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Who Is Liable in a T-Bone Car Accident?

T-bone car accidents are one of the most serious types of motor vehicle collisions on Pittsburgh’s roadways. If you get involved in a T-bone crash, it is important to understand your legal rights as a victim. This includes who you may be able to hold liable, or financially responsible, for your losses. You may need assistance from an experienced car accident attorney in Pittsburgh to determine liability for your T-bone crash.

What Is a T-Bone Car Accident?

A T-bone car accident is a collision between the front of one vehicle and the broadside of another. For this reason, these car accidents are also referred to as side-impact collisions or “angle accidents,” describing the way that the two vehicles collide to form an angle or a T. It is an extremely dangerous type of crash, as the point of impact is often in close proximity to the drivers of both vehicles. If a driver strikes the passenger side of a car, a T-bone accident could also prove deadly to the front-seat passenger.

Why Do T-Bone Car Accidents Happen?

Like most car accidents, T-bone collisions are primarily caused by driver error. T-bone or side-impact collisions most commonly occur in intersections in Pennsylvania. They can take place when drivers fail to obey traffic signs or signals, such as running red lights or failing to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic. This can lead to a crash in the intersection between two vehicles that were traveling in different directions.

T-bone car accidents can also take place when a driver makes an unsafe or illegal left-hand turn. In Pennsylvania, the law states that the driver of a vehicle who wishes to turn left must yield the right-of-way to any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction, except when shown a green turn arrow. Failing to yield to others or misjudging the speed or distance of an oncoming car could lead to a T-bone crash.

Determining and Proving Liability for a T-Bone Collision

Liability in any car accident case in Pennsylvania will most likely go to the driver who broke a traffic law leading up to the collision. Violating traffic laws and roadway rules can put a driver in the wrong place at the wrong time – sometimes, directly in the path of another driver. Determining liability for a T-bone accident in Pennsylvania involves considering several factors:

  • Which driver, if any, violated a traffic law or rule of the road.
  • Who had the right-of-way to proceed across a road or into an intersection.
  • Whether one of the drivers was careless or reckless, such as by texting and driving
  • Which direction both vehicles were traveling (and their speeds).
  • Eyewitness accounts of what happened.
  • Marks in the road and physical damage to either vehicle to reconstruct the crash.
  • Whether the design of the intersection is unreasonably dangerous or faulty. 
  • What the weather and road conditions were like at the time of the accident.
  • If one of the vehicles experienced a mechanical defect or equipment breakdown that contributed to the crash.

If the circumstances surrounding the T-bone accident point to a driver who ran a red light, failed to yield the right-of-way, disobeyed a traffic sign or signal, was driving under the influence of alcohol, or otherwise made a careless error, this driver’s car insurance company can be held responsible for the collision. If, however, an external factor such as road conditions or dangerous intersection design contributed to the crash, a third party could face liability. 

If you need legal advice and guidance after being injured in a T-bone accident in Pittsburgh, contact a Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer at Dallas W. Hartman, P.C. to request a free car accident case consultation.

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