What is a T-Bone Accident? Who Is at Fault in a T-Bone Collision?

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

May 11, 2023

Experienced Colorado Springs Car Accident Law Firm


A t-bone collision is a kind of automotive accident named after the T shape generated when the front of one car collides with the side of another car at the moment of contact.

They may happen in several scenarios, such as when a motorist disregards a stop sign and fails to yield to another car or when a driver runs a red light and fails to yield to another driver. A T-bone collision is also often caused by poor judgement on a green signal while making a left turn.

T-bone accidents may happen on the highway when one motorist loses control and swerves to the side or in parking lots when one driver reverses out of a parking slot and is hit from the side by another oncoming car.


There is a style of side-impact car accident scenario on TV and in the movies that has grown popular. It’s the one where the camera is focused on the driver from the perspective of a passenger in the front seat of an car.

Another car suddenly speeds up toward the driver’s side of the car and the camera, colliding with the side of the car in a shattering collision. As frequent as it has become on television, this kind of scenario never fails to shock and alarm.

Most individuals are lucky enough to simply think how a side-impact accident might feel in real life. Those who have experienced a genuine T-bone, also known as a side impact or angular collision, know that the on-screen version pales compared to the true brutality and misery.

These are among the deadliest and most devasting of all road collisions. Nearly a quarter of all car occupant fatalities, including drivers and passengers, are caused by side-impact accidents.

According to the Colorado Department of Highway Safety and Motor Cars, junction crashes account for the great majority of all T-boned accidents, killing hundreds of Floridians and injuring tens of thousands more each year.

In this blog article, we’ll look at who is to blame for a T-bone car collision. As you would expect, the answer is contingent on the specific circumstances of each accident. Many


reasons cause Side-impact crashes and t-bone collisions, and each of those elements might lead to various parties being at responsibility.

Speak with an expert car accident lawyer in Colorado to discover more about your legal rights after a T-bone collision. For a free consultation, contact Warrior Car Accident Lawyers, personal injury litigation practice.


A T-bone collision is so-called because the two cars colliding would form the letter T if seen from above. To put it another way, the front of one car collides with the side of the other.

T-bone car accidents, as previously mentioned, occur most frequently at intersections where lanes of traffic intersect at a right angle, such as four-way intersections or the ends of arterial roads where they connect to thoroughfares. They frequently involve making a left turn or running a red light, and they are also common in parking lots.

The driver and occupants of the car impacted on its side suffer the most damage and T- bone accident injuries in typical T-bone car accidents. Seat belts, airbags, and crumple zones are typical safety elements in all cars that protect against injuries in a front-end collision.

This is not often the case for passengers in a car that has been hit on its side, whose seat belts and airbags are less effective in protecting them from a jarring collision against a side panel that is just a few inches wide.

Traumatic brain damage, neck injury, spinal cord injury, crushed and severed limbs, head injuries, and serious orthopedic and internal traumas are prevalent in T-bone accidents. The majority of these injuries are fatal, resulting in wrongful death.

Survivors of a T-bone crash are typically left with long-term physical and mental scars, not to mention the significant financial responsibilities that an unanticipated, catastrophic injury may have on a victim and their family.


T-bone car accident injuries may result in many problems that can turn a person’s life upside down. Medical expenditures are the most evident of these injuries, and they are often the most costly.

Even those with strong health insurance and emergency funds may find it difficult to deal with the onslaught of expenses that may quickly sink them into debt.


T-bone collisions that result in catastrophic injuries may take a long time to treat and recover from, resulting in a significant loss of earnings that is badly required to pay additional losses.

It is very uncommon for individuals to lose their employment entirely due to the consequences of a serious car accident injury, which may compel them to give up their whole careers.

Non-economic damages such as pain and suffering or mental anguish might result from T- bone collision injuries owing to the stress that such a violent occurrence can create.


T-bone accident victims often want to be compensated for their injuries and losses. This isn’t out of the ordinary. After suffering an injury at the hands of another, our civil legal system exists in great part to make aggrieved parties whole via monetary damages. Depending on the facts of the case, this compensation may take the shape of a T-bone car accident settlement or litigation.

However, as any owner of a car or truck registered in Colorado is undoubtedly aware, Colorado adheres to the no-fault insurance statute. According to the requirements of this legislation, all registered motor car owners are required to have no-fault auto insurance, which includes obligatory medical payments coverage (MedPay).

Before seeking reimbursement from any third parties, anybody who is wounded or suffers property damage in a Colorado car accident must first turn to their no-fault insurance or the no-fault insurance of the car’s owner in which they were a passenger. No-fault insurance is the most common kind of insurance used to cover the costs of medical treatment and bills incurred as a result of the accident and a share of the injured person’s lost earnings if applicable.

According to Colorado law, a person injured in a car accident can only seek compensation from the other driver if the cost of their injuries exceeds their PIP coverage and if their injuries were catastrophic, that is, life-threatening, disfiguring, leading to long-term disability, or fatal, such as wrongful death.

The right of a T-bone car accident victim to seek compensation from other, non-driver parties who may have caused the accident is unaffected by the no-fault statute.


In a T-Bone Car Accident, four parties might be at fault.


With that caveat out of the way, let’s look at who could be at blame in a T-bone car collision that happens at a conventional four-way-stop intersection in terms of legal culpability. It could surprise you how many people might be held responsible.


Let’s start with the obvious assumption that at least one of the cars’ drivers will be held responsible for the accident in a T-bone collision. At the same moment, traffic should not cross a crossroads at right angles, which implies one of the two drivers should not have entered the crossing. What may induce a car to make a wrong turn at an intersection? Here are some of the most prevalent factors, many of which often occur in tandem:

Speeding: Speeding drivers risk not stopping in time to avoid approaching the junction and creating a T-bone accident. When a motorist speeds up instead of slowing down to try to beat a signal or slip through an intersection just ahead of crossing traffic, he or she is putting himself at risk.

Inattention or Distraction: When a car is at an intersection when it is not their turn, one of the most prevalent causes of t-bone accidents is inattention or distraction. When car and truck drivers refuse to obey stop signs, traffic signals, or red lights, this occurs.

The most typical cause is inattention and distraction on the part of the driver. Intersections are one of the most visually and intellectually complicated driving situations that drivers are likely to experience while on the road, despite how often they are.

To safely navigate an intersection, a driver must slow down when necessary, maneuver their car into a position appropriate for where they intend to go, signal if necessary, observe and quickly analyze the behavior of the cars, cyclists, and pedestrians in the intersection, and make an informed decision about when and how to enter and cross the intersection.

Motorist should not allow their thoughts to wander or get distracted by anything within their car while driving through an intersection. T-bone car accidents are a regular and foreseeable outcome when this occurs.

Impaired driving may result in T-bone crashes at junctions due to the effects of alcohol, drugs, or weariness. Drivers who are inebriated make terrible judgements. They have difficulty recognizing and comprehending dangers.

They have a greater probability of disobeying stop signs. They make reckless, risky judgments that might result in their car colliding with oncoming cars.


Of course, these are just a few of the circumstances that might lead to a motorist making a bad judgement at an intersection, resulting in a T-bone collision. They do, however, show how many different reasons there may be for why someone drove into an intersection and caused an accident.

Others who are legally liable for the actions of the other driver

A driver’s bad judgement at an intersection, which results in a T-bone car collision, is sometimes the consequence of a situation beyond that driver’s control. We all know it’s against the law to drive when inebriated, for example.

But what if the other motorist was issued a new prescription but was not cautioned about the risks of driving while adjusting to the drug?

What if the other driver was operating a business car even though his employer was aware of his poor driving record?

The other driver was a 15-year-old riding shotgun in his parents’ car while they were on vacation and didn’t have their consent.

An expert car accident lawyer understands to go beyond the other driver’s conduct to see whether another person shares blame for a T-bone car accident by failing to take the required precautions that may have averted it.


We all have a gut feeling that some crossroads are riskier than others. This isn’t based only on intuition. Researchers can easily identify locations where accidents occur more often than they should by examining traffic and accident data.

On the other hand, the more challenging issue is determining exactly what makes a junction unsafe, as well as who might have, and arguably should have, taken action to mitigate the risks and hazards.

The following are some of the characteristics of crossroads that road engineers and designers may influence and which can contribute to an intersection’s excessively high risk of T-bone car accidents:

Signage/signaling that isn’t proper. Have you ever wondered how someone selects which intersections are two-way and four-way, or where a stop sign should be placed instead of a traffic light? These are factors that anybody planning a new road or improving an old junction must think about and evaluate.

The more traffic projected to move through a junction, the more robust the signals should be in general. Engineers can make the incorrect judgement, causing cars


approaching the junction to fail to recognize and react correctly to the hazard posed by crossing traffic, causing them to run a red light or make a wrong left turn.

There are poor sightlines. Designing a junction at the top of a blind hill or on the opposite side of a blind curve is unsafe. Coming up to a junction, drivers should be able to view and evaluate incoming traffic.

On the other hand, engineers sometimes make bad decisions on where to site an intersection, resulting in a point of conflict between crossing traffic, increasing the risk that a car or truck would approach the intersection by mistake, resulting in a T-bone accident.

The layout is perplexing. Drivers should figure out where they are allowed to drive through and/or turn at a junction quickly and without expending a lot of mental energy. Confusion over traffic patterns, of course, may lead to cars making errors and entering junctions when they shouldn’t.

Drivers should never assume that a well-designed junction exists by default. Every crossroads is a potentially hazardous conflict point that needs a driver’s complete and undivided attention to properly traverse.


What if you pressed on the brakes as you approached an intersection, and nothing happened? What if you started driving through an intersection and your car came to a complete stop? If a T-bone accident occurs after a mechanical breakdown, the car’s manufacturer or components may be held liable for manufacturing and marketing a faulty part.

Unlike other forms of personal injury-related legal claims, showing that a faulty item caused an accident usually leads to strict responsibility for the manufacturer, which means that merely proving that they supplied a defective car or component is enough to establish their guilt.

Of course, determining exactly how and why a component failed and demonstrating that the failure caused the disaster is fraught with difficulties. An expert T-bone car accident lawyer can assist you in determining if a faulty item caused your collision.



T-bone car accident victims are not expected to determine who is at blame on their own. An expert Colorado car accident attorney can handle the complicated process of


researching, finding, and pursuing legal claims against parties who cause a side-impact collision or t-bone collision. The goal of the car accident attorney is to:

identify every party with potential legal liability for a T-bone car accident;

investigate which of those parties has the financial resources to pay damages, either through insurance or assets;

contact and hopefully negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement with each of those parties; and

if necessary, take legal action against those parties to hold them accountable.

As the previous description of Colorado no-fault car insurance illustrates, this is not always a simple procedure. T-bone car accident victims should seek the advice of an experienced attorney who has represented hundreds of clients in similar situations and has a track record of success in obtaining compensation for T-bone car accident victims. The greatest method to offer yourself the best opportunity and the highest potential of collecting maximum damages for your T-bone car accident injuries is to have skilled legal counsel on your side.

If you have legal issues, contact an experienced Colorado car accident attorney right now.

Warrior Car Accident Lawyers

1902 W. Colorado Ave., Suite 100

Colorado Springs, CO 80904


Free Consultation


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