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Side-impact collisions—also known as T-bone or broadside collisions—are one of the most dangerous types of accidents that can occur. They happen when the front of a vehicle collides with the side of another. The resulting shape is a T, which is the source of the nickname. The point of collision is essential because vehicles offer the least protection for occupants on the sides. Even when the sides are reinforced, and the vehicle has side-impact airbags, occupants are still at high risk.

While all side-impact crashes are dangerous, they are even more so when one of the vehicles is a truck. A truck hitting another vehicle causes an overwhelming force, often resulting in severe injuries or even death. While a car hitting a truck may not have the same impact on the truck driver, it can lead to tremendous injuries to the people in the smaller vehicle. In addition, the crash can cause the truck to veer off course, resulting in secondary accidents.

Side-impact truck accidents in Pace can injure multiple people at a time. If you are one of them, you may have a damage claim based on your economic and non-economic losses. The experienced 18-wheeler wreck attorneys at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon can evaluate your case and help you understand your legal options.

Common Cause of Side-Impact Truck Crashes

Side-impact collisions all have the same root cause—one of the drivers fails to yield the right of way. Right-of-way laws dictate which vehicle has priority use of the road. Sometimes these rules are clear cut—for example, when one driver has a red light dictating that they should not proceed. Other times, the rules are more complex—the right of way in unmarked intersections may depend on which road is larger.

To determine fault in a Pace side-impact truck accident, the first thing a factfinder will do is examine the right-of-way. Which one of the drivers was in the correct location? However, the right-of-way is not the only factor. Speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and drowsy driving all contribute to the likelihood that someone will ignore the right-of-way. The factfinder will also look at whether a driver could have avoided the accident. If so, they may share responsibility for the wreck, even if they were obeying the law.

How Florida’s PIP Insurance Impacts Fault in T-Bone Truck Wrecks

You may have heard that Florida is a no-fault state for auto accidents. That is partially true. Florida Statutes § 627.736 requires all drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. The statutory minimum for these policies requires:

  • $10,000 in coverage for healthcare expenses
  • $5,000 in burial expenses

PIP insurance is an excellent policy for minor accidents because it allows people to access funds without finding fault. However, if you have accessed emergency healthcare anytime recently, you already know that $10,000 is barely enough to cover an ER visit, much less provide substantial or long-term care for severe injuries. PIP does not cover other expenses, such as:

  • Lost wages
  • Necessary medical adaptations
  • Non-economic damages

To get coverage from another party, you have to show that you had substantial damages—not covered by your PIP policy—and that the trucker was at fault. Fault or liability requires a determination of negligence. If a trucker causes a side-impact wreck in Pace because they violated traffic laws, failed to properly maintain the vehicle, or engaged in other reckless behavior, they may be financially responsible for the accident.

They may share financial responsibility, even if you contributed to the accident. Under Florida law, you can recover damages from the other parties in an accident if you were not more than 50 percent responsible.

Talk to a Pace Attorney About Recovery After Side-Impact Truck Accidents

T-bone collisions can lead to devastating physical, emotional, and financial injuries. You may be unable to work, struggling to recover, and overwhelmed by financial pressures. If you lost a loved one, you may be trying to manage grief while also handling the paperwork that comes with a death. Filing a lawsuit or claim may be the last thing on your mind.

You should still consult an attorney about side-impact truck accidents in Pace. You only have a limited time to bring a claim, and filing a claim is one way to help reduce your stress. Schedule a consultation with a member of the legal team at Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon to learn more.