Atlanta T-Bone Accidents Lawyer

A crash victim’s guide to broadside car accidents in Atlanta, GA

T-bone accidents are more common than you might think, especially in Metro Atlanta and throughout Georgia

T-bone accidents and side impact collisions are some of the most serious types of car crashes. Drivers and passengers have little protection and the injuries are often catastrophic, even deadly.

If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one, we can answer your questions about how to prove liability and who will pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages. Let us help you.

Side-impact wrecks accounted for nearly 1 in 4 (23 percent) crash fatalities in 2018, and an estimated 9,700 people were killed in these types of crashes in 2004. Side airbags became mandatory in 2009 in the U.S., which has saved an estimated 1,000 lives per year, but many older vehicles aren’t equipped with this safety feature. T-bone collisions continue to be one of the biggest causes of serious injury and death on Georgia roads, especially for children.

If you or a loved one were recently involved in a T-bone collision, you’re likely still reeling from the wreck. You want this nightmare to end and to go back to your normal life, but that may be difficult (if not impossible) if you were seriously hurt. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your pain or thinking you can handle your claim on your own. Meet with our experienced and knowledgeable professionals to learn your next best steps and find out what compensation you are entitled to.

Contact us to schedule your FREE consultation with one of our experienced Atlanta, GA car accident lawyers. We’ve helped many crash victims get through this difficult period and secure the financial compensation they deserve. Let us help you too.

What are T-bone accidents?

A T-bone crash, also known as a “side-impact,” “angle” or “broadside” collision, is when the front of a car or truck collides into the side of another vehicle. Upon collision, both cars form a “T” shape, thus the term “T-bone.” Side-impact crashes tend to happen when one of the drivers runs a red light or fails to yield the right of way to the other driver. These crashes are among the most severe types of car accidents, along with head-on collisions and rollovers.

T-bone car crash physics

There are a number of factors that explain why T-bone collisions often result in more serious injuries than other types of crashes. Such factors depend on where the vehicle was struck, how fast both vehicles were going, what safety features each vehicle is equipped with and each car’s weight and construction.

The amount of material protecting or “cushioning” the driver upon impact is significantly thinner on the side compared to the front (engine) and rear (trunk). The front and rear ends of many cars have “crumple zones” and bumpers, which absorb most of the force of the impact. In broadside accidents, however, all that’s protecting the driver is the thin vehicle door or door frame. Most new vehicles come equipped with side airbags — and while these safety devices can be lifesaving, they can only do so much to lessen the impact. Drivers and passengers are much closer to the source (and force) of the impact in a T-bone crash.

Angle collisions have also become significantly more deadly in recent years due, in part, to the popularity of large SUVs and trucks. Not only do these vehicles weigh more than the average car or sedan, but they are also raised up higher. Sometimes the bumper of a large SUV or truck is eye-level with a driver in a more low-profile car. This size/weight disparity has terrible consequences for the driver or passengers in the smaller vehicle.

Common causes of broadside collisions

traffic jam with row of car on express way before night – vintage style picture

One of the most common T-bone scenarios is left-hand turn accidents. At an intersection where a driver is trying to turn left, they may try to beat an oncoming driver or not see them. As they make their turn, the approaching vehicle crashes into their passenger side.

Another common cause of broadside collisions is when a driver turns right at an intersection, but fails to see another vehicle coming in the same lane. In such a crash, the vehicle that turned is hit on the driver’s side, which can be especially deadly and catastrophic.

Other common causes of side impact crashes include:

  • Running a red light or stop sign
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper left turns
  • Speeding
  • Bad weather
  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving (texting and driving)
  • Vehicle malfunction (brake failure, tire blowout, etc.)

Common side-impact injuries

The injuries and damage caused by a T-bone collision tend to be more severe than other types of car accidents, depending on exactly where the vehicle was struck, how fast both vehicles were going, what safety features each vehicle is equipped with and each car’s weight and construction. For example, if an older small car turns in front of a high-speed oncoming SUV or truck, the damage is more likely to be extensive.

High speed T-bone crashes are especially dangerous and deadly. Here are a few of the most common injuries that result from side impact collisions:

  • Head injuries and concussions
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Neck injuries (whiplash)
  • Back and spinal injuries
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries
  • Broken and fractured bones (ribs, pelvis, skull, etc.)
  • Internal injuries (organ damage)
  • Soft tissue injuries (sprains, strains and tears)
  • Chest trauma

The worst kind of injury of all is one that results in a person’s death. If you lost a loved one in a fatal T-bone car crash, we offer our deepest condolences for your loss. We suggest talking to a wrongful death lawyer near you to find out how you can get compensated for the medical bills, pain and suffering and funeral/burial expenses your family may be facing.

Who’s at fault in a T-bone accident?

It depends. Either driver can be liable, or both. Liability is usually determined by seeing who had the right of way.

When it comes to left-hand turn collisions, Georgia code clearly lays out the right of way law in Section 40-6-71:

The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left within an intersection or into an alley, private road, or driveway shall yield the right of way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction which is within the intersection or so close thereto as to constitute an immediate hazard.

This law clearly states that drivers turning left must yield the right of way to any oncoming vehicle, whether at an intersection or trying to turn into a driveway, private road or alley. Any driver who breaks this law and turns left, which results in a T-bone crash, will be held liable for paying the injuries and damages of the other driver (as well as their own). If they have insurance, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely compensate the accident victim. If they don’t have insurance, the responsible driver will be liable for paying damages out of their own pocket. This is in accordance with Georgia being an “at-fault” state.

However, if the T-bone collision didn’t happen because of a left-hand turn, then determining liability for the crash may be more complex and nuanced. Accident scene investigators may ask the following questions to determine who was at fault:

  • Did a driver run a red light or stop sign or fail to give the right of way?
  • Was one (or both) of the drivers speeding, distracted or intoxicated?
  • Did both drivers do everything in their power to avoid a collision?
  • Did one of the traffic lights malfunction?

Georgia is what’s known as a modified comparative negligence state. What this means is that Georgia residents can sue to recover damages in an accident even if they are partially responsible for the accident — as long as you are less than 50 percent at fault. If you are found to be 51 percent liable, you will not be eligible for recovery under Georgia law.

This rule greatly impacts side-impact and T-bone collision cases.

For example, let’s say John is speeding because he’s late for work. While going through an intersection, Jane runs a stop sign and slams into the side of John’s car. John suffers traumatic brain injuries and his car is totaled. He sues Jane for damages totaling $100,000.

In this scenario, the insurance companies might investigate and find that both John and Jane were partially to blame for the T-bone collision. The judge assigns John 25 percent of the liability for speeding, and Jane is held 75 percent liable for running the stop sign. Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law, John can still recover damages since he was less than 50 percent responsible for the crash, but he can only recover a maximum of $75,000 in damages ($100,000 minus his percentage of liability).

Proving your degree (or percentage) of fault is often a complicated and somewhat subjective process involving a judge or jury. For this reason, it’s vital you put your case in the hands of an experienced car crash lawyer near you who fully understands local laws and can skillfully tell your side of the story.

T-bone and broadside car crash FAQs

Should I admit fault in a car accident?

Absolutely not. Even if you think the collision was partially or totally your fault, you should never admit blame for a crash. You may not be aware of other factors that might have contributed to the accident. Leave it up to the police, insurance companies and your lawyer to determine who (or what) was responsible for the collision. Be honest with police, but only stick to the facts. Don’t try to speculate or say you think it was your fault. And don’t apologize to the other driver or anyone else.

Can I get whiplash from a T-bone collision?

Yes. In fact, this is a very common injury after a serious car crash. Whiplash occurs when your neck muscles, ligaments or tendons are torn due to a sudden impact that causes your neck to “whip” forward. This type of injury is particularly common in rear-end crashes, but it can also happen during a side-impact collision.

Is the person who made a left turn always at fault?

Generally, yes. The driver who made a left-hand turn that resulted in a broadside collision with an oncoming vehicle is almost always at fault. Georgia law makes it clear that drivers turning left must yield the right of way to oncoming traffic.

The only exception to this rule is if the person who made the left turn had a green arrow and the other driver ran a red light or stop sign. In that case, the vehicle going straight (through the intersection) can be held liable for crashing into the turning vehicle because they failed to yield as directed.

Help! What should I do after a T-bone crash?

First and foremost, you should seek medical care. If you’ve been involved in a side-impact collision, chances are you or someone else suffered serious injuries. The health and safety of everyone involved in the crash should be your top priority following a collision. Check on the condition of yourself, your passengers and the other driver. Call 911 and request an ambulance.

If everyone involved is miraculously unharmed, you should still contact police to report the accident. While you wait, take pictures/video of the crash scene and write down the other driver’s name, insurance information and contact details (phone number and email). Once police arrive, tell them your version of events (remember, stick to the facts) and remain at the scene until they say you can leave.

After leaving, contact your auto insurance company right away to notify them that you’ve been in an accident. Then, go see a doctor to get a checkup as soon as possible. Tell them you were in a wreck. Even if you feel fine, some injuries aren’t obvious and get worse over time. Only your doctor can give you a clean bill of health.

If you or a loved one were seriously injured, schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer near you who specializes in T-bone car crash cases.

How much time do I have to file an injury claim?

All motor vehicle accident claims in Georgia have a deadline, after which your case will “expire” and you’ll no longer be able to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim. In the case of T-bone collisions (and all other types of crashes), Georgia residents have just 2 years to file a claim. The clock starts ticking from the date of the crash, and there are few exceptions.

Two years may sound like plenty of time, but building a successful case takes a lot of hard work and time. Lawyers need as much time as possible to gather evidence, determine liability, negotiate settlement offers and secure the best possible outcome in your case. Don’t delay if you need legal help. Get answers now.

Experience, dedication, compassion, and results from our Georgia Injury Legal Team

$5,500,000 T-bone accident resulting in traumatic brain injury

$150,000 T-bone auto collision resulting in herniated disc

$100,000 T-bone car wreck resulting in shoulder injury

$100,000 Side impact auto collision resulting in rotator cuff injury

When it comes to serious auto accidents, navigating insurance and the legal process — including all of the paperwork and important deadlines — is often more than most people can handle. Let us do the heavy lifting for you so that you can focus on what’s important: your family, your health and your recovery.

Why hire an Atlanta T-bone collision lawyer

Here at Scholle Law, we have hands-on experience litigating side-impact collision cases in the Atlanta area. For example, attorney Charles Scholle represented an active 60-year-old lady who was involved in a T-bone crash with a van while driving to her tennis match. She hit her head on the steering wheel and airbag, which caused her to black out and suffer a concussion.

She came to us about a neck injury, but her neck pain gradually (and thankfully) dissipated over time. However, she soon began experiencing memory loss issues and we encouraged her to see a neurologist. Doctors diagnosed her with a serious brain injury. The defense tried to argue that it was just dementia or Alzheimer’s, but the doctors disagreed and we fought on her behalf. We were able to secure a significant settlement.

We’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients in personal injury verdicts and settlements for over 25 years, including T-bone collisions and fatal crashes.

Following your crash, we’ll help you navigate the complex and nuanced legal process by providing the following services:

  • Investigating and documenting the accident scene, then gathering evidence to prove fault
  • Calculating the full extent of your damages — including economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, loss of income, etc.) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
  • Filing the necessary paperwork and meeting deadlines to ensure you get compensation sooner
  • Negotiating on your behalf with the other party and insurers to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement
  • Skillfully representing your case in court (if necessary)

Your first consultation with our lawyers is 100% free — no cost, no commitment. During this initial meeting, we’ll listen to you, answer your questions and evaluate your case to determine your best legal options. If you decide to hire us to represent you, you’ll only pay for our services when we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. It’s that simple.

We serve clients throughout Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia.