While lane-change accidents and rear-end accidents are usually quite simple to unpack, T-bone accidents are a different story entirely. On top of that, the injuries that result from these accidents are many degrees more severe.
Generally speaking, these accidents occur when one driver attempts to beat a red light as another driver is going through an intersection. In order to beat the red light, the driver speeds up on his way through the red light and smashes directly into another driver.
In other cases, it is the driver who was hit maneuvering their car into an intersection when they were not supposed to. In this article, we’ll discuss the various permutations of side-impact collisions and how fault is determined in these accidents.
Understanding Washington State’s Comparative Fault Rule
The State of Washington operates on what is known as a pure comparative fault rule. Comparative fault or comparative negligence refers to a situation in which two parties are each assigned some of the blame. Many states operate on what is called the 51% rule. In these states, only a party that is less than 51% responsible for an accident can bring an action against another party. That is not so in Washington. Any party may bring an action so long as they can prove actual damages. This includes a party who is 99% to blame for an accident. This is known as pure comparative negligence.
T-Bone Collisions and Right of Way
When determining who is at fault for a T-bone accident, it will be necessary to determine which driver had the right of way. In many situations, there are witnesses to the accident and—if you’re able—you should take pictures of the scene as well. The police will take a report, but it can’t always be relied upon to give accurate details. The police officers’ job is to ensure that everyone is okay and then restore the flow of traffic. Eventually, they get around to taking witness statements and collecting information on the accident.
In some cases, both drivers may be held liable for the accident. If both drivers are in violation of traffic rules, then they each may be 50% to blame.
Assigning Blame in T-Bone Accidents
Most accidents can be reconstructed through eye-witness reports, photographs, and the details surrounding the collision. The police report will be the first official account. In some cases, it will be up to your attorney to “debunk” the police report if it provides inaccurate information that negatively impacts your case. In addition, the insurance companies will have a vested interest in reducing their liability and will attempt to blame you for the accident.
Contact a Yakima Car Accident Lawyer Today
If you’ve been involved in a car accident, you may be able to recover damages from a negligent driver. The attorneys at Kapuza Lighty PLLC help accident victims file claims with insurance companies and maximize their settlement returns. Give us a call or contact us online and we can begin discussing your case today.