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Understanding Fault in Michigan T-bone Accidents

A T-bone accident is one of the most severe types of car accidents that leads to fatalities. Also known as an “angle” car accident, about 8,000 individuals per year die in these crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, T-bone accidents account for half of all motor vehicle deaths.

When a driver suffers a T-bone collision, they have little protection, which is why this type of accident often results in severe injury or death. If you have sustained serious injuries from a T-bone accident, do not hesitate to call the compassionate car accident attorneys at Matz Injury Law at 866-226-6833. Our Michigan law firm will fight hard for you to help you get what you need to cover your medical bills and other losses.

How Does Michigan Define a T-Bone Accident?

A T-bone accident is when the front of one vehicle hits the side of another, with the car crash resembling a “T.” Often referred to as “right angle” or “side impact” accidents, T-bone crashes frequently occur at intersections where two roads cross.

T-bones also occur on major roadways, such as interstates or other highways, where a driver loses control of their vehicle, crashing into other vehicles. Unfortunately, T-bone accidents typically happen with little warning, and other drivers navigating their vehicles have no time to react to evade colliding with a negligent driver.

What Causes T-Bone Accidents in Michigan?

Recklessness, carelessness, or negligence when driving are leading factors contributing to T-bone crashes. These behaviors include:

Running a Red Light or Stop Sign

Motorists running red lights or stop signs put other drivers in harm’s way. Chances are the driver disobeying traffic laws will run into other right-of-way vehicles navigating through an intersection. Tragically, it’s common for a yellow traffic signal to signal negligent motorists to “speed up” to get through the light before it changes. Many times they do not make it and quickly collide with an unassuming driver who is following traffic rules.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving behaviors, including lane weaving, drag racing, DUI, distracted driving, or other poor driving actions, often result in side-impact collisions. Attentive drivers who competently and responsibly drive significantly reduce the chances of a broadside crash occurring.


Drivers making left-hand turns are vulnerable to being hit on the side by oncoming vehicles that neglect to yield, resulting in a side-impact collision.

Your Vehicle Loses Control

When motorists lose control of their cars or trucks, a T-bone vehicle crash can occur. Causes of vehicles suddenly shifting on highways or other roads are often caused by distracted driving, tires losing traction, bad weather, or other types of reckless driving behaviors.

Where Do T-Bone Accidents Most Frequently Occur?

Dangerous intersections with poor design, lighting, or other circumstances can contribute to a devastating T-bone crash. Weather conditions can also contribute. Given the right conditions, T-bone crashes occur in both urban and rural areas. Just taking your eyes off the road for mere seconds can lead to side-impact crashes.

How is Fault Determined in a T-Bone Car Accident in Michigan?

Michigan follows a modified comparative negligence law when accidents occur. This means both drivers can share fault in an accident. Law enforcement will investigate and collect evidence, and insurance companies will speak to all parties and assign a percentage of the blame. Sometimes a third driver, road engineer, road designers, local transportation department, or other entity could share fault in an accident, depending upon specific circumstances.

After any collision, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced Michigan attorney right away. Insurance companies are notorious for bullying victims into accepting some level of blame even if they are not at fault so they can reduce their financial responsibility to pay for damages and losses, essentially cutting victims out of the compensation they deserve.

What Are Common Injuries From a Side Impact or T-Bone Collision?

Collisions are terrifying and, in a split second, can change your life. Injuries and wrongful deaths are sadly common in T-bone collisions. Common injuries include:

Internal Injuries

A vehicle striking a car directly where a person is sitting often causes damage to internal organs, including the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, lungs, stomach, or intestines. Internal injuries are often severe and need immediate medical evaluation, treatment, or surgery.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are very common in all types of car accidents. T-bones create such a strong force that they often lead to TBIs, which include concussions. A victim’s head can experience hard shaking back and forth, causing a coup-contrecoup injury. If a head hits the window, dashboard, steering wheel, or another part of the car, a frontal lobe injury or another injury to the brain can occur.

Hip and Leg Injuries

Since a side impact accident usually aligns with a person’s hip or waist, victims can sustain significant injuries to the hips and legs, including bruises, fractures, or worse.

Whiplash and Spinal Cord Injuries

A man sitting down in front of his car after an auto accident

Whiplash is commonly associated with car accidents. Victims suffer from pain, cervical muscle sprains, or injuries to the spine and its discs. Unfortunately, the worst whiplash and spinal cord injuries require substantial medical intervention.

Broken Bones

Broken bone injuries often occur in side impact crashes. Victims often struggle with broken legs, arms, wrists, ribs, and other bones.

Shoulder and Back Injuries

When a car collides directly into another vehicle’s side, it can harm the victim’s shoulders or back, leading to broken bones, torn ligaments and muscles, damage to discs, torn rotator cuffs, and more. Injuries can range from mild to severe, possibly even requiring surgical involvement.

I Was in a T-Bone Accident. What Should I Do Next?

In the aftermath of a Michigan T-bone accident, you should immediately take the following steps.

1. Get the Other Driver’s Information

Collect the information of any other drivers in the accident. Get the other driver’s name, address, phone number, license plate, make and model of car, and their insurance company’s information.

2. Call the Police

Call local authorities right away so a police officer can document the accident and generate an accident report, which will prove to be very important in the future.

3. Seek Medical Treatment Immediately

To get quick assistance, call 911 for emergency situations or if someone is clearly hurt. Even if you or your passengers do not immediately feel hurt, seek treatment from a trustworthy healthcare professional as soon as possible after the crash.

4. Collect Evidence on the Scene

If able, gather evidence from the accident scene. Take photos and videos of the vehicles, the crash scene, skid marks, road conditions, signage, traffic lights, and other pertinent information. Also, collect the personal information of any witnesses who saw the collision.

A man and a woman calling emergency services after a t-bone accident

5. File an Accident Claim with Your Insurance

Do not delay in filing a no-fault benefits application with your own insurance company so you can receive money to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages if you are unable to return to work. Michigan state law dictates you must file your claim within one year from the date of the collision. If you fail to do this, this can disqualify you from receiving no-fault benefits. Not filing may also be an obstacle down the road in suing for unpaid benefits.

6. Call a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer

Call a personal injury lawyer who is well-versed in Michigan car accident law. By working with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney, such as Matz Injury Law, you can rest assured you will have someone by your side from start to finish who will advocate on your behalf. An attorney will:

  • Serve as a go-between with insurance companies.
  • Determine who is at fault for your injuries.
  • File any paperwork to get you the benefits you need or initiate a lawsuit.
  • Work to see you do not miss Michigan’s statute of limitations in getting compensation.
  • Collect and show evidence of any negligence found to help you get compensation.

We will do our utmost to protect your rights during the process ensuing after your car accident. You can focus on your recovery and taking care of your family.

We’ll Help You Heal From Brutal T-Bone Injuries

T-bone injuries are devasting. If you or a loved one are struggling after being involved in a motor vehicle accident and need to sue for pain and suffering, count on Matz Injury Law to be in your corner. Our personal injury attorneys truly understand the physical, emotional, and financial difficulties people suffer after experiencing this type of traumatic accident.

When you contact our law firm, we can provide you with a free consultation or case evaluation. It is our goal to provide the best sound legal advice to help you get the money you deserve. Matz Injury Law will not collect any fees unless you win. Then, we only accept 22% of the auto accident award, not the industry standard of 33%.

Ready to get started? Call our caring attorneys today at 866-226-6833 or fill out our online contact form.