides with another vehicle, it can run over the car and its passengers entirely or collapse the vehicle within its own structure.
Causes and Liability
There is a variety of reasons that a truck may come to strike another vehicle from the side. Here are some common scenarios where T-bone collisions happen as a result. Not coming to a complete stop at a four-way intersection. The famous “California roll” is common for many drivers who choose to roll through a stop sign instead of coming to a halt. It’s also a wildly illegal practice. When a driver fails to come to a complete stop at a four-way, it’s a violation of the traffic code. Big commercial trucks are also famously difficult to bring to a stop, so any truck driver who chooses to blow an intersection in order to save time is going to be found negligent for his or her actions.
Failure to Yield – We all had to learn those complex rules that require one driver to yield to another when two or more cards arrive at a four-way stop at the same time. Most states’ traffic laws (including Illinois) require drivers who stop at intersections at the same time to permit the driver on the left to proceed through the intersection.
Running Red Lights – Running a red light is patently illegal and can be life-threatening where a commercial truck is involved. Because most drivers pick up speed to race through a light before it turns red, a driver-side collision from a tractor-trailer can kill everyone in the car that is struck instantly.
Turning across traffic lanes – Five of the twenty most congested roads in the United States are in the Chicago area, so it’s tempting for drivers to cut corners to get where they are going. When a driver is in a turning lane and can safely and legally make a turn across traffic, it’s important to wait until it’s safe to make that turn. Drivers who cut across traffic and fail to make the turn in time almost never escape liability.
Failing to assess oncoming traffic when making a right turn at an intersection – Most drivers look both ways before taking a right at a red light. Very often, that’s not enough, especially in busy traffic scenarios where cars may appear suddenly. Drivers often can’t see speeding cars coming from the right side until it’s too late. Drivers must wait until it is safe to join the flow of traffic or face the consequences.
Not gauging oncoming traffic when making a right turn at an intersection – Most drivers look both ways before making a right turn at a red light or stop sign. Sometimes that’s not enough. All too often, drivers can’t see speeding cars coming from the side until it’s too late. Traffic codes require drivers who are about to turn right into oncoming traffic to wait until it is safe to join the flow of traffic.
Recklessness and aggressive driving – Because most truck drivers drive their commercial vehicles for a living, reckless driving is less common among this demographic. However, if a truck driver loses his temper and starts using a large commercial vehicle to scare or intimidate other drivers, the situation can quickly get out of hand and result in a collision.
Driving while intoxicated or impaired – Truck drivers under pressure to perform will sometimes turn to drugs or alcohol to deal with their situation. These toxins impair a driver’s reflexes, sight, and thinking abilities. Intoxicated drivers more often than not will fail to look for other vehicles coming from the side. If they do see other vehicles, their condition often causes them to miscalculate the oncoming driver’s speed and location.
Brakes and Steering failure – Equipment failure in commercial trucks is a less frequent cause of side impact collisions due to the federal maintenance requirements for big rigs, but it does happen. Unfortunately, large trucks can achieve not only great speed but also have significant mass. When the brakes or steering fail on an 18-wheeler, a truck may enter an intersection at great speed just as other cars are entering the road.
Inclement weather or traffic conditions – During severe weather, it can be more difficult for a truck driver to successfully stop his or her vehicle despite the presence of air brakes and other complex safety measures. Sliding past a stop sign or traffic signal into an intersection is a real risk to other drivers who may experience a T-bone crash first-hand.
Determining Fault in a Side Impact or T-Bone Accident – If a truck driver is at fault for causing a side impact collision, the victim has the right to make a claim for damages and bodily injury. However, in rare cases both drivers may, in fact, be at fault. If a first driver makes an unsafe left turn on a two-lane street and is subsequently broadsided by a second driver, it might seem clear that the first driver is at fault. However, if it is determined that the second driver was speeding, he or she could be found to be partially at fault in the collision.
Contact a Chicago T-Bone Accident Lawyer at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. Today
Car and truck accident cases involving side impact collisions are complex and can prove confusing to their victims. Proving negligence in a crash that involves a T-bone crash takes an investment of time, experience, and resources.
If you have been injured in an accident involving any type of side collision, give the experienced Chicago personal injury lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. a call today at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation. We can pursue the compensation you need and deserve.