Unfortunately, some drivers end up getting involved in an accident despite the level of effort they put to avoid these incidents. Any car accident brings along injuries and a heavy financial burden on the victims and their relatives. That's why you should seek professional legal intervention to get fair compensation. We at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney are ready to offer the best legal services to any accident victim living in Jacksonville, FL.
Accident Statistics in Florida
Under section 316.0055 of Florida Statutes, anyone can access Florida traffic crash reports on a fee. According to the reports of 2018, there has been a one percent decrease in accidents compared with 2017. The number fell from 402,489 accidents to 397,812 between the two years. This includes a reduction of fatalities from 3,114 to 3,004 and 254,300 injuries to 251,970.
When it comes to T- bone accidents, it represents 13 percent of all car accidents nationwide and 18 percent of fatal accidents. This means that 8,000 people die annually from a T-bone accident. It also counts as the deadliest accident that claims children fatality, with an increase from 31 percent to 51 percent due to heightened usage of SUV s and an increase in travel speed. This confirms the high fatality number and level of injuries that this kind of accident is responsible for.
Definition of a T-bone Accident
A T- bone accident, also known as broadside accident, is a collision that involves a car hitting the other on its side. The name comes from the inference of letter T following the collision. This sort of accident claims severe damage and injuries to the vehicle and occupants depending on the side of impact, speed of the vehicles, and vehicle weights.
When a vehicle is hit on its side, the point of impact absorbs kinetic energy from the collision. It might also absorb collision energy if the impact is not on the passenger's compartment. Both vehicles get turned from their original direction, and if the accident is severe, the impact might spin or rollover the vehicle that has been struck. Such a situation might cause the car to hit on another object, pedestrians, or create a multi-vehicle collision.
Occupants can get protected by the side impact airbags, but there are a few limitations for such if the wreck involves multiple collisions. The side-impact collision airbags can only protect the occupants in the first collision leaving them unprotected in the subsequent collisions. That's why these kinds of accidents are fatal and claim severe injuries to the victims.
Causes of a T- Bone Accident
The reality of broadside accidents is caused by negligence. These errors are a result of failing to comply with basic traffic rules which every driver should consider. Out of the driver's negligence, here are a couple of factors that lead to the T-bone accident.
Failing to Yield
When a vehicle fails to give the other person the right of way at a four-way stop or a stop sign stop, this can lead to a T-bone accident. According to the right-of-way rule, drivers should give the pedestrian the right to go first or another driver to go first. If the driver fails to yield to this rule, it might lead to an accident.
Failing to Stop
Every vehicle takes a specific period to stop after braking. Therefore, when it is on speed, it requires a longer distance to stop. However, as the vehicle approaches an intersection at high speed, its failure to stop might lead to a broadside collision with a car that might be passing through. The car with the right-of-way usually suffers victim during such incidences.
Running Red Lights
A driver might decide to run a red light while trying to beat it or if there is insufficient time to stop the vehicle. When such a situation happens, the driver might end up colliding with the car that has the right of way.
Improper Turning in a Left Turn
If a driver turns on a left turn without the right to do so, it can easily collide with the vehicle in the right of way. This is also common in U-turns where a car is supposed to give right-of-way to other vehicles.
When drivers are distracted onto something else while behind the wheel, this might result in an accident. Some of the things that cause a distraction to the driver include grooming, conversing with the passenger, texting, answering a phone call, and eating.
Driving under the influence of an intoxicant has a significant effect on the judgment of a driver. Most drunk drivers underestimate the distance in an intersection, fail to notice a red light or fail to give way to other vehicles leading to an accident.
Driving in a Poor Weather
Poor weather conditions such as fog, snow, and heavy rainfall lead to poor visibility and slippery roads. Therefore, a vehicle might fail to break at an intersection, causing a T-bone accident with the opposite car.
It is hard to notice other vehicle hazard lights at night. Also, it can be hard to see faulty red lights and end up running through them. Such situations are rare but can also cause a broadside collision.
Inexperienced drivers, such as teenagers, might easily cause vehicle accidents due to their ignorance. They can easily assume driving rules such as avoiding cell phones and estimating braking distances when they are approaching an intersection.
Sometimes the vehicle might have some defects that are too hard to avoid. Some of the flaws that can result in a T-bone collision include slow brake response, which makes the vehicle run through a traffic light.
In case you get a tire blowout when approaching an intersection, you might end up running through the junction, causing a broadside accident with the vehicle in the opposite direction.
Injuries Sustained in a T- bone Accident
Various factors determine the kind of injuries that a person can sustain in a T-bone accident. These factors include:
- type of vehicle
- Angle of impact
- Speed of the crash
- Whether the passenger(s) or driver was using a seatbelt
Even though modern vehicles are fitted with new airbag designs such as side-curtain airbags and side-impact airbags, there are still possibilities of severe injuries after a broadside accident. Some of these injuries include:
A car accident victim experiences a head injury if his or her head strikes on something such as flying debris, airbag, and door after a broadside accident. Head injuries can range from a mild bump to traumatic brain injury. Some of the common types of head injuries include scalp wounds, skull fractures, and concussion.
A minor head injury bleeds a lot while major ones do not bleed. Therefore, it is recommended to seek professional medical intervention to determine the extent of the injury.
When the vehicle is hit on the side, it might cause the head of the occupants to jerk, causing an accident. Common types of neck accidents include whiplash, a broken neck, a strained neck, and a sprained neck. Common symptoms for neck injuries include neck pain, stiffness, fatigue, dizziness, headaches, loss of neck motion, tingling, and numbness in the arms.
Fracture is a medical term that explains broken bones. It can affect different parts of the body after an accident. Fractures can either be closed or open. In a closed fracture, the bone does not tear through the skin surrounding it, but in an open fracture, the bone penetrates through the skin surrounding it.
Common types of fractures that one can sustain in a broadside accident include skull fracture, hip fracture, foot fracture, pelvic fracture, and arm fracture.
This kind of injury is common in motor vehicle accidents since the face is the most exposed part of the body. It can be classified into two, which include facial trauma sustained on the soft tissues and trauma suffered on the hard tissues. The soft tissues include the muscles, eyes, nerves, skin, and fat. Hard tissues include the skull bones and face. Since the hard tissues provide support to the soft ones, injuries on them are more severe than the other.
This is one of the most severe injuries that one can sustain in a car accident. It can be manifested in different ways, such as:
- Fractured ribs
- Internal bleeding
- Abdominal aorta aneurysm
- Kidney problem
- Liver damage
- Brain bleeding
This kind of injury requires emergency medical intervention since the victim might appear to be fine only to realize the injuries later on.
Back pains span from the neck to the pelvis and can affect the ligaments, muscles, tendons, and bones. Some of the common types of back injuries include back sprain, back strains, compression fracture, herniated disc, and lumbar fracture. Spinal cord injuries also fall under this category and can cause permanent paralysis.
Damages Available in a T-bone Accident
Under Florida law, an accident plaintiff can seek compensation for two distinctive categories, which include compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are further divided into two categories, which include economic and non-economic.
These are expenses and costs which are directly related to the accident. Some of the common types of compensatory economic damages are:
This includes all the medical expenses incurred after an accident until your recovery. It also includes costs used in ambulance transfer, healthcare expenses, over-the-counter prescriptions, medical supplies, and expenses for traveling for medical appointments.
Future Medical Expenses
If you have to undergo future medication due to the accident, you need to get compensated for such expenses.
Homecare Services and Physical Therapy
If you need physical therapy and home healthcare services due to the injuries sustained in the accident, the expenses that result from them should be included in your compensation package. As long as you are an accident victim, you are entitled to receive the right medical care and health aids if required.
Current Wage Loss and Benefits
If you are employed, you deserve to get compensated for your current wage, your employer contribution, and retirement fund. Other benefits included in your employment contract can also be compensated.
Future Wage Loss and Benefits
Other than your current wage, you should also get compensated for any wages you could have earned if the accident led to a change of career or loss of employment. You should also be compensated if you are forced to take a low paying position compared to the previous one and if you missed extensive days due to your treatment.
Cost of Services
If you end up without the capacity to handle regular chores in your house, you should be compensated by the person at-fault. Some of the tasks that you might fail to handle after an accident include clearing the house, running errands, mowing the lawn, and other essential duties.
Child Care Expenses
You need to seek compensation if you are unable to take care of your child as you could be after an accident.
In this case, your property damage includes your vehicle. Your attorney should contend for the repairing of your vehicle if the damage is not severe or replacement with a new one.
Generally, economic damages are compensated according to the extent of the injuries and the kind of compensation that is available. A reliable attorney should explain everything in detail to you to be clear with what you can achieve through your lawsuit.
Non- Economic Damages
These are damages that are suffered from a more personal level, and there is no financial value that can be put on them. Compensatory non-economic damages include:
Pain and Suffering
This consists of the pain that you have gone through the accident and during your recovery period. It also includes any potential pain that would last long after you have been released from your medical treatment.
Compensation for disfigurement provides compensation for loss of eyesight, loss of limb, finger, toe, excessive scarring, and loss of hearing. Any other bodily change that results from the accident falls under this category.
Mental anguish includes stress, anxiety, and depression. Your attorney should seek compensation for such a situation from the person responsible for the accident.
Any sort of bodily restrictions that could have resulted from the accident is considered as physical impairment. This includes the inability to perform personal grooming. Compensation for physical impairment depends on the severity of the accident.
Loss of Consortium
Any damages associated with consortium are considered for children of the person killed after a broadside collision. Members who are close to the deceased can seek compensation for wrongful death and the inability to interact with the deceased.
In Florida, there are no restriction caps related to compensating non-economic damages. However, it requires the intervention of a personal injury attorney to ensure that the damages are compensated accordingly.
This is a financial penalty used to punish a responsible party if he or she is believed to have caused the accident as a result of gross negligence. Some of the factors that can lead to this punishment include texting or driving under the influence.
Florida laws allow such penalties to three times the amount that one can claim from compensatory damage or $500,000 based on which amount is greater.
Determining Fault in a T-bone Accident
It can be hard to decide on who's at fault in a T-bone accident since both drivers might be responsible for the accident. Keep in mind that Florida follows a comparative negligence rule, and the responsibility might be shared among the participants depending on the percentage of fault.
To determine who is at fault in a T-bone accident, It requires photographic evidence, official reports from the police, and statements from eyewitnesses. All the same, a typical attorney would consider the following while determining who is at fault in the accident.
Proceedings at the Scene of Accident
After the accident, contact the police to ensure that they take a report and determine who was at fault of the accident. You should also take contacts of any witness within the scene and avoid admitting liability of the incidence.
Another factor that determines fault in broadside collision is the question regarding traffic signage. You must prove that you had a protected green, but the other driver claimed to have a right-of-way hence the accident. The attorney will try to consider the time of the accident and check if it coincides with the automated programming of the traffic signage.
One of the common complications of a T- bone accident is vehicle defects. A defective part on the other driver's vehicle could have caused him or her to run through an intersection or a red light hence the accident. The problem might not be entirely based on the manufacturer but can be deemed on the other driver's failure to maintain the vehicle.
Specific Type of Injury
Although most injuries are common when it comes to a car accident, your attorney can prove that your particular injuries resulted from the accident. Some injuries affecting parts such as the hip and the rib are most likely to be caused by a broadside accident. Therefore, if you have suffered such injuries, you are more likely capable of proving that the other driver was at fault.
Duty of Care
Based on the Florida comparative negligence law, the defendant must prove that the driver was utterly negligent of his duty of care to get full compensation for your damages. Therefore, you need to verify that the driver had a duty of care, and the action that led to the accident proves that he or she breached the duty through negligence. In that case, the driver's negligence was the substantial reason behind the injuries that you sustained.
What You Should Do after a Broadside Collision
A T-bone accident can leave you devastated and with severe injuries as well. Even so, there are a couple of steps that you need to consider after such an accident. These steps include:
Confirming that Everyone is Okay
The first thing to do is check whether every person in the vehicle, including your pet, is all right. Once you have approved about the safety of everyone, you can go ahead and call for emergency help or request other people do so on your behalf.
Collect Evidence of the Accident
Assuming that you are not too physically injured after the accident, you should take pictures or videos of the scene of the accident. This includes the marks on your damaged car and any marks on the road. It is essential to take pictures of road marks to prove that the other driver did not try to stop his or her vehicle to avoid the accident.
Request for a copy of the Police Report
As soon the police arrive at the scene of the accident, they will check for seriously injured victims and proceed to collect a report about the accident. The police report includes pictures and videos and might consider who was at fault for the accident. It is recommendable to make copies of the report and send them to your insurance company and your attorney, especially when they claim that you were at fault.
Schedule an Appointment with an Attorney
After you have been cleared from treatment, it is vital to contact an attorney to review the case and determine whether to pursue compensation. The attorney can also recommend settlement with the at-fault insurance company if it suits your situation best.
Avoid Doing Anything that Might Weaken Your Case
You should remain quiet after you have contacted an attorney. Stay away from social media and any digital communications related to your accident. The fewer people you share details about your accident, the fewer are the chances of making your story not believable.
Find a Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney Near Me
Every car accident victim deserves fair compensation. It is hard to get the right compensation that you deserve owing to the pain and suffering you are undergoing and lack of a sound understanding of the law. That's why you should seek an attorney to help you in claiming compensation from the at-fault party. We at Jacksonville Personal Injury Attorney are more than willing to help you get compensated accordingly. Contact us today at 904-800-7557 and talk to one of our attorneys.