How does getting sideswiped affect my claim?

Sideswipe accidents are just as serious as head-on collisions and rear-end collisions. Per the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), approximately 242,000 sideswipe accidents happen annually. Out of these, 27,000 result in injuries and over 2,500 result in fatalities.

Sideswipe accidents must be reported just as much as any other type of accident. So how does one go about doing this?

We needed to get answers to this question, so we reached out to an attorney. Here's how attorney Alaina Sullivan responded:

What is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars collide, moving in the same or opposite direction and only contact each other on their sides. Most times, these types of accidents occur when on the interstate and one car tries to merge and ends up colliding with the other.

It could be because the other car was in that driver’s blind spot, or one or both drivers were distracted.

They can be serious if the cars are traveling at high speeds or minor depending on the circumstances of the accident.

What To Do After A Sideswipe Accident

If you have been in a sideswipe accident, you have most likely suffered a variety of damages. Even if you don’t think there are serious injuries, you should call the police. An accident report is essential to the success of your personal injury claim.

A sideswipe accident can lead to a variety of damages, and that accident report will be able to prove that the accident happened and that your specific damages were a result of the sideswipe accident.

When the officer arrives, you will need to give a detailed statement about what happened. You must provide the facts, don’t give your opinions regarding what happened. You should exchange contact information and insurance details with the other driver. If you are physically able to do so, get photos of the accident scene and of the damages. These will support your claim and help determine liability.

Ask any witnesses to provide written statements detailing what they saw. You will also need to get the names and contact details of any witnesses in case your lawyer needs to speak with them further. Corroborating witnesses can have a significant impact on the success of a personal injury claim after you were in a sideswipe accident. The more evidence you can gather, the better off you will be during the claims process.

Even if you don’t think your injuries are serious, you should be checked by a medical professional. Some injuries aren’t as obvious initially, but the pain becomes more apparent in a few days. At that point, it can be difficult to prove that you sustained these injuries in the sideswipe accident.

By establishing medical care, you are showing that you may have sustained injuries in the crash. You will need to continue with follow-up care if your injuries are serious and require more care. Such an accident can cause whiplash, bruises, lacerations, back and neck injuries, or broken bones.

Always keep detailed records and supporting evidence so you can prove that you suffered damages in the sideswipe crash. Here are some things that you can use to help your personal injury claim:

  • Accident report
  • Witness statements
  • Photos of the accident scene
  • Photos of the damages
  • Written repair estimates
  • Tow bills
  • Rental car receipts
  • Medical records
  • Medical bills
  • Proof of missed work and lost wages

When gathering your medical bills, you should gather them all. This includes physician visits, hospital bills, laboratory bills, physical therapy, chiropractic care, prescriptions, and medical devices.

You should take your vehicle to a qualified automotive repair shop to have a written estimate for repairing the damages to your vehicle. Be sure your car is checked out thoroughly because sometimes a sideswipe accident can lead to mechanical issues as well.

When requesting compensation for your damages, also consider your future damages. You may have future medical expenses or future loss of earnings because of the accident. Your attorney will review the details of your case and the evidence that you supply, then determine the best way to proceed with your personal injury claim against the other driver after a sideswipe accident.

Sideswipe Accident Injuries

Vehicle damage are not the only types of injuries that result from a sideswipe accident. Personal injuries result from side collisions. The reason for these injuries is that cars are designed with the purpose of being able to withstand hard collisions on the front and rear of the vehicle. The bumpers are designed to protect the driver and passengers from hard front or rear impacts.

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The sides of cars do not have bumpers, and occupants of the car are only protected by the thickness of the doors. A simple tap on the side of the vehicle traveling at a high speed can easily cause the car to lose control, colliding into barriers, guardrails or other cars. Rollover accidents are also a regular occurrence because of a side collision.

Common injuries that result include fractures and broken bones, neck injuries, back injuries, and internal injuries.

These injuries can be permanent in nature, forever altering the person’s quality of life.

Damages To Your Car From A Sideswipe Accident

If you have been in a sideswipe accident, your vehicle may suffer a variety of damages. Your car could suffer anything from minor dents to being considered a total loss. You will need to make sure your car is taken to a qualified auto repair shop where it can be inspected for damages.

Small paint chips and minor scratches can cost a few hundred dollars to repair, but more severe damages, such as dented hoods or demolished fenders could cost thousands of dollars to fix. Of course, a dented fender on a Maserati is more expensive to repair than a dented fender on a Ford Taurus.

Your vehicle’s age, make, and model does come into play when it comes to the cost of repairing the vehicle or the vehicles’ book value.

They will prepare you an itemized estimate, which will show all the damages and the cost for the repairing your vehicle. If the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds the book value for the car, it will be considered a total loss. In lieu of fixing the car, you will receive the fair market value for the car.

If your vehicle isn’t drivable, you will want to include the cost of towing the vehicle and the cost of any rental car in the expenses associated with the property damages.

You should take photos of the car’s damages as well as photos at the accident scene as that can help support your claim and prove that the damages were a result of the sideswipe crash as well. The more supporting documentation that you have that will support your claim, the more likely you are to succeed with it. Evidence is essential to an accident injury claim’s success.

Filing a Claim

The key to filing a claim is determination of fault. If you are not at fault and are looking to file a claim, you need to make sure you can, in fact, prove fault.

If you are not able to do this, it’s highly possible your insurance agency will deny your claim.

Fault can depend on where you were on the road when you merged and hit the other vehicle, who was merging and the point of impact.

A police report and pictures documenting the scene of the accident, as well as names and contact information for witnesses is extremely important to assist in proving fault.

Because of the importance of proving fault, it is always recommended you work with a personal injury attorney to ensure that your claim is filed properly.

You will need to provide sufficient evidence as to what happened during the accident, damage to your vehicle, medical bills, lost wages and more.

Contact an Attorney Today

It can be difficult to file a claim by yourself, and you may be wondering if you'd need help. If you do have questions about your case, a personal injury attorney can discuss the prospect of filing a claim, prepare the paperwork, file the claim, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf.

This can help make sure you get the best representation and that you are sufficiently compensated for your injuries.

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