Automobile collisions can take many forms, but one of the most dangerous is the T-bone accident. This type of accident, also known as a side-impact or broadside collision, occurs when the front of one vehicle collides with the side of another.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), side-impact accidents were responsible for nearly a quarter of all vehicle occupant fatalities in 2020. This article will explore the common causes of T-bone accidents and discuss how liability is established under Georgia law.
What Causes T-Bone Accidents?
T-bone accidents typically occur when one driver fails to yield the right-of-way to another, resulting in the front of their vehicle colliding with the side of the other vehicle. These accidents are most common at intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs.
Several factors can contribute to a driver causing a T-bone accident. These include:
- Texting while driving: This distraction can cause a driver to miss important signals or fail to notice other vehicles.
- Eating or drinking while driving: Similar to texting, these activities can distract a driver and lead to accidents.
- Driving while fatigued: Fatigue can slow reaction times and impair judgment, increasing the risk of accidents.
- Using a GPS or smartphone map: Drivers who are more focused on their navigation system than the road can easily cause accidents.
- Driving under the influence: Alcohol and drugs can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely.
- Reckless driving: Behaviors like speeding or running red lights can lead to serious accidents, including T-bone collisions.
- Icy roads: Slippery conditions can make it difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, leading to potential T-bone accidents.
Determining the cause of a T-bone accident is crucial, as it can help establish whether negligence or carelessness played a role.
How Is Fault Determined in Georgia?
Negligence is the primary legal principle upon which most personal injury claims are built. To recover compensation, the plaintiff must prove the following elements.
- Duty: This refers to the responsibility we all have to act reasonably to protect ourselves and others.
- Breach: This occurs when the defendant’s actions fall below the duty of care.
- Causation: This element connects the breach to the injury. The phrase “But for” is often used to show that the plaintiff would not have been injured had the defendant not breached their duty.
- Damages: These refer to the harm suffered by the plaintiff. This can include physical injuries, emotional distress, medical bills, and lost wages.
Your Atlanta car accident lawyer will police report and other evidence to show that the other driver was careless or reckless and this negligence caused the accident.
How Comparative Negligence Works
The Modified Comparative Fault Rule is a key legal doctrine in Georgia that plays a significant role in determining liability in traffic accidents. This rule is grounded in the concept of comparative negligence, which assigns a specific percentage of fault to each driver involved in an accident.
Under Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33), if you are injured in an accident, any damages you are awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault you contributed to the accident, up to 50%. This means that if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for an accident, you are not eligible to receive any compensation for your injuries or damages.
However, if you are less than 50% at fault, your damage award would be reduced by your percentage of fault.
Impact on Settlement Negotiations
Georgia’s comparative negligence law often comes into play during negotiations between lawyers and adjusters when determining the appropriate settlement amount in personal injury cases. Insurance companies will do everything possible to minimize your compensation, so you need an experienced attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
Call Our Atlanta Car Accident Lawyers Today!
Understanding the causes of T-bone accidents and the process of determining fault in Georgia is essential for anyone involved in such an accident. It’s always advisable to seek legal counsel. An Atlanta car accident lawyer will navigate the complexities of the law and ensure your rights are protected.