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

Determining who is at fault in a T-bone car accident in Michigan is crucial because it dictates who bears financial responsibility for injuries and other damages resulting from the crash. A T-bone car accident, also known as a broadside collision or side impact accident, occurs when one vehicle hits another on its side, creating a “T” shape.

These collisions resulted in 23% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths nationally in 2020. In Michigan, deciding who is responsible for this type of car accident requires understanding traffic laws, the actions of the drivers, road conditions, and where the accident occurred.

Why are T-Bone Accidents So Dangerous?

In 2020, left-side collisions accounted for 11.1% of deaths in 2020, while right-side collisions accounted for 9.9%. Side impact accidents can be dangerous because car manufacturers fail to provide adequate protection in the design of their side doors and frames. The trunk and compartment of a car can cushion the impact of collisions on the front and rear end, but vehicles’ sides don’t have the same level of structural reinforcement.

How to Determine Fault in a T-Bone Collision

As you navigate the aftermath of your T-bone crash, a personal injury lawyer can help you learn who is at fault in a T-bone car accident in Michigan. Your attorney will collect evidence to determine who had the right of way in the collision and who is at fault, including:

Reviewing Visual Evidence

Pictures and videos of the accident scene can help your attorney establish the conditions during the collision. They will check photos and videos to see if skid marks and debris can help establish fault. For example, if skid marks indicate that a driver crossed the centerline or ran a traffic light, they may be negligent and have caused the accident.

Analyzing the Police Report

Your attorney will carefully review the official police report to determine if any citations were issued and to gain insight into the officer’s assessment of liability in the accident. This report can be a valuable piece of evidence in determining fault.

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, such as if 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.

Retrieving Black Box Data

Any of the vehicles involved in the accident can have a black box. Your attorney will retrieve and analyze this data to determine critical information, such as the speed of the vehicle at the time of the collision.

Reviewing Surveillance Footage

If the accident occurred at an intersection with commercial businesses and apartment buildings, your attorney could request camera footage from the owners. The surveillance footage lets the attorney determine which car entered the intersection first and which driver was at fault.

Who is at Fault in a T-bone Accident in Michigan at an Intersection?

Determining who is at fault in an intersection accident in Michigan can be complex because two roads meet at intersections. Four-way intersections pose a high risk of accidents between drivers turning left, disregarding a stop light or stop sign, or making a bad judgment call on a green light.

  • Left turn accidents: Left turn accidents are the most common intersection accidents, especially among older drivers. Drivers making the left turn are typically at fault, as they must yield to oncoming traffic. However, if the driver going straight was speeding or ran a red light, they may be found partially or fully at fault.
  • Running a red light: When drivers run a red light because they are distracted, drowsy, or impaired and cause an accident, they are typically at fault. There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the driver with the green light was speeding or failed to yield, they may be found at fault.
  • Driving past a stop sign: When a driver goes past a stop sign and causes an accident, they are usually at fault. However, if the driver with the right of way was speeding or failed to yield, they may be found partially at fault.

Ultimately, determining fault in an intersection accident in Michigan depends on carefully examining the facts and circumstances of the case. It is important to consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to help determine fault and protect your legal rights.

Who is at Fault When There is No Intersection?

Your attorney can use surveillance footage and witness statements to determine who is at fault in a T-bone accident when there is no intersection.

  • Making a U-turn across traffic: When a driver attempts to make a U-turn across traffic and causes an accident, they are often found to be at fault. This is because making a U-turn across traffic is generally considered risky, and drivers attempting it are required to yield to oncoming traffic.
  • Leaving a parking lot: A driver may be found at fault if they failed to yield to oncoming traffic or did not exercise reasonable care.
  • Crossing lanes without looking: Michigan drivers must stay within their lane and check if it is safe before changing lanes. A driver can easily cause a T-bone accident if they fail to look for oncoming traffic when crossing lanes or turning.

Can the Car That Has the Right of Way Be at Fault?

While it is less common for a driver with the right of way to be responsible for a T-bone accident, it is still possible. Some of the ways a driver with the right of way can be liable for a T-bone accident include:

  • Speeding: Even if a driver has the right of way if they are speeding, they may face liability for an accident. Speeding reduces the time the driver has to react in traffic conditions and increases the vehicle’s stopping distance.
  • Drunk driving: Drivers who have the right of way and are under the influence of alcohol or drugs may be at fault for any accidents that result. Drunk driving impairs a driver’s judgment, vision, and coordination, making it more likely for them to cause an accident.
  • Tailgating: A tailgating driver might not pay attention to the road and the traffic ahead. They may not see that the driver in front of them is about to make a turn at an intersection, and a T-bone collision could result if the tailgating driver crashes into the side of the turning vehicle.

T-Bone Car Damages

When Do Third Parties Have Fault for a T-Bone Accident?

Local and state government authorities could be responsible for a T-bone collision if a malfunctioning traffic light or poor road repairs contributed to the accident. If a traffic light is not functioning correctly, it may not properly regulate traffic flow, leading to confusion and the potential for collisions. Poorly maintained roads may have potholes or uneven pavement, causing a driver to lose control of their vehicle.

Your lawyer will guide you through filing a claim against a government authority for poor road maintenance or lack of repairs, ensuring you file your claim within 120 days.

A car defect that causes an accident can lead to you filing a product liability claim against the manufacturer. For instance, a defective tire can cause a side impact crash if it suddenly blows out while a car travels at high speeds. Drivers may lose control of their vehicle and become unable to maneuver it, resulting in a T-bone collision with another

Types of T-Bone Car Damages

In Michigan, personal injury protection coverage is available regardless of who caused the accident. You must apply for no-fault benefits with your auto insurance company within a year of the accident.

The benefits include coverage for accident-related expenses such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of wages
  • Household replacement services up to $20 per day

If you sustained severe injuries, you could use attendant care benefits for up to 56 hours per week with a family member or friend assisting you.

Filing a Michigan non-economic damages claim against the other driver for a T-bone accident injury requires establishing that the driver was at fault and caused you to sustain severe or permanent injuries. Your injuries must be significant enough to impair your important body functions and interfere with your daily activities.

Working with an experienced attorney can help you build a strong case and file a claim with the negligent driver’s insurance company within the three-year statute of limitations.

How Can an Attorney Help Me Prove Liability in My T-bone accident case?

Our attorneys at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. will review the evidence and negotiate with insurers to determine liability for a T-bone accident. To establish liability, we obtain police reports, witness statements, medical records, photos, videos, and other relevant evidence.

We use this evidence to construct a compelling argument that proves the other party’s fault with their insurer. We can also represent you in court and advocate for your rights before a judge or jury if necessary.

Our nurse attorney and senior partner, Eileen Kroll, will use her medical background to help insurers or a jury understand who is at fault for the T-bone accident in Michigan. She can examine your medical records, find evidence to support your claim and maximize your financial compensation.

Contact a T-Bone Accident Lawyer in Michigan Today

Determining fault in a T-bone accident in Michigan requires a thorough investigation. 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?

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 as soon as possible, 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 various injuries, including spinal cord damage, brain injuries, and broken bones.

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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