T-Bone Car Accident in Michigan
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Who is at Fault in a T-Bone Car Accident in Michigan?

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

T-bone car accidents can be some of the most dangerous and deadly collisions to experience. A T-bone car accident, or a side impact collision, occurs when one vehicle hits another on its side, creating a “T” shape.

These collisions resulted in 22% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths nationally in 2021. As a victim in a T-bone accident, you may be left with serious injuries, life-long medical bills, and lost wages, making you financially vulnerable and unable to keep up with expenses.

Determining who is responsible for a T-boned accident can help you seek compensation for these losses. Our car accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will investigate your case to identify all liable parties and help you secure a fair recovery award to help rebuild your life.

What Causes T-Bone Accidents?

When a T-bone accident occurs on a Michigan road, it’s often due to driver negligence. Whether it’s a car going too fast or a distracted driver, these types of car accidents can cause serious damage. The top causes of side impact accidents include:

  • Failure to yield. This occurs when a driver does not give way to oncoming traffic at an intersection, leading to a collision with the side of another vehicle.
  • Running a red light or stop sign. When drivers ignore these traffic controls, they can crash into the side of vehicles that have the right of way.
  • Distracted driving. Drivers not paying attention to the road, often due to phone use or other distractions, may miss stop signs or signals and cause a T-bone crash.
  • Speeding. Excessive speed can make it difficult for drivers to stop at intersections, resulting in side-impact collisions.
  • Turning across traffic. Misjudging the speed of oncoming vehicles or not seeing them can lead to a collision when a driver attempts to turn left across traffic.
  • Poor road conditions. Slippery roads due to rain, snow, or ice, potholes, and other road damage can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicle, leading to a T-bone collision at intersections.
  • Inadequate road design, lighting, or signals. Complex or poorly designed intersections, malfunctioning traffic signals, and insufficient lighting can confuse drivers or lead to misinterpretation of the right-of-way, resulting in side-impact crashes.

What Are Some Common T-Bone Accident Injuries?

T-bone crashes can result in severe injuries or fatalities for those involved. They are particularly dangerous because most cars lack adequate protection in the design of their side doors and frames. This leaves drivers and passengers vulnerable to the full force of a collision, resulting in blunt-force trauma.

Here are some of the most common injuries in a side-impact collision:

  • Whiplash and neck injuries. The sudden jolt from a T-bone collision can cause the head to snap rapidly, leading to soft tissue damage in the neck, known as whiplash, along with possible cervical spine injuries.
  • Head and brain injuries. Impact with windows, doors, or objects inside the car can cause concussions or more severe traumatic brain injuries, depending on the collision’s force and the victim’s head protection.
  • Broken bones. The direct impact on the vehicle’s side can lead to fractures, especially in the pelvis, legs, arms, and ribs, which are less shielded than other body parts.
  • Internal injuries. The force of a side-impact crash can cause internal organs to be compressed or struck by broken bones, leading to internal bleeding and organ damage.
  • Lacerations and bruises. Shattered glass and metal debris can cause cuts and bruises, leading to major blood loss or infection.
  • Psychological trauma. In addition to physical injuries, victims of T-bone accidents often experience emotional distress, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression, impacting their quality of life long after the physical injuries have healed.

Who’s At Fault in a T-Bone Crash?

Determining fault in a T-bone crash involves assessing who acted negligently or violated traffic laws, leading to the collision. Our experienced personal injury lawyers from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help determine fault and protect your legal rights.

Learn who might be responsible:

Liable Party Circumstances Example
Negligent Driver This includes drivers who fail to yield the right of way, run red lights, or do not follow traffic rules. A driver runs a red light and hits the side of a car with the green light.

A driver making a left turn without yielding to oncoming traffic.

Another Third-Party Driver When a driver’s actions force another driver into the path of oncoming traffic, leading to a T-bone crash. A driver is pushed into an intersection due to being rear-ended, resulting in a T-bone collision.
Government Entities Contributory factors include poor road design, inadequate signage, or malfunctioning traffic signals. An intersection’s poorly timed traffic lights cause confusion, leading to a T-bone collision.
Manufacturers If a vehicle’s malfunction or defective design contributes to the accident, manufacturers can be held liable in a product liability suit. Faulty brakes or steering components can lead to a T-bone collision if a driver is unable to stop.

How to Determine Fault in a T-Bone Collision

Determining who is at fault for your T-bone crash is essential for getting you the compensation you deserve. In Michigan, you can file against a liable party if your injuries exceed your personal injury protection (PIP) coverages and meet the state’s serious injury threshold.

However, you may be able to prove the other party’s fault to win a fair settlement. Your lawyer from Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. will gather evidence to identify who is responsible for your injuries and assist in obtaining a fair settlement for you. We achieve this through:

  • Reviewing visual evidence. Our attorneys carefully examine photos and videos from the accident scene to understand how the collision occurred. This can highlight the angle and force of the impact, indicating which driver may have breached traffic laws, establishing fault.
  • Analyzing the police report. We can review the police report for an objective account of the incident, including witness statements and the responding officer’s initial assessment. This document can hold insights into liability, which our attorneys will leverage to support your claim.
  • Retrieving black box data. Leveraging technology, our team accesses data from the vehicles’ black boxes, which record crucial details like speed, brake application, and steering angles before the crash. This information can help reconstruct the accident and prove negligence.
  • Reviewing surveillance footage. Our attorneys can gain a third-party perspective of the collision by obtaining and scrutinizing footage from nearby surveillance cameras. This evidence can be instrumental in corroborating your account of the events and demonstrating the other party’s fault.
  • Working with expert witnesses. We collaborate with accident reconstruction experts and medical professionals to bolster your case. These experts can testify on the mechanics of the collision and the extent of your injuries, solidifying your compensation claim.
  • Gathering witness statements. During the investigation, your attorney will interview witnesses from the accident scene. Witnesses can describe the behavior of the drivers leading up to the collision – for instance, one driver of the vehicle was speeding or failed to yield at a traffic light. Their statements can provide valuable insight into who had the right of way and can assist in establishing fault.

T-Bone Car Damages

What Compensation is Available After a T-bone Accident?

After experiencing a T-bone accident, you can seek compensation to cover various losses and alleviate the financial strain of recovery, including:

  • Medical costs. Covers all healthcare expenses related to the accident, including emergency services, hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and ongoing medical treatments or rehabilitation.
  • Pain and suffering. Compensates for the physical pain and emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident. This can also include anxiety, depression, and loss of enjoyment of life.
  • Lost wages. Reimburses for income lost while unable to work due to injuries sustained in the crash. This also encompasses future earnings lost if the injuries prevent returning to work or necessitate a change in profession.
  • Property damage. Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle and any other personal property damaged during the accident.
  • Loss of consortium. If the accident impacts your relationship with your spouse, you may be compensated for the loss of companionship and support.
  • Wrongful death. In cases where the T-bone accident results in fatal injuries, this compensation is provided to the deceased’s dependents or estate for the loss of financial support, funeral expenses, and the emotional loss of a loved one.
  • Exemplary damages. These are awarded in cases of egregious negligence or intentional misconduct to compensate the victim and deter similar behavior in the future.

What Are Your Legal Options After a T-Bone Accident?

Following a T-bone collision, our experienced attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you navigate your compensation options. In a complimentary case evaluation, we’ll outline your legal avenues, which may include:

  • PIP claim. In Michigan, you can file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim under your own insurance policy. PIP coverage can help pay for medical expenses, a portion of lost wages (8o%), and other out-of-pocket costs, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.
  • Third-party insurance claim. You could file a claim against their insurance company if the other driver was at fault. This type of claim is used to cover damages not covered by your PIP insurance, such as pain and suffering, excess medical bills, and additional lost wages beyond PIP limits.
  • A lawsuit in court. When insurance claims do not fully cover your damages due to policy limits or the company’s refusal to pay, you might choose to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver or other liable parties. A lawsuit can provide compensation for full damages, including non-economic coverages and exemplary damages.

Statute of Limitations for a T-bone Accident Claim

Michigan sets a specific time to file your T-bone accident claim. If you don’t initiate a lawsuit in this period, you may lose your right to a fair settlement. Here’s a breakdown of filing timelines:

  • General statute of limitations. Typically, Michigan allows three years from the accident date to file a lawsuit for personal injuries or property damage. If you wish to pursue compensation, actions must be taken within this window.
  • Exceptions for minors. If the injured party is a minor at the time of the accident, the statute of limitations does not begin until they reach the age of 18. This gives them until their 19th birthday to file a claim.
  • Exceptions for incapacitation. For individuals who are legally incapacitated at the time of the accident (for instance, in a coma), Michigan law extends the statute of limitations. They have one year from the date the incapacity ends to file a lawsuit, ensuring they have a fair chance to seek compensation.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Prove Liability in My T-bone Accident Case?

Having an experienced car accident lawyer by your side can impact the outcome of your T-bone accident case. Our team at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you in the following ways:

  • Evidence collection and analysis. Our attorneys diligently gather all relevant evidence, such as accident reports, video footage, witness testimonies, and medical documents, to establish a strong case on your behalf.
  • Expert testimony coordination. Our firm partners with accident reconstruction specialists and medical professionals to offer expert insights into the specifics of the accident and the extent of your injuries, strengthening the credibility of your claim.
  • Legal system navigation. With our understanding of state laws and insurance regulations, our attorneys guide you through the legal process, advocating for your interests.
  • Insurance company negotiation. Our team handles negotiations with insurance providers, ensuring you are not undervalued or hastily settle for less than you deserve.
  • Court representation. Should negotiations fail to yield a fair settlement, our attorneys are prepared to represent you in court, arguing your case before a judge or jury to achieve a favorable outcome.
  • Eileen Kroll’s specialized knowledge. Eileen Kroll, a nurse attorney and senior partner at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., combines her medical and legal expertise to benefit our clients. Her unique background enables our firm to effectively establish liability and achieve the highest possible compensation for your losses.

Contact a T-Bone Accident Lawyer in Michigan Today

At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we use our experience and legal skills to help accident victims get the compensation they deserve. Our team has years of experience handling T-bone collision cases and has won millions for those injured by negligent drivers on Michigan roads.

We can sit down with you during a free case review to learn about your accident and injuries and develop a winning legal strategy. Arrange a free consultation to learn the steps we can take to determine who is at fault for the T-bone accident in Michigan.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.


What should I do if I’m involved in a T-bone car accident in Michigan?

Here’s what to do after a car collision: Check for injuries, call 911, and move your car to a safe place. Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and gather witness information. Seek medical attention immediately, even if you don’t feel injured. Consult with a personal injury attorney to protect your rights during the claims process.

What kind of injuries can occur in a T-bone accident?

T-bone accidents can result in a range of injuries, including whiplash, fractures, traumatic brain injuries, internal bleeding, and lacerations. These injuries vary in severity depending on the collision’s force and the occupants’ positions in the vehicle.

What is it called when a car hits you from the side?

When a car hits you from the side, it’s referred to as a “side-impact collision” or a “T-bone accident,” especially when it occurs at intersections.

What happens to your body in a side-impact crash?

In a side-impact crash, your body may experience sudden and forceful jolts to the side, leading to potential injuries from the impact against the vehicle’s interior, seat belts, and airbags. This can cause neck and spinal injuries, rib and pelvic fractures, and internal organ damage.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Jasmine Holt is a freelance writer specializing in legal content marketing for attorneys and law firms. She hopes to provide better legal advice to the general public using her previous experience working with a franchise company and a law firm. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.



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