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How Do T-Bone Accidents Happen?

The vast majority of T-bone accidents occur at intersections, as this is the only place where you’d normally find cars travelling perpendicular to one another before a collision.

Some common scenarios include:

  • A vehicle blowing through a red light and striking a vehicle legally proceeding through the intersection.
  • A driver making a left turn directly in front of oncoming traffic.
  • A driver pulling out of a side street or driveway without making sure that the main road was clear of traffic.

As you may note, depending on the context, in some cases the driver who T-boned the other car is responsible, while in others the driver who was T-boned is responsible. This is unlike rear-end collisions, where the trailing car is at fault the vast majority of the time.

Quite often in T-bone accident cases, factors such as drugs, alcohol, and distracted driving (such as texting while driving) are a factor.

Who Can Be at Fault in a T-Bone Accident?

One of the tricky things about determining fault in T-bone accidents is that, depending on the context, either driver might be the one responsible. On top of that, sometimes both drivers share some degree of responsibility, while in rare cases other third parties might be at least partially to blame.

Here are just a few possibilities for who might be at fault:

  • One or both drivers involved in the collision. Again, most T-bone accidents occur at intersections, and in most cases only one driver will be held responsible. However, in some cases both drivers may share blame if both were negligent. For example, it may be determined that while one driver was speeding the other driver also failed to make sure the way was clear before proceeding through the intersection.
  • A vehicle or other equipment manufacturer. Perhaps you intended to stop, but your brakes failed—even though you properly maintain your vehicle and had no reason to suspect any problems. Or maybe your seatbelt failed, or your airbag didn’t deploy, and your injuries were substantially worse as a result. In such cases, the car manufacturer may be held responsible for faulty and unsafe equipment.
  • A third driver not involved in the collision. In rare cases, another driver may begin a chain of events that result in a side-impact collision. For example, imagine that a car in front of you performed an illegal or reckless maneuver, such as turning left into your lane of travel. You were then forced to swerve to avoid a collision, which caused a third car to strike yours. In this scenario, the driver of the first car could be at least partially at fault even if they didn’t hit anyone.

What Happens If Multiple Parties Are at Fault? Can I Still Recover Compensation If I’m Partially to Blame?

That depends on what state the accident took place in. Both Georgia and South Carolina use a system known as modified comparative negligence to determine who can receive compensation from a T-bone car accident case, and how much.

The basic rule is that the damages you’re claiming will be reduced by your share of the fault. So, to use a simple example, if you’re claiming $1 million in damages but a court finds you to be 25% at fault, you will only receive $750,000 (that is, $1 million minus 25%).

However, if your share of the fault is too high, you are prohibited from recovering anything. In Georgia, you cannot receive any compensation if you are at least 50% at fault. In South Carolina, you must be more than 50% at fault to barred from compensation.

The main difference here is what happens if fault splits 50-50. In South Carolina, both parties can recover half their damages. In Georgia, both parties walk away with nothing.

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