When a commercial semi-truck and a passenger car collide, severe injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle usually result. A fully loaded 18-wheeler weighs up to 80,000 pounds. Even at a slow speed, it can do major damage to a 4,000-pound car. Head-on or rear-end collisions with a tractor-trailer are bad enough, but the worst of the worst is a T-bone truck crash.
Why T-Bone Truck Accidents Are So Serious
If you’re rear-ended or hit head-on by a commercial truck, you have the following protection:
- A bumper and a trunk or a hood to shield you somewhat from the impact
- A safety belt and airbags to protect you from the front
- A seat back behind you
When you are T-boned, however, you have none of the above to save you. A T-bone accident occurs when a truck runs into you from the side, where you have no protection beyond your door. The door panel collapses inward, and the side of your body takes the full force of the impact. You and your passengers are thrown around inside the car, banging into hard surfaces and/or each other, generally sustaining catastrophic injuries. If your car rolls or is pushed into other traffic, the results are even worse.
Common Locations and Causes of T-Bone Truck Crashes
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), T-bone crashes are most likely to occur:
- In parking lots when a truck pulls into or out of a parking space
- On busy streets where a trucker merges or changes lanes without checking mirrors or blind spots carefully
- At intersections where a truck driver runs a light and/or makes an illegal turn
Of these three locations, intersections are the most dangerous. A T-bone wreck is more likely where traffic converges from four directions, especially if a trucker is:
- Tired or falling asleep from driving long hours to meet delivery deadlines
- Talking or texting on a phone
- Impaired by alcohol or drugs
T-Bone Truck Wreck Injuries
The difference in size between the vehicles, along with your defenselessness against side impact, can cause serious injuries requiring immediate medical treatment:
- Crushed, broken, or fractured bones are extremely painful and slow to heal. Breaks that don’t heal correctly can cause chronic pain and long-term disability.
- Cuts, lacerations, and scarring can result from contact with broken glass and other sharp objects in the car.
- Whiplash and other neck injuries are often caused by the force of impact.
- Spinal cord injuries affecting vertebrae, ligaments, and/or discs not only cause chronic pain but can also affect your overall mobility and possibly lead to paralysis.
- Concussions and other head injuries result from an impact to the skull.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can have serious cognitive, sensory, and physical consequences—sometimes requiring long-term or lifelong medical care.
- Amputations can happen instantaneously in the crash or later if limbs cannot be saved.
- Death, unfortunately, is not uncommon in T-bone truck crashes.
Your first priority after sustaining any such injury is getting to a doctor for medical attention and documentation of injuries resulting from the crash.
The Need for an Attorney
The truck driver is almost always at fault in a T-bone truck wreck. If you’re the victim of a trucker’s negligence, you may file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to collect compensation for your damages:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and reduced future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death and funeral expenses for a loved one killed in the wreck
Because an 18-wheeler is a commercial vehicle, however, there might be more than one at-fault party liable for your damages:
- The truck driver
- The driver’s employer
- The owner of the truck
- A truck leasing or rental company
- The truck manufacturer or repair service (if faulty equipment contributed to the accident)
Any of these defendants might bear some percentage of liability for your damages and have a different insurance company from the others. The complexities of figuring out different percentages of fault and filing claims against multiple insurance companies will require the services of an experienced lawyer.
Have You Been Hurt in a Twin Cities T-Bone Truck Crash?
The first thing you need is medical attention, and the second thing is legal help. Our free referral service will find you the right local physician to treat your injuries, as well as an experienced local truck accident attorney to help you seek compensation for damages. Contact us online or call 763-251-PAIN for a free consultation. Just one call puts you two steps closer to justice!