T-Bone Accident Lawyer in Michigan | Lee Steinberg

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Side impact or side collisions are also known as T-Bone accidents because when one vehicle hits another directly on the side, the perpendicular angles of the two vehicles form the letter “T”. These types of accidents are also called broadside, since the broadest, or widest, part of a car receives the impact.

A knowledgeable and experienced T-bone car accident attorney can help. In most instances, an injured person can recover Michigan no-fault benefits from the accident. This includes the payment of medical expenses and lost wages. If another person was negligent in causing the T-bone crash, under Michigan law you can also recover pain and suffering compensation.

  • In 2019, side impact collisions made up 23% of all two vehicle passenger fatalities.
  • This increases to 27%, when SUVs and pickup trucks are removed from the equation.
  • In single vehicle accidents, side impact collisions made up 15% of all passenger vehicle fatalities.This increases to 19% when pickups and SUVs are removed from the equation.
  • In multiple vehicle collisions, side impact crashes made up 30% of all fatalities.

Anytime you are involved in an auto accident in Michigan, whether it’s in Detroit, Saginaw, Grand Rapids or Traverse City, it creates a jolt of adrenaline that shocks your system. But T-bone accidents are particularly frightening because unlike other collisions where you have a second to brake you have absolutely no warning before somebody broadsides you.

Why are T-Bone accidents so dangerous?

Michigan T-bone accidents are dangerous for a number of reasons. First, they typically occur at intersections when one driver runs a red light or yield sign. The unsuspecting other driver gets hit by a vehicle traveling at a full rate of speed.

In addition, the level of protection for a passenger or driver is far less in a side impact collision. There is not a bumper, engine or even a dashboard to absorb the impact. In some older vehicles, you may not even have side airbags. Although side curtain airbags exist, they are not yet standard for every new car.

SUVs and trucks had a combined market share of 50% in 2020. If you include vans and pickups, that market share increases to 72%. These vehicles all weight much more than an average car, making side collisions particularly dangerous.

Further, cars have lower points of impact than SUVs, van, and pickups. These higher bodied vehicles strike cars in exactly the worst place. The IIHS HLDI (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety – Highway Loss Data Institute) has published a comprehensive study of side impact barrier developments and crashworthiness tests.

Why Do T-Bone accidents Occur?

Obviously, side impact crashes have many of the same causes as other crashes, but the majority of them occur in the following circumstances:

  • One driver ignores a red light or stop sign
  • Failing to adequately check the road before making a turn or entering traffic
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (not seeing a signal in time because of texting or doing something else)
  • Fatigued driving causing slow reaction times
  • Drunk or drugged driving
  • Aggressive driving
  • Failing to adequately check the road before making a turn or entering traffic
  • Poor weather conditions

Determining Fault From a T-Bone Crash

Under Michigan law, a law enforcement agency must respond and write a report following a car or truck accident in Michigan. The officers will talk to the drivers involved in the crash, talk to witnesses, observe vehicle damage, pull video and perform other tasks to assign fault.

Sometimes this information is not always accurate, so it is important that every person involved in a T-bone crash take their own photographs, get the information of witnesses and the other motorists involved. An aggressive Michigan lawyer will assist in this investigation. This can include hiring private investigators or other experts to obtain evidence to prove fault.

Under Michigan law, to obtain pain and suffering compensating following a T-bone crash, the injured person must prove the other driver was at least 50% at-fault for causing the crash. Collecting evidence as soon as possible is vital to proving liability and being able to collect compensation for your injuries.

What Are Examples of Michigan T-Bone Accidents

T-bone accidents can occur in a variety of ways. But generally it involves a situation where the driver does not have the right of way. For example,

  • If you are driving straight through an intersection on a green light and another driver plows into the side of you because he or she didn’t see a red light.
  • If you make a left turn on a green arrow, and another driver from the opposite direction broadsides you.
  • If another driver enters the main road from a side street either immediately in front of you (so that you broadside him) or into the side of you, you have the right of way.

How Much Time Do You Have to File A Lawsuit?

There is only a certain amount of time to file a lawsuit following a T-bone crash in Michigan. This is called the statute of limitations. In most situations, for a negligence case a person has 3 years from the date of the crash to file a lawsuit in court against the proper defendants. If a lawsuit is not filed in that time, the injured person, or plaintiff, forever loses his or her right to obtain money compensation for their injuries. 

The statute of limitations is different for minors, who typically have more time to file a lawsuit. In addition, the statute of limitations is different for Michigan No-Fault claims. For a PIP claim, if a claim has been denied by the insurance company then the injured person only has one year from the date the benefit was incurred to file a lawsuit.

It is important to consult with a Michigan car accident attorney following a crash so you can get your questions answered and protect your rights.

What Michigan No-Fault Benefits Can You Get From a T-Bone Collision?

Michigan is a no-fault state. This means a person accidently injured in a car or truck accident, or even a motorcyclist injured in a car accident, can obtain certain benefits, without regard to fault. These benefits are also called personal injury protection (PIP) benefits or first-party benefits.

After an accident, a no-fault insurance claim can cover medical costs, lost wages, prescriptions, out-of-pocket expenses and other benefits. However, no-fault insurance does not cover car repairs or property damage.The major benefit under the Michigan No-Fault Law is the payment of all medical bills related to the accident. This includes the payment for all hospital bills, doctor bills and rehabilitation bills. If a medical treatment is related to the car accident, it must be paid by the auto insurance carrier responsible for paying the claim up to the PIP coverage limit. In many wages, PIP coverage is like health insurance.  Another major benefit is the payment of lost wages. Under the law, the auto insurance carrier must be 85% of an injured person’s gross wages for missed time from work due to the car accident. This benefits are available for up to 3 years from the date of the crash.

In addition, the car insurance company must also pay friends or family members for the chores they are forced to do on behalf of the injured person. This is called household replacement services. By law, the person performing these services is entitled to $20 per day for this work for up to 3 years from the date of the accident. 

Types of Car Insurance Covering a Michigan T-Bone Accident

In Michigan, any basic auto insurance policy consists of three parts: personal injury protection (PIP), personal property protection (PPI), and residual liability insurance, which refers to bodily injury and property damage.

Property Damage:

PPI pays up to $1 million in damage a vehicle causes to another person’s property, including buildings and surroundings like fences and landscaping. It also covers damage to parked vehicles. It does not cover car damage from a vehicle collision however.

Residual Liability Insurance:

Residual liability insurance protects the driver if they caused the crash. This is the insurance protection in case you injured someone in an accident. The minimum coverage generally covers up to $50,000 for a person who is hurt or killed and $100,000 for multiple victims.

When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical bills, lost wages, loss of companionship for the survivors, as well as pain and suffering.

Our state’s unusual no-fault system is often confusing for people who have never made a claim. When you add this to the stress and trauma of a car accident, things can spiral out of control very quickly.

Typical Injuries in a T-Bone Collision

In a side impact collision, the driver and passengers have no crumple zone to cushion them from another vehicle that pushes into the side of the car. Data from the Journal of Safety Research show that the head and thorax (area between the neck and the abdomen) are the most commonly injured parts of the body.

The NIH (National Institutes of Health) published these figures for common side impact injuries:

  • Chest and abdomen -49%
  • Head and face- 24%
  • Pelvic region and lower extremities- 14%
  • Neck and spine- 4%

Other typical injuries from T-Bone collisions:

  • Concussions, including TBIs (traumatic brain injuries)
  • Broken bones resulting from the impact
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash injuries from being shaken side to side, including herniated discs
  • Torn ligaments and tendon damage
  • Muscle and soft tissue injuries

In addition, people who have been involved in severe traffic accidents are often left with psychiatric disorders, such as PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or post-concussive syndrome.

The NIH reports that 6-25% of children and adolescents and 39.2% of adult survivors out of the estimated 6 million vehicle accidents in the U.S. each year end up developing PTSD.

The Lee Steinberg Law Firm Can Help

T-bone collisions are frightening. Often, they can be life changing incidents. This is a situation where you need a skilled, experienced lawyer. It could be a turning point in your life where you’ll regret it later if you don’t handle it correctly and seek the maximum compensation possible.

The Steinberg Law Firm has resolved thousands of car and truck injury cases. Vehicle safety has advanced, but the primary cause of car accidents, including the dangerous T-Bone collision, is still operator error. Our expert Michigan T-Bone accident attorneys are familiar with the causes of these types of accidents and the insurance companies frequently involved.

Our job is to maximize your recovery in every circumstance. We will do what it takes to get your auto accident case resolved via settlement, mediation or trial for the maximum amount allowed under Michigan law.

Talk to the Lee Steinberg Law Firm about obtaining Michigan no-fault benefits, getting help filing a car accident claim, and seeking the full and fair compensation you deserve under the law. No matter how difficult your case is, we’ll work aggressively to get the best possible result.

Result: Settlement for T-Bone Accident: 1,000,000

A Shiawassee County man was operating a sedan when he was hit crossing an intersection by another vehicle that failed to see him. The collision was horrific, and our client’s car was totaled. The “jaws of life” were used to extract him from the wreck. Our law office retained an accident reconstruction expert to investigate and explain why the other vehicle was at-fault for causing the accident. A trucking expert was also retained. After an intensive period of discovery, the defendant had no ability to dispute liability and was forced to accept blame.

Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.

And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.