Los Angeles T-Bone Accident Lawyer
Motor vehicle collisions occur much more frequently than they should in and around Los Angeles, from fender benders in traffic to severe crashes that occur on freeways and in intersections. T-bone accidents, which are also known as side-impact collisions, are among the deadliest types of crashes, particularly for vehicle occupants on the side of the immediate impact. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 8,000 fatal injuries occur every year in side-impact crashes, with many of those occurring at traffic-light and stop-sign intersections. Tens of thousands of other people suffer painful, non-fatal injuries. If you were injured in a side-impact crash, an experienced Los Angeles car accident attorney at our firm can help you to seek financial compensation for your losses.
What is a T-Bone Accident in Los Angeles?
A T-bone accident, or a side-impact collision, is a type of crash that gets its name because of the “T” shape created when one vehicle, head-on, strikes the side of another motor vehicle. These crashes often occur at four-way intersections when one vehicle runs a red light or a stop sign and collides into the side of a vehicle crossing perpendicularly.
These accidents can lead to serious injuries. In many ways, cars are designed to be struck either head-on or in the rear, not at the side. Very few cars have side airbags, so there is no cushion for a passenger. Side-impact crashes can twist a person around so that they strike the inside of the car or smash their head against another passenger, who is also twisting around. T-bone crashes cause some common injuries, such as neck fractures, whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, and broken arms and legs.
How Do You Determine Fault in a T-Bone Accident?
This type of collision is a little different from others because it is not always apparent who is at fault, especially when the accident happens in a four-way intersection. Although you might automatically assume that the vehicle which rammed the side of the second car is at fault, that’s not always true. Instead, we need to carefully analyze the facts. Consider the following scenarios:
- Car 2 has a green light and is working its way through the intersection when Car 1 suddenly appears in front of it because the driver ran a red light. Car 2 slams into the side of Car 1. Here, although Car 2 struck Car 1, the accident was the fault of the driver of Car 1, who ran the red light.
- Car 1 is waiting in an intersection to make a left-hand turn when Car 2 runs a red light and slams into the side of Car 1. In this example, the driver of Car 2 is to blame because the driver broke the law when failing to stop at the red light.
Although these two accidents appear similar, a different driver is at fault for each. For this reason, our attorneys carefully pore over all relevant information to better understand how the accident occurred. Remember, a motorist will only owe you compensation if they are at least partially at fault for the collision—otherwise, they will not owe a dime. For this reason, we consider establishing fault to be one of the most important tasks as your attorney.
Steps to Take After a Los Angeles T-Bone Collision
What should you do after a T-bone accident to preserve your right to financial compensation? If you are able to do so, consider taking the following steps to prepare for an auto insurance claim or a motor vehicle accident lawsuit:
- Document the scene with photographs, including photographs taken from long distances that show the entire scene of the collision, as well as close-up images that depict property damage, physical injuries;
- Identify witnesses and gather contact information for any witnesses who saw the collision or its aftermath;
- Obtain contact information, as well as insurance information, from anyone involved in the collision;
- Seek medical attention as quickly as possible given that some types of injuries, including internal bleeding in some cases, may not produce immediate signs or symptoms but do require immediate medical attention;
- Report the accident to your auto insurer as soon as possible, but when you do, be sure that you provide the insurance company only with the factual information requested since the insurance company will want to avoid paying out a claim if it can do so and may use your words against you; and
- Seek assistance from a T-bone accident lawyer in Los Angeles who can assist you with insurance negotiations, identifying the liable party or parties, and filing a car accident lawsuit to seek financial compensation for your losses.
Auto Insurance Claims Versus Car Accident Lawsuits After T-Bone Crashes
Many T-bone accident claims in Southern California will begin with an auto insurance claim. You should work with your T-bone accident lawyer to determine whether it makes sense for you to file a third-party claim through the at-fault driver’s auto insurance or a first-party claim through your own auto insurer. There are pros and cons to each approach. Either way, your attorney can help to negotiate with the auto insurer for a reasonable settlement offer.
When your losses exceed what the other driver has in insurance, you might file a claim under your underinsured motorist policy. These claims can be quite complicated because insurers are not eager to pay out compensation, even if you have been paying the premiums each month for coverage.
When you cannot obtain adequate compensation through an auto insurance claim, the next step is usually to file a civil lawsuit against the party responsible for the T-bone accident. You would benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer who understands the intricacies of litigation. Pursuing justice through the court system is very different from negotiating a settlement, and an experienced litigator knows how to use the legal process to his client’s advantage.
Timeline for Filing a T-Bone Accident Lawsuit in Los Angeles, California
How much time do you have to file a T-bone accident lawsuit? In most situations, California law gives injury victims two years from the date of the motor vehicle collision to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. The clock on the statute of limitations will begin to tick on the date of the T-bone accident, and from that point, you will have two years to file a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit before two years pass, you will not be able to seek compensation by filing a civil lawsuit.
Two years can pass very quickly, especially if you are rehabbing serious injuries and struggling to get back to work. By hiring a seasoned T-bone accident lawyer in Los Angeles, you can ensure that you meet all court deadlines, which will protect your ability to obtain compensation if settlement negotiations go nowhere.
Seek Advice from Our Los Angeles T-Bone Accident Attorneys As Soon As Possible
Whether you are involved in a T-bone accident in Los Angeles at a red light or another type of intersection, it is critical to seek advice from an experienced and aggressive Los Angeles T-bone accident lawyer as soon as you can. You may be eligible to seek financial compensation by moving forward with an insurance claim and by filing a lawsuit against the party responsible for the collision.
Our firm can evaluate your case for you today and can help you to move forward. Contact Fisher & Talwar for more information about the services we provide to car accident victims in Southern California.