intersection car accident Clarksville

Roadway intersections can be surprisingly dangerous. With so many vehicles converging at one point, staying safe in these areas requires awareness and safe driving behaviors. Unfortunately, drivers don’t always follow the rules of the road and traffic signals. It’s not unusual to see another driver barreling through a red light at an intersection. It’s sometimes possible to stop in time to prevent an intersection car accident, but that doesn’t always happen.

At Pete Olson Injury Law, we’ve seen the results of such crashes and their impact on people’s lives far too many times. In the comprehensive guide below, our experienced Clarksville car accident attorney shares details about various types of accidents that commonly happen at intersections, examples of injuries that may result, and legal options for compensation for victims of this kind of vehicle crash.

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Table of Contents:

Why Car Crashes Often Happen at Intersections

Car crashes at intersections are surprisingly common. To reduce the risk of colliding with a vehicle at an intersection, a driver should carefully observe the roadway and all cars within their line of sight, as well as consider vehicles that may not yet be visible due to being behind obstacles.

Some collisions at intersections occur because of confusion over who has the right of way. Many drivers assume that they have right-of-way as soon as their light turns green, but that’s not always the case. Tennessee Code §55-8-128 states that the driver of a vehicle approaching an intersection shall yield right-of-way to a vehicle already within the intersection.

Misunderstandings of the rules of the road such as this are not the only reason crashes happen at intersections. Accidents at intersections happen for a variety of reasons, including driver negligence, traffic violations, or even weather conditions.

Common Types of Intersection Car Collisions

Vehicle collisions that take place at intersections aren’t all the same type of wreck. Common types of intersection crashes include:

T-Bone Crashes

T-Bone collisions are side-impact collisions in which two cars form a “T” shape on impact. They are sometimes referred to as broadside collisions. This type of crash is most common when a driver fails to yield the right of way or runs a red light.

Vehicles have less protection on their sides than on the front or back, so side-impact crashes can cause severe injuries. Newer vehicles have improved frames and side airbags, but the side is still one of the weaker areas of a vehicle.

Rear-End Collisions

If a driver fails to maintain adequate stopping distance or is engaged in distracted driving, they risk running into cars in front of them that slow or stop unexpectedly. Run-of-the-mill fender benders, as many call rear-end collisions, can be minor, with little to no injury.

However, that is not always the case. A rear-end collision can also be quite dangerous, especially if the vehicle is traveling at a high speed. Even relatively minor rear-end collisions may cause whiplash or other neck and back pains.

Left-Turn Collisions

There’s a reason you may have failed your practical driver’s license test if you made a mistake while making a left turn. A report from The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that unprotected left turns account for 20% of all car accidents, making left turns an important element of driving exams.

The most common cause of left-turn collisions at intersections is when a driver making a left turn misjudges the speed of oncoming cars. When this happens, drivers risk being hit in a T-Bone or head-on collision, both of which can lead to serious injury or even death.

Right-Turn Collisions

Right turns carry less risk than left-hand turns, but they’re not entirely without risk. As with left turns, you may risk a collision if you misjudge oncoming cars’ speed before starting the turn. Right turns can also be dangerous if the roadway is curved or has trees, bushes, buildings, or other obstacles blocking proper view of oncoming cars and their speed.

The Dangers of Car Crashes in Intersections

Approaching an intersection without exercising proper caution can be very dangerous. That’s why paying close attention and practicing extra caution at intersections is so important.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that one-quarter of traffic fatalities and half of all traffic injuries in the U.S. happen at intersections. Injuries that often happen in intersection car accidents include:

  • Bone fractures or breaks
  • Whiplash
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Internal bleeding or organ damage

Particularly severe wrecks at intersections may also result in amputation or even death. It’s vital that you practice extra awareness at intersections, especially since there are drivers on the road who practice reckless driving and put themselves at risk of causing accidents.

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Determining Fault in an Intersection Car Accident

Several factors affect how the police, insurance companies, or courts determine fault in intersection car accidents. If there was a traffic signal at the intersection and one person clearly ignored a red light – or if one driver clearly had right-of-way because of a green light – then fault determinations may be simpler. However, determining fault is not always that simple.


Various types of documentation may be required in order to help with the process of determining fault, such as:

  • Police reports: It’s important to call 911 immediately following a wreck, both to get treatment for injuries and to ensure that a police report is filed. Police at the scene will interview the parties involved and any witnesses who stayed nearby, then combine these statements with their own observations of the crash's results.
  • Photo or video evidence: Photos and videos help provide visual evidence of the results of the crash. Getting photos of the accident scene immediately after it takes place can be very helpful, especially if the other driver takes their car in for repairs before it can be examined as part of your case.
  • Eyewitness statements: Oftentimes, eyewitnesses can provide important information as third-party observers, especially since they are likely not trying to protect themselves in their statement, as the involved parties may.
  • Traffic laws: Comparing statements from the scene of the crash with Tennessee’s driving laws helps determine whether one or both drivers violated the rules of the road and caused the crash.
  • Hospital records: Medical documentation can prove the extent of a crash victim’s injuries.Comparative Fault

Another factor to consider is that Tennessee uses comparative negligence rules when determining fault. This means that if your actions contributed to the accident in any way, you could be assigned a percentage of fault, even if the other driver’s actions were primarily to blame.

If a crash victim is more than 0% but less than 50% responsible for the crash, the amount of their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. In other words, if a crash victim received a $40,000 award but is determined to be 10% at fault, they’ll actually receive $36,000.

Legal Recourse for Victims of Intersection Car Crashes

If you’ve been injured in an intersection car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. In a personal injury case, you may receive awards for:

  • Economic damages, including medical bills, property damage, loss of income, loss of future income, or loss of earning capacity.
  • Non-economic damages, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

If you have lost a loved one as a result of an intersection car accident, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Whatever your situation, it’s important to speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible so you can receive advice from a lawyer experienced in car accident injury cases.

What to Do if You’re in an Intersection Car Accident

car accident lawyer ClarksvilleIf you’re in a crash at an intersection, it’s important to remember these key steps so you can avoid some of the most common mistakes people make after an accident:

  • Call 911 immediately. Request both law enforcement and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) so you can have the scene documented and receive immediate medical care.
  • Collect contact information and evidence. Document the scene with photos and videos, gather insurance and contact information from the other party (or parties) involved, and gather contact information from witnesses.
  • Schedule a medical exam ASAP. It’s important to have a doctor document evidence of your injuries. Don’t delay seeking medical attention, even if you don’t feel symptoms of an injury right away. Some injuries manifest symptoms several days after a wreck.
  • Contact a car accident attorney. Car accident cases can be complex and stressful, but having a lawyer experienced in getting results for accident victims can help you avoid mistakes that cost you money and help minimize your stress.
  • Avoid speaking to insurance companies yourself. Let your attorney speak with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf so you avoid any accidental statements that may reduce your possible compensation.

Don’t wait too long to contact an attorney after an accident. Engaging a car accident lawyer early will help you avoid mistakes and ensure you don’t run up against the statute of limitations, which could cause you to lose your ability to file a lawsuit if necessary.

How Our Clarksville Car Accident Attorney Can Help

At Pete Olson Injury Law, we dedicate ourselves to helping you protect your rights and manage the anxiety of an already stressful situation. But don’t take our word for it – the testimonials of our clients reflect the real-world experience of accident victims that our experienced legal team has helped.

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If you’ve been injured in a Clarksville or Nashville area car accident, click the button above to schedule a free evaluation of your case. For immediate assistance, call 1-877-GetPete now!