Surviving the Trauma of a T-Bone Truck Accident
T-bone accidents are some of the scariest accidents on the road. T-bone truck crashes can be devastating. These accidents, also known as broadside accidents and side-impact accidents result when one driver collides head-on into the side of another vehicle. While advances in vehicle design have increased the level of protection on the sides of vehicles, compared to the front and back of the vehicle, the sides are extremely vulnerable to damage. Because of this, these types of accidents often involve serious injuries or death. When this happens, you need an experienced truck accident attorney to fight for your rights.
Where Do T-bone Accidents Occur?
An accident can happen when you least expect it. This is most often the case with side-impact collisions. We’ve heard countless times that the other vehicle just “came out of nowhere.” But large trucks don’t just “come out of nowhere.” Accidents happen as a result of someone’s actions.
So why does it feel like the vehicle came out of nowhere? In most cases, the other driver’s actions took us by surprise. They made an unexpected move or were hidden from view. For T-bone collisions, some locations see more accidents than others. Knowing where these accidents are most likely to happen can help you be aware of the dangers and take extra precautions to stay safe.
- Stop signs: Stop signs are generally used in areas with low to moderate traffic. Sometimes, a stop sign may be at the intersection of a high-volume street and a lower volume street. In 2017 there were 57 fatalities in Florida when a driver ran a stop sign. A truck driver may run a stop sign if they don’t see it, if they are in a rush, or if they are driving under the influence.
- Stoplights: Stoplights direct high-volume intersections. They are usually placed in non-residential areas and typically control traffic exceeding 25 miles per hour. T-bone accidents happen when one driver fails to obey the traffic signal. In 2017, there were 88 deaths in Florida caused by a driver running a red light.
- Uncontrolled intersections: Uncontrolled intersections have no stop signs and no stoplights. They are generally in low traffic areas. Because there are no traffic devices, drivers must yield the right of way to the car that was there first. However, many accidents happen because a driver fails to yield the right of way or because a driver wrongly assumes the other driver’s actions.
- Driveways: Both residential driveways and commercial driveways are vulnerable to T-bone collisions. When a driver leaves a driveway they must merge into oncoming traffic. This can be an issue on busy roadways or when the driver can not see around another object. Cars or large trucks parked on the side of the road or large landscaping can inhibit a driver’s ability to see oncoming traffic.
What Causes These Accidents?
Every year the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles releases a crash facts report. This report provides information on when accidents happen, where they happen, and why they happen. In one year, 402,385 accidents resulted in 254,310 injuries and 3,116 fatalities. Of these fatalities, 871 took place at an intersection. That’s nearly 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in Florida. But why do these accidents happen?
- Distracted driving: It only takes a few seconds of distraction to cause an accident. When a driver looks down to check their phone or adjust the radio, they may not notice an upcoming intersection.
- Driving under the influence: Driving under the influence affects your ability to make good decisions. It impairs your ability to focus, analyze a situation, and respond in the event of an emergency. A drunk driver may not see traffic controls as they pass through an intersection or they may disregard traffic devices for a variety of reasons.
- Poor visibility: Not all accidents are a result of a driver’s negligence. Poor visibility can interfere with a driver’s ability to drive safely. Heavy rain can make it difficult to see, causing a driver to turn in front of oncoming traffic. Stop sign visibility is another factor. When a stop sign is blocked, damaged, or otherwise hidden from view, a driver may not be aware of an upcoming intersection.
- Failure to yield: Drivers depend on various factors to make decisions on the road. They follow traffic signs, read road markings, and obey traffic laws. But drivers rely heavily on being able to anticipate the actions of other drivers. There are many situations where a driver is expected to yield the right of way. This includes at intersections, at driveways, while merging, and while crossing traffic. When a driver fails to yield, an unsuspecting driver may crash right into them.
- Speeding: When making a left turn across traffic, a driver has to use their personal judgment on whether they have enough time to cross. If the other driver is speeding, the turning driver may not accurately gauge how much time they have.
- Look both ways: For most drivers, there’s a general assumption that other drivers will obey traffic laws. Specifically, we count on other drivers to stop at stop signs and signals. However, every day, drivers blow through intersections without so much as a second thought. Sometimes they are lucky, other times they cause an accident. This is why it is always important to look both ways before proceeding through an intersection, even when you have the right of way, and even when you have a green light.
- Avoid left turns: The reason left turns are so dangerous is because they involve turning in front of oncoming traffic. If you are leaving a driveway, this may involve crossing a minimum of two lanes of traffic. Turns at intersections that do not have a signaling device or require a left turn on a solid green or flashing yellow carry a high risk of collision. If possible, use a route that involves fewer unprotected left turns.
- Allow yourself enough time: Accidents can happen when we are in a rush. When you are in a hurry you may feel rushed to turn across traffic when there is not enough time. Leaving early and allowing yourself enough time will prevent you from rushing and make it easier to wait for traffic to pass.
- Slow down at intersections: While traffic controls alert drivers to stop and look both ways, uncontrolled intersections rely on drivers to slow down and proceed with caution. When you approach an uncontrolled intersection, It is always good practice to slow down and scan the intersection before proceeding.
- Increase your following distance behind large trucks: Anyone who has driven behind a large truck knows that it can be difficult to see ahead of the truck. It can also make it difficult to see the actions of nearby drivers. This is particularly true at intersections. When you follow too close you may not be able to see the traffic signal. If the truck enters the intersection at a yellow light, you may not realize that you are running a red light. If oncoming traffic is not paying attention, you may cause an accident.
A T-bone accident involves two vehicles. One that is struck and one that does the striking. The type of injuries you sustain will depend on which vehicle you are. Both scenarios are equally as dangerous. When a passenger vehicle is struck by a large truck, there is very little protection between the occupants and the truck. And while a passenger vehicle is designed to crumple and withstand a front end collision, driving into the side of a truck can cause the vehicle to become dragged under the truck’s trailer, often causing catastrophic injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Lacerations: A collision with a large truck will almost surely cause lacerations. Flying debris, including glass, sharp objects, and other hazards can cut and scrape the skin. Severe lacerations may cause intense pain, and in some cases, may require surgery. If the injury involves muscle or nerve damage, the victim may require physical therapy or other treatment.
- Broken bones: Broken bones may seem like minor injuries, but they can lead to long-term pain and mobility issues. Depending on the type of fracture, a broken bone may never completely heal. Serious breaks can require multiple surgeries and physical therapy to help alleviate the pain and regain movement.
- Traumatic brain injury: Any injury involving the brain is serious. A traumatic brain injury is the result of direct trauma to the brain. This usually comes in the form of a blow to the head or a penetrating wound. For car accidents, this can be as simple as hitting your head on the steering wheel. Brain injuries can be unpredictable and lead to a wide range of symptoms. This can include headaches, memory issues, speech issues, or a persistent vegetative state.
- Spinal cord injury: According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, 17,000 new spinal cord injuries happen each year. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord sends and receives messages from the brain. When a spinal cord injury occurs, the spinal cord can no longer do its job. This most often results in paralysis below the point of injury. While many people assume that paralysis is the result of a severed cord, this isn’t usually the case. Most spinal cord injuries are the result of a contusion, bruising, or loss of blood flow.
- PTSD: The brain responds to trauma in different ways. It’s normal to experience a wide array of emotions after an accident. These feelings usually go away in time. If you experience extreme anxiety and fear that won’t go away, you may be suffering from PTSD. People who have PTSD have difficulty moving on from the trauma. They may relive the accident, have flashbacks, or nightmares. Cognitive therapy and medication are often used to help treat PTSD.
Extra Steps You Can Take to Stay Safe
Not all accidents are avoidable. However, there are steps that you can take to protect yourself in the event of an accident.
- Buckle up: According to the CDC, wearing your seatbelt can decrease your risk of serious injury or death by up to 50 percent. In Florida, the compliance rate with seat belt laws is 87 percent. While this is just higher than the national average, it is still not enough. It’s important to buckle up every time you get in the car, no matter how far you plan on driving. Thousands of accidents happen every year within miles of the driver’s home.
- Check your vehicle’s safety rating: Manufacturers test their cars to determine how they would hold up in the event of an accident. Cars are rated on their crashworthiness for front impact, rear impact, and side-impact collisions. Checking your vehicle’s safety rating is easy. Simply go to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website and type in your car’s information. While it may not be feasible to buy a new car at the moment, knowing how to check a car’s safety rating can help you make informed choices in the future.
The Value of Bringing on an Experienced Attorney
After an accident, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Confusion, frustration, and anger are all natural feelings. Serious injuries can make dealing with these emotions difficult. On top of coping with your emotions, you are now faced with the costs of your treatment. These costs can add up fast and interfere with your ability to focus on your recovery. In Florida, victims of accidents have the right to pursue legal compensation for their injuries. A personal injury claim can help you pay for your care and help you plan for the future. There’s no reason to take on the burden of these costs alone. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact an experienced truck accident lawyer for more information about your rights.