If a sideswipe collision harmed you because of another person’s wrongful actions, you may have questions regarding your legal options, the steps you need to take next, and whether you can pursue financial compensation for your losses.
To clear up some of the unknowns, we will discuss everything you need to know about sideswipe collisions, including what causes these devastating accidents, the damages you can pursue after the accident, and how an experienced sideswipe accident lawyer can help you fight for the justice you deserve.
What Exactly Is a Sideswipe Collision?
A sideswipe collision refers to an accident in which the left side of one motor vehicle makes contact with another vehicle traveling alongside it. These crashes may involve two vehicles traveling in the same or opposite directions. Finally, they may result when a motorist sideswipes a parked car or another stationary object.
According to the National Safety Commission, approximately 242,000 sideswipe accidents occur in the United States every year, resulting in 27,000 injuries and 2,500 fatalities. Worse yet, when these collisions occur on highways at significant speeds, the impact may cause both vehicles to lose control and result in subsequent accidents.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents
Even though sideswipe accidents can occur for several reasons, they typically stem from a driver not paying attention to their surroundings.
- Distracted Driving: If a driver is not paying attention to the road ahead of them because they are playing with their phone, eating, checking their navigation system, or even changing the radio station, they can start drifting out of their lanes and into the paths of other motorists, resulting in devastating sideswipe accidents.
- Driving while Intoxicated: If a motorist is operating their vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it can not only slow their reaction times and their ability to make safe decisions, but it can also cause the driver to weave in and out of their lane or misjudge the distance between vehicles around them, leading to horrifying sideswipe collisions.
- Merging without Checking for Other Cars: One of the more common causes of a sideswipe accident is a failure to yield to the right of way, particularly at places where the roads merge. This often happens when the driver is not paying attention to the road, fails to check their blind spots, or is driving rather aggressively.
- Road-Rage: This type of driving behavior often involves aggressive driving, which takes on many different forms, such as speeding, tailgating, or weaving. However, when motorists decide to participate in any of these dangerous activities, they can put other motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians at risk for being involved in a sideswipe collision.
- Fatigued Driving: Drowsy driving often results when a motorist does not get enough sleep or good quality sleep. As a result, this lack of proper rest can impact their driving abilities, similar to alcohol impairment. That is why truckers and overnight workers who often do not get sufficient sleep risk dozing off while driving. This can increase their chances of veering out of their lane and sideswiping another automobile.
- Objects on the Road: If there is an object or an animal in the road, a car may try to swerve into another lane to avoid hitting the object, but this maneuver can actually cause the vehicle to sideswipe another vehicle in the adjacent lane instead.
It is also important to point out that this is not a complete list, and there may be other scenarios that can lead to a sideswipe collision, such as bad weather, poor timing, or reckless driving.
Consequently, if you have been harmed in a sideswipe accident and the cause is not indicated in the list above, you should still reach out to an experienced sideswipe accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can promptly review your accident, determine if you have a viable legal claim, and help you pursue the financial recovery you are entitled to.
Common Injuries Resulting from a Sideswipe Collision
Although the injuries that result from a sideswipe crash will often depend on the circumstances of the accident, these accidents commonly result in:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Lacerating injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Crushed or amputated limbs
- Back and neck injuries
- Wrongful death
The Things You Should Do Following a Sideswipe Collision
If you were in a sideswipe crash, the situation can often leave you feeling overwhelmed, emotional, and panicked.
However, what you do after the crash can not only keep you safe but also protect your legal rights. For these reasons, following a sideswipe crash:
#1. Contact the Local Authorities Immediately
After a sideswipe crash, you need to call 911 right away. Not only is it the quickest way to alert the local authorities of the accident and get it on record, but it is also the fastest way to notify emergency medical personnel that you or another individual needs prompt medical attention.
After the police arrive at the scene, they can perform a preliminary investigation and write down their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue legal action after your sideswipe accident, this police report can serve as valuable evidence.
#2. Gather Evidence From the Accident Scene
If you do not require immediate medical treatment and the area is safe, you should collect as much evidence from the scene as possible. This should include photos and videos of the vehicles involved in the crash, their placement on the road, your visible injuries, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, traffic signs near the accident scene, skid marks on the road, and any other evidence that can help show what happened.
#3. Check with the Other Drivers
Try to exchange information with the other drivers involved in the accident, including names, contact details, insurance information, and driver’s license numbers. However, as you speak with these other individuals, make sure you watch what you say.
This means you want to avoid taking the blame for anything that happened, apologizing for what occurred, or making any definitive statements about the accident. These types of comments can come back and hurt you later on, impacting your case and the amount of money you can receive.
#4. Check for Witnesses
If there were people at the scene who saw what happened, try to get their names and phone numbers. These witness statements can often provide you and your lawyer with valuable details regarding the incident and even help back up your claim.
However, if these witnesses are hesitant about providing you with this information, do not try to force them. Instead, leave this information gathering to an experienced sideswipe collision lawyer. These attorneys can try to obtain any evidence you cannot and get the testimony you need for your case.
#5. Get to a Doctor as Soon as You Can
Even though not every injury may appear to be severe after a sideswipe collision, you should still get to a doctor as soon as you can. This is because many devastating injuries such as internal bleeding or traumatic brain injuries can take some time to develop.
Yet, the longer you wait to get these conditions checked out, the more dangerous and deadly they can become. For these reasons, it is important to get to your doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
Plus, prompt medical treatment can also help your legal case, especially since insurance companies will try to do anything they can to deny your claim or get you less money than you deserve. As a result, by not getting to a doctor immediately after your accident, these insurance companies will try to argue that your injuries are not that serious or a result of a subsequent event.
However, when you get to a doctor shortly after your accident, these medical professionals can write down information regarding your accident and your injuries in their medical report, providing you with evidence of a direct link between the sideswipe collision and the harm you sustained.
#6. Watch out for Insurance Companies
You need to remember that the insurance company is not your friend. It is a business, and like other businesses, insurance companies want to make a profit. The less an insurance provider can pay you for your claim, the more money it’ll make in the long run.
That is why insurance adjusters will try to reach out to you shortly after an accident when you are most vulnerable so that they can get you to say something that can impact your case and affect the amount of money you receive.
However, if you reach out to an experienced sideswipe accident lawyer before you talk to these insurance adjusters, these legal professionals can not only prepare you on how to handle these insurance companies and their adjusters, but they can also take over these conversations on your behalf, ensuring that you do not say anything that can hurt your case.
The Damages You Can Pursue Following a Sideswipe Accident
If your sideswipe collision resulted from another person’s reckless, intentional, or negligent actions, you may be entitled to certain types of compensation.
In general, we can break this compensation into economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses related to hospital stay, doctors visits, medications, ambulance services, medical devices, and surgeries
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity
- Property damages
- Domestic replacement services
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium
However, the best way to determine what damages you may be entitled to after your sideswipe accident is to speak with a knowledgeable sideswipe accident attorney. These lawyers can investigate your accident, determine which of these damages you can go after, and help you fight for maximum compensation.
How Can an Experienced Sideswipe Accident Attorney Help You Following a Sideswipe Collision?
Even though no amount of money will ever help you forget the injuries, damages, and pain you endured because of a sideswipe accident, obtaining just compensation for your injuries can help you start rebuilding your life after this tragic event and give you peace of mind that justice has been served.
Better yet, you will not have to fight for these damages on your own. Rather, when you retain an experienced sideswipe accident attorney to handle your case, they can take on this legal battle on your behalf.
For instance, these lawyers can:
- Go over your sideswipe accident in detail, evaluate your claim, and figure out which legal options you can pursue.
- Go over all of the questions and concerns you have regarding your case and the legal proceedings involved.
- Investigate your sideswipe accident and secure the documents and evidence necessary to show what happened and who was at fault.
- Bring in experts such as doctors, financial specialists, engineers, and accident reconstructionists to validate your claim.
- Make sure that legal filings are adequately prepared and filed with the correct court before time runs out.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side and go after a fair settlement offer.
- Take your case to trial if the other side does not want to provide you with a just settlement offer and pursue maximum financial damages.
If a sideswipe accident disrupts your life or the life of a loved one, do not delay getting the legal help you need. Call a car accident lawyer near you today.