When one vehicle T-bones another, that means it crashes directly into the driver or passenger side of the impacted vehicle. T-bone accidents are especially devastating for everyone involved – they typically result in severe injuries and fatalities. If you were the victim of a T-bone accident in St. Louis, OnderLaw, LLC can help you secure the compensation you need to move forward.
In T-bone collisions, the resulting damages and injuries can be extreme. The impact can make the metal crumple and trap the occupants inside. Many injured victims need to get cut out of their car after a T-bone crash, because they can’t open the door. Some need ongoing medical treatment or suffer disabling injuries.
Medical bills are expensive and add up over time, and you could end up with substantial out-of-pocket costs. When that happens, you need a solution to your financial problems. That’s where the at-fault driver comes in. They should be held accountable for your injuries and pay for the expenses and losses you incurred, including your lost wages, emotional suffering, and more.
What Causes T-Bone Accidents?
Most T-bone accidents happen in intersections. One driver might run a red light or stop sign while rushing to work. Another might not yield the right of way to an oncoming car. There are various reasons T-bone crashes occur, but the most common is reckless driving.
Some of the most common causes of T-bone car accidents include:
- Running a red light or stop sign
- Failure to check for oncoming vehicles
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Driving too fast for weather or road conditions
- Distracted driving, such as texting
The force of a side-impact collision is enough to jolt your body and cause severe injuries to your head, neck, and back. Even if you’re wearing your seatbelt, you could hit your head against the window and suffer a concussion.
Victims of T-bone accidents typically suffer from the following injuries:
- Crush injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
- Loss of limb or amputation injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
What You Should Do After a T-Bone Accident
If you suffer an injury in a T-bone car crash and want to recover compensation from the at-fault driver, there are crucial steps you need to follow. You should never leave the scene of an accident before law enforcement arrives or throw away potential evidence. Other steps include:
- Call 911. An officer will investigate and write a traffic crash report. Once it becomes available, you can request it online from the Missouri State Highway Patrol office.
- Write down the other driver’s name, contact information, and auto insurance details. If there were more than two vehicles involved in the crash, get the contact information for all other drivers.
- Speak to witnesses who saw what happened. Get their names and phone numbers. They could provide a statement to the insurance company or during a lawsuit if necessary.
- Take photos of the accident scene. Pictures of debris, skid marks, car damage, and other evidence could become useful in proving the severity of the crash and who was at fault.
- Go to the hospital. Get an initial evaluation of your injuries and follow up with the doctors they refer you to. Show up regularly to your appointments until you recover, or your doctor places you at maximum medical improvement, or MMI.
- Maintain records of every document related to the crash, including prescriptions, medical records, car repair bills, etc.
- Hire a St. Louis T-bone accident attorney to help you with your case.
Besides following the steps above, there are specific things you should never do after getting hurt in a T-bone crash. The opposing parties don’t care about your well-being and want to avoid paying any compensation for your expenses. If you say or do the wrong thing, you could ruin your chance at winning the maximum financial award.
- DON’T admit to any degree of fault. Under Missouri’s pure comparative negligence rule, your maximum compensation depends on the percentage of blame you share.
- DON’T talk to the insurance company about the crash. Seek legal representation and let your St. Louis T-bone accident attorney handle all communication.
- DON’T agree to an insurance settlement before receiving your MMI rating. If you don’t fully recover, an MMI rating will help your doctor determine the type of treatment you’ll need in the future and the estimated costs.
- DON’T sign anything from the liability insurance carrier. If they send you authorization forms, such as a HIPAA form, don’t sign. We’ll submit all medical evidence when we send them our demand package.
How OnderLaw, LLC Will Help You
The legal steps involved in pursuing a personal injury claim in St. Louis are complex, and attorneys are able to use their resources and legal recourse to navigate the claims process and secure evidence that might otherwise be difficult to obtain. If you try to pursue your claim alone, chances are you won’t recover the compensation you deserve.
If you hire one of our St. Louis T-bone accident attorneys, we’ll take care of everything for you, including the following:
- Investigation: We’ll investigate the crash and collect evidence to determine who caused it. We might go to the accident scene to take pictures. We’ll track down eyewitnesses to get their statements. We’ll also request copies of repair estimates for all the vehicles involved. We’ll hire expert witnesses, when needed, such as medical experts and accident reconstruction experts, to help develop an airtight case.
- Forms: The insurance company will request that you fill out documents, such as HIPAA authorizations, lost wage reports, etc. Some forms aren’t a legal requirement, and you don’t have to complete them. We’ll review the documents from the insurance company to determine which ones you can ignore.
- Medical records: We’ll speak with your doctors and review their notes to ensure they specify the injury you sustained and that it happened because of the T-bone accident. If those details aren’t in your medical records, an insurance company might deny your claim.
- Settlement: We’ll negotiate with the insurance company for a full and fair settlement. The maximum settlement you can receive depends on the coverage listed on the at-fault driver’s liability policy.
- Lawsuit: If the insurance company denies your claim or provides a low settlement offer, we can file a lawsuit against them and the at-fault driver. Our trial lawyers have experience with court proceedings, and we’ll aggressively fight for the compensation you deserve.
Types of Damages
When you get hurt in a T-bone car accident, there are three types of damages you could pursue. The first two are available in an insurance claim and lawsuit. Both compensate you for your losses. They’re called economic damages and non-economic damages and include the following:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Car repair or replacement
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of companionship or affection
Punitive damages are only available in a lawsuit and don’t aim to compensate you for your medical treatment or other expenses. Instead, it’s a punishment against the liable party for their careless actions. Most juries will only award punitive damages to the victim if the at-fault individual’s actions were particularly negligent, egregious, or malicious.
Statute of Limitations
If you choose to file a lawsuit against the driver that caused your T-bone accident, you must follow a statute of limitations. Every state has statutes of limitations for injury cases. It’s a strict deadline for victims to bring civil action against another party.
The Missouri statute of limitations for car accidents is five years. That means you only have five years from the accident date to sue the at-fault driver. After five years pass, you could lose your right to compensation.
If the T-bone crash resulted in death, a surviving family member could file a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is three years. The clock would begin on the date the victim died.
How to Handle a T-Bone Accident With an Uninsured Driver
In Missouri, it’s illegal to drive without car insurance. If you operate a motor vehicle, you’re supposed to have a liability insurance policy with minimum limits for bodily injury and property damage. Those limits cover the damages for the injured victim.
Unfortunately, many people don’t obey the law. If the person who caused your accident doesn’t carry liability insurance, there are two options for seeking financial compensation: UM and PIP coverage.
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage provides compensation for an injured individual’s damages if the at-fault driver doesn’t hold liability insurance. It’s a requirement, by law, to carry this type of insurance on your own policy. UM can compensate you for the following:
- Medical treatment
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Personal injury protection (PIP) is an optional coverage on your auto insurance policy. If you opted for PIP, you could receive a percentage of the wages you were unable to earn and an upfront payment of your medical treatment. Like medical insurance, PIP will pay for your doctor bills directly, so you don’t have out-of-pocket costs.
Choose OnderLaw, LLC
Our St. Louis T-bone accident attorneys have experience handling cases like yours. We work efficiently to resolve all matters so our clients can move forward with their lives. Our dedicated legal team will fight tenaciously for justice and recover the compensation you deserve.
If you were the victim of a T-bone car crash and don’t know what to do next, you can schedule a free consultation with us. There’s no risk or obligation to discuss your case and receive legal advice. To meet with one of our St. Louis car accident attorneys, call (314) 963-9000 today.