A sideswipe collision or sudden lane change accident can result in a blow on the side of another vehicle. These types of accidents often occur because of distracted driving and can lead to serious injuries even when the impact isn’t as forceful as a head-on car crash. Sideswipe collisions are hazardous for bicyclists and motorcycle riders who don’t have the same protection as a driver riding in a passenger vehicle. If you suffered injuries in a car crash with another driver who sideswiped you, you have a right to seek compensation. Seeking advice from one of our knowledgeable personal injury lawyers can give your case the best chance at a favorable outcome. Don’t let the lasting impact of a sideswipe accident have devastating effects on your health and finances. Our car accident attorneys are here to help you protect your rights, so you can focus on getting back to normal.
What Is a Sideswipe Collision?
A sideswipe collision happens when the sides of two cars, typically traveling in a parallel manner, make contact. These accidents are most often associated with intentional or unintentional lane changes. Sideswipe accidents caused by unintentional lane changes often happen because of a blind spot, distracted, drowsy, or drunk driver. Additional but less common causes for a sideswipe collision are vehicle malfunction, medical emergencies, heavy rainfall, or other visual distractions. In some of the worst cases, sideswipe accidents involve multiple vehicles. For example, where one or both drivers lose control of their car after being sideswiped, a rear-end collision can occur involving a third motorist. Deliberately reckless lane changes may lead to severe sideswipe accidents. To determine fault in sideswipe collisions, insurance companies will look for evidence pointing to a negligent driver.
What Are Some of the Most Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents?
Some common ways a sideswipe car crash can happen are:
When motorists drive too fast for road conditions, they risk suddenly losing control of their vehicle. This behavior becomes especially dangerous when it’s raining or foggy or when a driver passes through a school zone and does not have ample time to avoid obstacles.
When drivers get behind the wheel after drinking or consuming drugs, their depth perception and judgment are impaired. Driving under the influence changes the way drivers process information, affects their ability to drive, and puts other drivers at risk for a sideswipe accident.
Failing to Yield
When a driver merges into another lane and fails to yield to oncoming traffic, a sideswipe collision may occur in the process.
Reckless or aggressive driving
Sideswipe collisions are common amongst drivers who behave recklessly or aggressively by frequently changing lanes, tailgating other drivers, or speeding. Weaving through traffic is another form of reckless driving that commonly causes sideswipe accidents. When drivers are enraged and allow their emotions to control the way they drive, road rage, they risk putting themselves and others on the road in harm’s way.
A driver who isn’t paying attention to the road may not notice if another vehicle drifts into their lane. If the distracted driver encounters another car, it can cause a sideswipe collision. Additional factors that lead to sideswipe collisions are drowsy or fatigued driving, merging from one lane without exercising adequate caution, and failing to check for vehicles in your blind spot. Drivers need to check their rearview mirrors and do a head check before they merge into an adjacent lane. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a sideswipe collision accident due to another driver’s negligence, consider how our attorneys can help with your case.
What Type of Injuries Can Happen in a Sideswipe Collision?
Injuries sustained from a sideswipe accident can have a long-term impact on your life. Even in minor crashes, individuals may sustain injuries that require long-term rehabilitation. When a larger, commercial vehicle hits a smaller vehicle, these accidents typically result in severe injuries or death. In severe accidents such as the one described previously, the victim may never fully recover from the emotional or physical trauma. Here are some of the most common injuries people suffer in sideswipe collisions:
- Fractured or broken bones
- Superficial abrasions
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Bruises and cuts
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head and neck injuries
Why You Should Seek Medical Attention After a Sideswipe Collision
Even if you feel fine after an accident, seeing a doctor and receiving a proper medical diagnosis will help you preserve your health. Symptoms of certain injuries, like a brain injury, can take several hours to develop but can become serious very quickly. Another example of an injury that doesn’t show apparent signs or symptoms is internal bleeding. Exhibiting low blood pressure can be one sign of internal bleeding, which can take hours to develop and detect on your own. Don’t wait for irreparable damage to occur; talk to a qualified medical professional who can determine if you’ve sustained an injury after a car accident. Medical records, including records of doctor’s visits, will serve as evidence and be beneficial in your case. While injuries in sideswipe accidents tend to be less serious than head-on collisions, even a soft tissue injury can be painful and debilitating. A soft tissue injury can consist of muscle damage or damage to tendons or ligaments. This type of injury typically affects body parts that you rely on to work, exercise, or live your everyday life comfortably. If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe collision, the weight of medical expenses and lost wages can become enormous. As a victim of a car collision, you have the right to hold the responsible party accountable and seek compensation for your losses. Consider how our experienced car accident lawyers can help you obtain the compensation you need to recover sooner.
What You Should Do After a Sideswipe Collision
Receiving fair compensation in your case will often depend upon the steps you take in the aftermath of an accident. Saying or doing the wrong thing can negatively impact your claim. After a sideswipe accident, obtain contact and insurance information from the at-fault driver. Take down the names and numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident. Seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Follow all your doctor’s instructions and attend all appointments and physical therapy sessions. Make sure you keep copies of all documents pertaining to your injuries or property damages you sustained in the accident. Keeping copies of these documents will ensure that your auto accident attorney can build a strong claim on your behalf. Examples of these types of documents can include medical records, bills, and a copy of the police report. Refrain from posting any details of the accident on social media. An insurance adjuster looking to diminish the value of your claim will misconstrue or use against you any statement you make online. Finally, never speak to any insurance company without consulting your lawyer. A skilled car accident lawyer can negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf so they don’t take your words out of context in a way that hurts your claim.
How is Fault Determined in Sideswipe Accident Cases?
The driver who makes the lane change is, in most cases, presumed to be responsible for the collision. When drivers make a lane change, they must check blind spots before safely merging into the adjacent lane. A presumption of negligence typically falls on the driver who makes a reckless or unsafe lane change. The liable driver will be responsible for covering the cost of damages and injuries related to the accident.
Sideswipe Collision FAQ
How can I protect my legal rights after a sideswipe collision?
If you were the victim of a sideswipe collision, you have a legal right to seek compensation for your losses and injuries. Insurance companies are in the business of profit, which is why they are notorious for offering settlement offers for far less than the victim needs to fully recover. Hiring an attorney to protect your legal interests is the best way to ensure you receive fair compensation.
What if I was involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance?
Even if a driver doesn’t carry auto insurance or fails to have adequate coverage, you may still have a chance to receive compensation for your injuries and losses through your own uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage policy. Coverage in uninsured, underinsured, and personal injury protection policies are available immediately and do not require that a determination be made regarding who was at fault for the accident. As long as the covered party suffered injuries in a car collision, they can get their medical bills paid right away through their own auto coverage.
What should I do after filing my claim?
After hiring a lawyer, understanding what you should do next can make the claims process feel less stressful. Hiring a lawyer will not only put you in the best position to protect your legal rights, but your lawyer can also file a claim with the liable driver’s insurance company on your behalf. In most cases, your auto accident attorney will have to work to prove who was at fault for the crash. Our lawyers have experience dealing with insurance adjusters who often try to place blame on victims. Schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers to learn about what options are available in your case.
Will I have to go to court for a sideswipe accident?
Car accident cases involving sideswipe collisions typically settle out of court, with very few of them going to trial. Even though you probably won’t have to go to trial, our lawyers are ready to stand before a judge and fight for your right to full compensation. If your case goes to trial, our attorneys will also prepare you by instructing you on what to say and how you should dress.
How can I prove who the negligent driver was in my accident claim?
Proving who the negligent party was in your case involves a set of criteria. To make a negligence claim against another driver, you will have to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care, breached that duty, causing an accident in the process that resulted in injuries and damage to your vehicle.
What Forms of Compensation Can I Seek After a Sideswipe Collision?
Because all car accidents are unique, the type and amount of compensation you stand to receive in your claim will depend on several factors of your case. In accidents with significant property damage or serious injuries, settlement awards tend to be higher. Some types of compensation you can receive after a sideswipe accident include:
- Medical costs (including future expenses)
- Cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Loss of future earnings
- Lost earning capacity
The physical injuries victims of sideswipe collisions face range from relatively minor to severe. In serious cases, victims of sideswipe accidents will face life-long challenges due to their physical impairments. Victims of these crashes may also face job loss, mental anguish, or debt from medical costs. If you or a loved one was the victim of a sideswipe collision, consider how an experienced car accident lawyer can help craft solid legal strategies to obtain the maximum compensation in your claim.