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Who Is At Fault For a T-Bone Car Accident in Houston, TX?

Who Is At Fault For a T-Bone Car Accident in Houston, TX?

The sides of a vehicle do not have the level of protection in a crash that the crumple zones at the front and rear provide. Crumple zones are designed to crush on impact to transfer some of the force of the collision into controlled property damage. T-bone accidents can also cause the door to intrude into the cabin or push the car into oncoming traffic, both of which can be catastrophic. 

T-bone accidents, also called side impact crashes, are one of the most dangerous types of car accidents. These crashes cause 25% of car occupant deaths, second only to frontal-impact collisions. Of course, what is a side impact for one vehicle is likely a head-on crash for the other. Occupants in both vehicles face a high risk of serious or fatal injuries. 

After a side-impact crash, you count on a settlement to help you pay for your medical bills, lost earnings, and more. To recover compensation for your accident, you must prove liability. But who is at fault in a T-bone accident? Here’s what you should know about proving fault in a side-impact accident and how the comparative fault law in Texas could affect your claim.

Common Causes of T-Bone Accidents and Who Is At Fault

Most side-impact collisions happen in intersections, usually when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way or runs a stop sign or red light. Most of the time, one driver is at fault, typically the driver who made the initial impact. However, this isn’t always true or easy to prove. 

One Driver Ran a Red Light or Stop Sign

The most common scenario for a T-bone crash is one vehicle striking the side of another in an intersection after running a stop sign or red light. In these cases, the driver who violated the law is at fault for the crash. 

Witness statements, traffic and surveillance camera footage, the police report, and skid marks at the scene can be used to prove the other driver ran a red light. 

One Driver Failed To Yield the Right-of-Way

Sometimes, a T-bone accident happens when a motorist fails to yield the right-of-way. This usually occurs at intersections with a yield sign or without traffic control devices. In these accidents, the injury victim usually drives into the at-fault vehicle that failed to yield. 

At a yield sign, the Texas Transportation Code requires approaching drivers to wait until cross traffic has passed. You can only proceed when the path is clear and there are no oncoming vehicles. In an uncontrolled intersection, which vehicles arrived first and the direction they are going determines the right-of-way. When two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, the driver on the left yields to drivers on the right.

These accidents can be a bit more complicated. The driver who failed to yield the right-of-way will be at fault for the crash, but it can be harder to prove. Sometimes, these accidents come down to who arrived at the intersection first. Witness statements, a police report, and photos of the damage to both vehicles, the scene, any signage, and the position of the vehicles can be very helpful.

One Driver Was Turning Left

Another common scenario that causes side impact accidents is one driver making a left-hand turn and getting T-boned by an oncoming vehicle. The driver turning left is usually found at fault. When making a left-hand turn, a driver is required to yield to oncoming traffic unless they have a green arrow. This is known as a protected left turn. 

There are exceptions to this. The oncoming driver may be totally or partially at fault if they ran a red light or were speeding, for example. 

Both Drivers May Be At Fault

It’s common for both drivers to be found partially at fault for a T-bone accident in Houston. 

Even if only one driver was breaking the law and primarily caused the accident, the other driver may be found partially at fault if they could have avoided the crash. 

Texas uses a modified comparative fault law to assign fault in these cases. Under this rule, an injured party can recover compensation even if they share some blame for the crash. However, plaintiffs can only recover damages if they are 50% or less at fault. If you are found to be 51% or more to blame, you will not be able to recover any damages. 

A Houston Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Prove Fault After a T-Bone Crash

Even when fault seems clear, proving it may be challenging depending on the circumstances of your crash. If you were seriously injured or you are being blamed for the accident, it’s important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. Every share of fault the insurance company can shift to you reduces your compensation and may bar you from recovering anything at all. 

Schedule a free consultation with a Houston car accident lawyer to discuss your case and how we can help you. 

Contact the Undefeated Houston Car Accident Lawyers from Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact our Undefeated car accident attorneys in Texas at Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We proudly serve Harris County, Midland County, and throughout the state of Texas:

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Houston
2700 Post Oak Blvd #1000, Houston, TX 77056
(888) 603-3636
Open 24 hours

Zehl & Associates Injury & Accident Lawyers – Midland
306 W Wall St Suite 701, Midland, TX 79701
(432) 220-0000
Open 24 hours