How is Fault Determined in a T-Bone Accident in Chicago?

Published on: 01/10/24 — In 

A T-bone accident or a broadside collision happens when one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle. Determining fault in T-bone car accidents can be complicated since both drivers may be negligent to some degree.

The first step is to determine who had the right of way in the intersection. The driver with the right of way is usually not responsible for the T-bone collision type of accident. However, they may still be partially at fault depending on their actions.

The next step is to consider the speed of each vehicle. If either driver was speeding or driving recklessly, they may be partially at fault. Both drivers should have been paying attention to the road and other vehicles. If either driver was distracted or not paying attention, they may also be partially at fault.

Contact Ktenas Injury's experienced car accident attorney for further accident claim support. Call us at (312) 300-2515 to schedule a free consultation.

What is a T-bone Accident?

A t-bone traffic accident is a type of vehicle collision that occurs when the front of one car strikes the side of another. The cars usually form a “T” shape at the point of impact, hence the name.

T-bone accidents are one of the most dangerous types of accidents and are typically caused by one driver running a red light or stop sign and entering an intersection without yielding to oncoming traffic.

These types of collisions can be very dangerous and cause severe T-bone accident injuries to the occupants of both cars.

Who is at Fault in a T-bone Accident?

In a “T-Bone” accident or broadside accident, the fault is determined by examining factors such as who had the right of way at the time of the collision, if either driver was speeding, or if either driver exhibited signs of aggressive driving, reckless driving, or drunk driving.  negligence or recklessness.

a t-bone car accident

Generally speaking, in a T-bone accident, one driver is usually found to be more culpable than the other because they violated their duty to take reasonable care of other people on the road.

Traffic Lights and T-Bone Accidents

Traffic lights are one of the most important traffic safety devices used to regulate the flow of traffic. When two vehicles approach an intersection, both drivers must be aware of the traffic lights and obey them accordingly to avoid a T-bone accident.

If a driver fails to pay attention to the traffic light and runs it, they can cause a T-bone crash that can result in serious injury or even death.

What Are the Rules of the Road Regarding Traffic Lights?

Traffic lights have specific rules that drivers must follow. The purpose of traffic lights is to regulate traffic flow and ensure safety at intersections. Drivers should stop at a red light and proceed only when it turns green. When a yellow light appears, drivers should yield to others with the right of way and stop if it is safe to do so.

FAQ: What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Who Has the Right of Way at a Traffic Light?

In a T-bone accident, the right of way is determined by the traffic light. The vehicle with a green light or making a legal turn has the right of way. If both vehicles had a red light, the car on the right had the right of way. If a driver ran a red light, they would be at fault for the accident.

How Is Fault Determined for an Accident Involving a Red Light?

When determining fault in an accident involving a vehicle running a red light, it is crucial to consider the traffic laws and statutes of the state. Typically, in a two-vehicle collision where one vehicle runs a red light, the driver who ran the red light will be considered at fault.

However, this is not always the case, as other factors can occasionally impact the determination of fault.

How Is Fault Determined for an Accident Involving a Green Light?

When a driver has the right of way at a green light, they expect to proceed safely. However, accidents can happen when another driver runs a red light. Fault for these accidents depends on several factors. Usually, fault is determined by the level of negligence shown by each driver.

a traffic light

The court will consider the circumstances of the accident to decide who was more careless and responsible for any damages.

Contributing Factors to Consider when Determining Fault in a T-Bone Accident

Determining the at-fault party in a T-bone accident or side-impact collision can be challenging due to the shared responsibility of both drivers to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution. Factors like speed, visibility, and right-of-way need to be considered to accurately assign fault.

Speed Limits and Road Conditions

Fault in a T-bone accident is determined by speed limits and road conditions. The speed limit is based on factors like the type of road and the surrounding area. Drivers are required by law in most states and can face penalties if they don't obey speed limit signs. They should also be aware of road conditions, such as ice or rain making it slippery.

Driver Negligence, Impairment, or Distraction

T-bone auto accidents often occur due to driver negligence, impairment, or distraction. Negligent driving involves not obeying traffic laws and driving carelessly, which can result in serious accidents. Impairment from drugs or alcohol can reduce awareness and lead to dangerous mistakes. Distractions like cell phones or passengers in the car can also make drivers less attentive and more prone to causing accidents.

Learn More: How to File a Car Accident Claim in Illinois

Visibility of Signals and Intersections

Visibility is crucial in preventing T-bone impact accidents. If drivers can't see traffic signals or intersections, they are more likely to run through them. Poor visibility can be caused by rain, fog, or a lack of street lights. For example, if a driver is on a dark road at night without street lights and misses a red light, a T-bone motor vehicle accident can occur.

Weather Conditions

Weather conditions have a significant impact on T-bone accidents. Reduced visibility during bad weather can make it hard to see oncoming traffic when making turns. Poor visibility may cause a driver to misjudge the risk of turning and causing a severe car accident. Examples of weather conditions that affect visibility include rain, fog, snow, and black ice.

Vehicle Defects or Malfunctions

Vehicle defects or malfunctions can affect fault in a T-bone accident. If a vehicle had a malfunction that caused it to not work correctly, this could contribute to the accident. For example, if a vehicle had faulty brakes that didn't stop it at an intersection, this could cause a side-impact crash.

a woman sitting on the road after a t-bone car accident

Similarly, if a vehicle had a malfunctioning steering system that caused it to turn unexpectedly and crash, this could be considered a factor in fault. Investigators need to examine both vehicles to determine the cause of the T-bone car crash.

Liability Insurance Coverage

Liability insurance plays a crucial role in T-bone accident cases by covering costs for the injured party for physical damage and common injuries such as internal injuries and broken bones. This insurance also covers costs including medical costs and medical expenses, lost wages, non-economic damages, and property damage. The at-fault driver's insurance company is responsible for these T-bone accident victims' costs.

If damages exceed their insurance coverage, such as in cases of severe injury, traumatic brain injuries, or wrongful death damages the at-fault driver is still held liable. In a wrongful death claim an accident lawyer can work to ensure you receive compensatory damages for funeral expenses and loss of consortium. 

To ensure fair compensation, it's crucial to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can explain your options and protect your interests.

Call Ktenas Injury Attorneys Today for Help After an Accident

If you are in a T-bone accident, call Ktenas Injury Attorneys now. Our experienced car accident lawyers can help figure out who's responsible and get you compensation for medical bills and damages.

T-bone accidents happen when two cars collide at an intersection, with one hitting the side of the other. These types of crashes can be fatal and life-changing for those involved. Determining fault in a T-bone accident and ensuring a successful car accident claim depends on things like right of way, speed limits, driver negligence, and more. Insurance coverage also matters.

Contact our Chicago personal injury lawyers to make sure you get the compensation you deserve.