In one recent decade, crashes at intersections and interchanges factored into over four out of every ten fatal collisions in California. While the severity of any crash or car crash injuries depends on many factors, one of the factors that makes intersection collisions dangerous is the angle of impact. 

Side-impact collisions, or T-bone impacts, happen in nearly half of crashes involving multiple vehicles and serious injuries.

In Vista and throughout California, determining who was at fault in car accidents matters. Fault dictates whose insurance will be responsible for paying others’ claims and decides whether a driver will have to cover expenses that insurance does not pay. But who is at fault in T-bone crashes is not always clear.

California Right-of-Way Laws Help Determine Fault in T-Bone Crashes

Side-impact crashes occur regularly at intersections, T-intersections, and driveways where traffic enters a roadway. They can also occur when you are making a left-hand turn. Each of these location types is controlled by traffic lights, traffic signs, or right-of-way laws. When drivers disregard any of these, they may cause a side-impact collision.

Traffic Lights

At an intersection controlled by a traffic light, you do not have the right of way until you are given a green light. Even if you are permitted to proceed at a red light, you must first bring your car to a stop, yield the right of way to cross traffic, and proceed when it is safe.

Traffic Signs

Similarly, the right of way at intersections and access points controlled by a fixed or portable traffic sign depends on the sign being displayed and to whom. If a stop or yield sign applies to you, you must yield the right of way to other traffic that does not have such signs.

At a four-way intersection where all drivers have a stop sign, the first person to arrive at the intersection and stop has the right of way. If two or more vehicles arrive at the same time, traffic that is proceeding straight has the right of way over vehicles that are turning.

General Right-of-Way Laws

In the absence of any traffic light or signs, traffic that is making a left-hand turn must yield the right of way to all other traffic. If you are trying to turn left and another car is too close, you must allow that car to clear the area before you are permitted to complete your turn.

When Right of Way Does Not Decide Fault

California car crash lawyers will frequently examine crash reports and evidence to see if one driver or the other violated a right-of-way law, thereby causing a T-bone crash. This is not always the end of the inquiry, however. If you were speeding and hit a vehicle that turned left in front of you, your speed would factor into the question of fault.

Similarly, if you violate the law in other ways, such as by using an improper signal at an intersection, it could play a role in determining who is at fault.

T-Bone Accident Investigations Can Be Complex; Contact a Lawyer

California’s traffic and right-of-way laws do assist in determining fault after a T-bone collision. Sometimes, one driver clearly violated these rules of the road, and one did not. When both drivers violated some traffic or right-of-way law, though, who was at fault for causing the crash may not be as clear.

Contact an experienced car accident lawyer in Vista for help understanding your rights and options after a T-Bone crash. Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers offers free consultations.

Contact the North County Car Accident Lawyers at Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact the Vista car accident law firm of Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in North County, CA and its surrounding areas:

Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers – Vista, CA Office
380 S Melrose Dr. Ste. 201
Vista, CA 92081

(619) 344-0360

Petrov Petrov Personal Injury Lawyers – Oceanside, CA Office
702 Civic Center Drive Ste. 105
Oceanside, CA, 92054

(619) 678-1016