How Is Fault Determined in a Sideswipe Accident?

Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

side swipe car accident

Unfortunately, sideswipe accidents are common in the US, especially on high-speed roads like highways and freeways. In heavy traffic, drivers make more frequent lane changes, which can lead to a sideswipe collision. These kinds of accidents can often happen if a driver is distracted, fatigued, or impaired, causing them to drift out of their lane and collide with another vehicle. 

If you sustained injuries and losses in a sideswipe accident caused by another person’s negligence, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. Alpha Accident Lawyers can help you pursue financial compensation from the negligent party. Call (800) 544-8000 for a free consultation.


What Is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles traveling in the same direction collide with each other along their sides. This type of collision typically happens when one vehicle drifts or changes lanes into the path of another vehicle without adequate clearance. 

Or, the vehicles could be moving in opposite directions, and the side of one vehicle hits the side of another vehicle. The damage in sideswipe accidents can range from minor scrapes and dents to severe impacts, causing significant property damage and injuries. 


Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe accidents occur for various reasons. The main cause of sideswipe accidents is driver error or negligence. Common causes of these crashes include:

1. Failure to Check Blind Spots

A significant factor in sideswipe accidents is the failure to check blind spots. Drivers who do not properly check their blind spots before changing lanes or merging can inadvertently sideswipe another vehicle. 

2. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving involves engaging in non-driving activities behind the wheel. When drivers text, use their phone, eat, or utilize in-car technologies, it diverts their attention away from the road, leading to lane drifting and unintentional sideswiping of nearby vehicles. In 2022, about 3,308 people lost their lives in distracted driving accidents.

3. Speeding

Speeding, a factor in 29% of traffic fatalities, is another common cause of sideswipe accidents. High speeds reduce the time drivers have to react to changing traffic conditions, making it more difficult to slow down and stop. When speeding drivers attempt to change lanes or overtake other cars without sufficient space, it can cause a serious sideswipe accident.

4. Failure to Adjust Speed to Traffic Conditions

Failing to adjust speed to match traffic conditions can also lead to sideswipe accidents. When drivers move significantly faster or slower than the flow of traffic, they create hazardous conditions that can result in sideswipes.

5. Impaired Driving

Each day, about 37 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes across the US. Impaired driving significantly impacts a driver’s ability to focus, react, and make sound judgments. Alcohol, drugs, and even certain medications can impair cognitive functions, coordination, and vision, making it difficult to maintain a single lane or judge distances accurately. Impaired drivers may drift into adjacent lanes without realizing it or execute unsafe lane changes, unaware of nearby vehicles.

6. Reckless Driving

Reckless driving is dangerous and can catch other drivers off guard. When drivers engage in aggressive maneuvers such as tailgating, speeding, crossing multiple lanes at once, and frequent lane changes, they increase the risk of sideswiping other vehicles on the road. 

7. Failure to Merge Correctly

Improper merging is a frequent cause of sideswipe car accidents, particularly in areas where lanes converge, such as on-ramps and highway exits. Drivers who fail to yield the right-of-way, merge at inappropriate speeds, or do not signal their intentions properly can sideswipe other vehicles.


Determining Liability in Sideswipe Accidents

police report

If you were injured in a sideswipe accident caused by another person’s negligence, you can pursue compensation in a personal injury claim. Liability in sideswipe accidents is determined based on which driver exhibited negligence leading to the collision. Every driver on the road has a duty to drive safely and obey traffic laws. When a driver violates a traffic law or makes a reckless maneuver, they may be held liable.

For example, if one driver was engaging in aggressive driving to overtake another vehicle or failed to check their blind spot, they may be deemed at fault. Conversely, if both drivers were found to be engaging in unsafe driving practices, the liability may be shared. For instance, if one driver was speeding while the other was distracted and drifted out of their lane, both may share responsibility for the accident.

Therefore, you will need to gather evidence and prove that the other driver was negligent. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you build a strong claim and prove the other driver’s negligence.

Key factors in determining liability include:

  • The position of the vehicles
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • CCTV camera footage
  • Dashcam footage
  • Police reports

In more complex cases, you may need expert testimonials to strengthen your case. Personal injury attorneys have connections with experts, including medical professionals, accident reconstructionists, and engineers.


Common Injuries Sustained in Sideswipe Car Accidents

Sideswipe accidents can cause injuries, including:

  • Whiplash
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Wrongful death


Damages Available in a Personal Injury Claim

car accident scene

Victims of sideswipe car accidents may be able to pursue various damages through a personal injury claim. These can include:

  • Medical expenses: This can include emergency care, surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and rehabilitation costs.
  • Lost wages: Compensation for income lost due to the inability to work while recovering from serious injuries.
  • Pain and suffering: Victims can recover damages for physical pain and emotional distress resulting from the accident and injuries.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life: Compensation for the diminished ability to enjoy day-to-day activities and hobbies.
  • Property damage: This includes costs for repairing or replacing the vehicle and any other personal property that was damaged in the accident.


How Can I Recover Compensation for My Injuries?

A personal injury lawyer can help victims file an insurance claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to recover compensation for their losses. Car accident lawyers can help you gather compelling evidence, including medical records, bills, accident reports, and witness statements. 

They will also protect your rights and negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf. In cases where a fair settlement cannot be reached, a personal injury attorney can assist in filing a lawsuit to seek compensation through the court system.


Do I Need to Sue the At-Fault Driver?

Whether or not you need to sue the at-fault driver depends on the specifics of your case and the insurance company’s response. In many instances, a fair settlement can be reached through negotiations with the other driver’s insurance provider. 

However, if the insurer denies the claim or offers a low settlement that does not cover the extent of your damages, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit. Consulting with a personal injury attorney can help determine your legal rights and the best course of action. 


Contact Our Experienced Sideswipe Car Accident Attorney Today

If you have been involved in a sideswipe accident, it is crucial to schedule a free consultation with a sideswipe car accident attorney. At Alpha Accident Lawyers, our team of personal injury attorneys is dedicated to helping victims recover the compensation they deserve. 

We maintain a 99% success rate and have recovered millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients. Call us today for a no-obligation, free consultation.

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