A T-bone, or right-angle, car accident occurs when a vehicle runs headlong into the side of another. T-bone accidents can cause serious injury because the sides of vehicles provide less “crumple room” protection than the front or rear of a vehicle does. A person sitting on the side of the vehicle hit in a T-bone collision may suffer such impact injuries as broken bones (particularly broken arms, hips and legs), internal organ damage and head injuries.
If you have suffered serious injuries in a right-angle / T-bone collision in South Carolina, the person responsible for your injuries should pay the costs and losses they cause you. For help obtaining the compensation you deserve, call Joye Law Firm today or fill out our online form.
Our South Carolina personal injury lawyers represent clients in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Florence, Richland County, Orangeburg, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Summerville and the Horry County communities of Conway and Myrtle Beach. Let us put our experience to work for you.
What is a T-Bone Accident and How Do It Happen?
T-bone accidents are also known as “intersection accidents,” because that is where they are likely to occur. Collisions happen when drivers attempt to turn left across one or more lanes of oncoming traffic or try to cross two directions of traffic to travel through an intersection.
Typically, an intersection accident occurs because one vehicle has violated another vehicle’s right of way. A driver pulls into traffic and either hits a passing vehicle or is broadsided by another car.
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says 96 percent of intersection accidents are caused by driver error.
The most common errors are:
- Not adequately looking before turning
- Incorrectly assuming another driver’s action or intention
- Turning with an obstructed view
- Illegal maneuvers (e.g., running a red light or stop sign, illegal passing, etc.)
- Distracted driving (i.e., internal distraction or inattention)
- Misjudging the speed of an oncoming vehicle and/or the distance between vehicles.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 25 percent of deaths in passenger vehicle accidents occur in side-impact, or T-bone, crashes.
Dangerous Intersections in South Carolina
The South Carolina Department of Public Safety compiles car accident data, which several news organizations have examined in recent years to identify the most dangerous intersections in South Carolina.
Using data from 2011 to 2015, The Post and Courier in Charleston identified the two most dangerous intersection in South Carolina as:
- Interstate 20 and U.S. 176 in Columbia with 669 accidents
- I-26 and Ashley Phosphate Road in North Charleston with 629 accidents.
While crash totals may fluctuate year to year, unless an intersection is redesigned (an expensive undertaking) it can be assumed that once an intersection makes such a list it remains dangerous.
- Assembly Street and Elmwood Avenue
- Taylor Street (S.C. 12) and Huger Street where the highway splits into two one-way streets – Hampton and Taylor streets
- Devine Street at Garners Ferry Road and Rosewood Drive
- Main Street and Elmwood Avenue
- Gervais Street and Huger Street
Richland County (Columbia)
- Broad River Road and I-20
- I-20 and I-26 interchange, known as “Malfunction Junction” and set to be redesigned over the next several years.
- Broad River Road and I-26
- Killian Road and I-77
- Two Notch Road and Sparkleberry Lane
- I-26 and Ashley Phosphate Road
- I-26 and I-526
- Rivers Avenue and Otranto Road
- Rivers and Ashley Phosphate
- Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and S.C. 61
Dorchester County (Saint George)
- Dorchester Road and Ladson Road
- Dorchester Road and Trolley Road
- Dorchester Road and Bacons Bridge Road
- North Main Street and U.S. 78
- Berlin Myers Parkway and U.S. 78
Horry County (Myrtle Beach)
- S. 501 and S.C. 544 (Corp. Dennis Lyden Memorial Highway)
- S. 17 and S.C. 544
- S. 501 and Gardner Lacy Road
- S. 501 and Carolina Forest Boulevard
- C. 9 (E. Main Street) and S.C. 57 (Lockemy Highway)
Determining Fault in a T-Bone Accident in South Carolina
If the other driver in a T-bone accident that left you injured committed an error that led to the collision, you may be able to make a case that the other driver is responsible for your injuries and losses and should compensate you.
Evidence that may be used to demonstrate fault in a car crash includes police reports and any criminal charges, as well as statements by witnesses, including passengers in either car, other cars or bystanders.
Other potential sources of evidence, which may indicate what the other driver was doing when a crash occurred, include:
- Security cameras at nearby stores or ATMs, which may have recorded the crash
- Electronic data recorder (EDR or “black box”) information, which records a vehicle’s speed, acceleration, braking, trajectory, etc., just before a collision
- Cellphone records, including text messages, which may indicate distracted driving
- Social media posts, in which negligent drivers may incriminate themselves
- Debit or credit card records, which may indicate recent alcohol purchases (and probable consumption)
- Accident reconstruction by forensic experts, which explain how and why an accident happened
Once we collect evidence to demonstrate the other driver’s responsibility for the T-bone crash that left you injured and we have calculated the full extent of your losses, we can proceed to negotiate with the insurance company to obtain appropriate compensation for you.
What Settlement Can I Expect from a T-Bone Car Accident?
Every car accident claim is different, so it is not appropriate to suggest what a proper settlement for you might be. Under South Carolina law, you are entitled to recover financial compensation for the full extent of your “damages,” which includes economic costs and losses and any non-economic harm that you have suffered.
A car accident claim in South Carolina may “demand” compensation for:
- Doctor and hospital bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Scars and permanent disabilities
- Vehicle damage
- Lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Funeral and burial expenses in wrongful death.
Under certain circumstances, a claim in South Carolina may also seek “punitive damages,” which is additional compensation awarded to punish intentional or extreme misbehavior, such as a drunk driving accident caused by a repeat offender.
The Impact of ‘Comparative Fault’ in S.C. T-Bone Accident Claims
In personal injury claims, the State of South Carolina abides by a doctrine known as “comparative fault” or “contribution among tortfeasors.” In short, if two or more parties share fault for an accident, the amount of compensation either party may obtain through a claim is affected by what percentage of blame for the accident a court of law assigns to them.
For example, in a claim for $100,000 in damages, if you were found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident – you were speeding a little when broadsided by a car that ran a red light, let’s say – the most you could recover would be $80,000.
Further, if you are found to be 51 percent (or more) at fault for an accident, you cannot recover any compensation under South Carolina’s rules.
What makes this an incredibly important issue is that, in any South Carolina car accident case, the opposing insurance company will try to pin as much blame on the plaintiff (the victim) as possible. Regardless of what’s fair, insurers and their attorneys have a financial duty to the company to work to reduce the amount paid out for a claim. Establishing the possibility that you, too, were negligent and responsible for a T-bone car accident could save an insurance company several thousand dollars.
Contact an Experienced South Carolina T-Bone Car Accident Attorney
To obtain the compensation you deserve after being injured in a T-bone collision, you need an experienced car accident attorney by your side. Our South Carolina personal injury lawyers can work to establish how the accident happened and what you are owed for your economic and non-economic losses, and work aggressively to obtain it or you. We can also mitigate the impact of any evidence that could be used against you and protect you from illegitimate blame in a T-bone accident.
Since 1968, the South Carolina car accident lawyers at Joye Law Firm have successfully pursued claims for individuals and families whose lives have been disrupted by automobile accidents. We are compassionate attorneys who bring nearly 250 years of combined experience to each injury claim we handle. We take cases from Charleston, Columbia, Clinton, Myrtle Beach and throughout the Palmetto State, and we can help you, too.