Trucks transporting materials, food, and equipment keep our economy humming. Unfortunately, they also present significant risks to motorists on U.S. roads. Truck crashes commonly occur, causing thousands of severe injuries and fatalities every year. Victims of these accidents deserve compensation for their injuries. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help.
In today’s blog, we examine severe trucking accidents involving a T-bone collision, and how a skilled truck accident attorney helps victims of those tragic accidents recover the compensation they and their families need to recover from their injuries and rebuild their lives. To learn about your legal rights after any type of truck accident leaves you or a loved one badly injured, contact an experienced, knowledgeable truck accident attorney today.
What Is a T-Bone Truck Accident?
A T-bone crash, also referred to as a broadside or side-impact accident, involves a collision between the front-end of one vehicle with the side of another. A T-bone truck accident involves that sort of collision in which one of the vehicles is a truck.
Any T-bone collision can cause severe damage to the vehicles and catastrophic injuries to their occupants. A T-bone accident involving a large truck can be particularly deadly, because of the truck’s size, weight, and shape. A truck that strikes the side of a passenger car, for example, can inflict massive damage and subject the car’s occupants to a violent, sometimes fatal, impact.
A T-bone involving two trucks can easily cause the truck struck on its side to roll, resulting in widespread damage. Finally, a car that strikes the side of a truck risks riding under the truck and getting crushed.
In either all of these scenarios, innocent victims face a real danger of sustaining life-altering, or life-ending, injuries.
Common Causes of T-Bone Truck Accidents
T-bone accidents can result from a variety of circumstances, many involving mistakes by drivers of trucks and cars, such as:
- Not stopping: Large trucks, in particular, require more time and distance to come to a stop than smaller vehicles. A truck driver who travels too fast or does not pay attention to the need to stop at an upcoming intersection can fail to stop in time to avoid a deadly T-bone collision with a crossing vehicle.
- Running red lights: It is never safe to run a red light. Anyone who does it while behind the wheel of any type of vehicle, car or truck alike, risks a potentially fatal T-bone collision with traffic crossing their path.
- Improper turns: A truck making an improper turn can block a travel lane and heighten the risk of a T-bone collision. Truckers have a special responsibility to plan and execute turns carefully and with plenty of clearance, to minimize the danger their rigs can otherwise pose to motorists.
- Faulty equipment: T-bone truck accidents can also result from defective parts in a vehicle failing and resulting in the vehicle losing control. Defective brake components in a truck can lead to the truck not stopping at an intersection, for example.
- Fatigued or impaired driving: Too many drivers take to the road without adequate rest, especially truck drivers. Too many more get behind the wheel after having consumed alcohol or drugs (legal and illegal) that impair their abilities. Any type of driver impairment heightens the risk of a deadly T-bone accident involving a truck.
These are by no means the only causes of a T-bone truck accident. No matter how the accident that injured you occurred, an experienced truck accident attorney can help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Injuries That Result From T-Bone Truck Accidents
T-bone truck crashes can cause catastrophic and fatal injuries. Occupants of the vehicle struck broadside, especially those on the side closest to the point of impact, face extreme risk of injury.
Common severe injuries that can result from a T-bone truck collision include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: A violent jolt or blow to the head can damage the brain within the skull, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Even so-called “mild” TBIs (or concussions) can leave victims struggling with long-lasting impairments. More-severe TBIs can cause permanent damage that leaves a victim unconscious or semi-conscious, or with major disabilities affecting their mobility, cognition, and emotional state.
- Spinal cord injuries: Damage to the structures of the spine can lead to injuries to the spinal cord the spine protects. A spinal cord injury can interrupt signals between the brain and body, leading to weakness, numbness, and (in severe cases) paralysis lasting a lifetime.
- Amputations and crushed limbs: the impact of a T-bone truck collision can crush or collapse the passenger compartment of a smaller vehicle, tripping or pinning occupants’ arms and legs. The severe trauma to those limbs can result in their amputation (either by a doctor or in the impact itself), or the permanent loss of the limb’s function.
- Severe lacerations: Lacerations result from a sharp object (such as glass or metal) cutting through skin, connective tissue, and muscle. These injuries can cause life-threatening blood loss and infections, and can leave victims with permanent nerve damage.
- Organ damage and internal bleeding: the force of impact in a truck T-bone accident can rupture vehicle occupants’ organs and blood vessels, causing dangerous internal bleeding. If not quickly addressed, internal bleeding can lead to death. Even when doctors catch damage to an internal organ in time to save a victim’s life, the victim may face permanent health complications from the injury.
These represent only a small sampling of the types of injuries that can happen in a T-bone truck accident. No matter what type of injury afflicted you or a loved one after a T-bone truck crash, a truck accident injury lawyer can help you obtain valuable financial compensation to help you heal.
Steps to Take After a T-Bone Truck Accident
Victims of a T-bone truck accident and/or their able-bodied family members can take steps to protect their legal rights and financial wellbeing in the moments, days, and weeks after the crash.
Call 911 and Seek Medical Care
Always call 911 after a T-bone truck accident. First responders can provide essential emergency aid, and police will prepare a report of the accident that provides an initial assessment of what happened and who might bear the blame.
Always also seek prompt, appropriate medical care. Even if you think you do not need immediate medical attention, let an EMT look you over. Even if the EMT does not spot an obvious injury, get yourself checked out by your regular doctor or at an urgent-care clinic as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours (at most) of the accident. A doctor can perform simple tests that spot injuries that you would not necessarily know you had, but which if left untreated could cause you serious, and even fatal, health problems. A benefit to seeking medical care right away is that it also generates medical records that can prove useful in a legal claim.
Take Photos or Video (Especially Before Clean-Up Crews Arrive)
If (and only if) it is safe for you to do so, take photographs or video at the accident scene of everything you see. There is no such thing as too many pictures or too many minutes of video. Capture images of the vehicles, the road surface, the lighting, weather conditions, the surrounding area… everything. Ideally, take these pictures or videos before cleanup crews arrive on the scene, since once they get to work, they will remove debris that may provide valuable visual evidence.
Get Names and Contact Information From Everyone
If possible, get the name and contact information from everyone involved in the accident and the response to it, including drivers, passengers, witnesses, and first responders. For drivers, also get insurance and vehicle registration information if possible. All of this information can come in handy if, later on, your attorney needs to contact witnesses to ask them about what happened, or to discuss someone’s potential liability to you for your injuries.
Beware Communicating With Someone Else’s Insurance Company
After a T-bone truck accident, you will likely have some interaction with your own insurance company, and that’s fine, so long as you stick to telling them the facts.
However, you should not agree to communicate with someone else’s insurance company, if you can avoid it. The only reason someone else’s insurance company would have to contact you after a T-bone truck accident would be to try to minimize its customer’s financial liability to you for your injuries and losses.
Insurance company representatives try to accomplish that mission by trying to get you talking about the accident, hoping to trip you up by getting you to say something that makes it seem like you bear the blame for the crash. Others try to tempt you with an offer of a quick cash settlement, hoping you need the money and will give up your valuable legal rights in return before you have had a chance to think through the full value of your claim.
Do not fall for these tactics. Your safest bet, virtually always, is to decline to speak with someone else’s insurance company, and instead to follow the last piece of advice below.
Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Injury Attorney Right Away
Skilled truck accident injury attorneys will meet with you for free to discuss your legal rights to financial compensation after a T-bone truck accident. If you agree to hire them, they will virtually always represent you on contingency, meaning you pay them nothing up-front, and they get paid only if their efforts get money for you, too.
The sooner you begin working with an experienced truck accident injury attorney, the better your chances of recovering the full amount of compensation you need and deserve. Never wait to contact a lawyer. If you do, then you risk losing your legal rights to compensation altogether.
How a Truck Accident Injury Attorney Can Help
The main job of a truck accident injury lawyer is to pursue financial compensation for a truck accident victim from the individuals or entities who have legal liability for a crash. Lawyers for T-bone truck collisions victims spend their careers fighting to make sure that people who should never have gotten injured in the first place receive the money they need and deserve to heal and move on with their lives.
What do these lawyers actually do? Well, it varies from crash-to-crash and client-to-client. Every crash is different, and skilled lawyers tailor their legal strategies to an individual client’s needs and goals.
However, some tasks lawyers will often perform for clients injured in a T-bone truck accident include:
- Investigating an accident to figure out what happened and who should have a legal liability to an injured client. Truck crashes, in particular, can cause not just a mess on the roadway, but also a legal mess. Lots of individuals and companies can have a legal interest in a truck that crashes, and each one of them will usually scramble to avoid blame for an accident after it happens. A lawyer for T-bone truck crash victims gets to work figuring out the details of the accident and assessing whose bad decisions or dangerous actions contributed to the client’s injuries.
- Negotiating settlements with insurance companies and defense lawyers. Most legal claims that arise after a T-bone truck accident get settled through an agreement between the crash victim and the party or parties with legal liability. The victim (usually) receives money, and in exchange releases the liable party from further financial obligations. It takes skill and care to negotiate successful, favorable settlements after a T-bone truck crash. Trust only an experienced truck accident injury attorney to get it right.
- Litigating T-bone truck accident injury claims in court, if that is what it takes to get a client the money the law requires. A skilled truck accident injury attorney prepares every case as if it will end up in a courtroom before a judge and jury. That way, the lawyer can say “I’ll see you in court” to a defense attorney or insurance company, and back that up with a presentation that convinces the judge and jury to award the client maximum damages.
Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a T-bone truck accident? If so, contact an experienced truck accident injury lawyer today to learn about your legal rights.