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Who is at Fault in a Side Swipe Auto Accident?

If you have been involved in a sideswipe accident, you may be left who is liable for the damages that you suffered. To determine liability, you must be able to prove fault. There are several ways that a sideswipe accident can occur, and how your crash occurred has a major role in determining fault and liability.

You should always stay on the accident scene and call the police so they can investigate your crash and determine fault. Sideswipe crashes can be complex, and you need to make sure you do everything that you can to have supporting evidence and documentation for your case, and that you can prove what happened and how it happened.

A serious auto accident is a constant nightmare situation on any of our busy, congested highways. All it takes is to be hit by a passing vehicle on the side and a domino effect causes a multi vehicle pile-up.

Auto accidents are much more likely to kill you than an encounter with a bear in a national park, even though a bear attack almost always grabs the headlines. If you have been injured and are confident that the accident was another driver’s fault, you should talk to a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.

Any serious injury is likely to have serious financial and psychological repercussions, so it’s sensible to think about claiming compensation.

Causes of Sideswipe Accidents

There are many causes of sideswipe crashes. As an example, many sideswipe accidents are the result of merging. This could be when vehicles are changing lanes, or when a vehicle is entering into one roadway from a ramp or from another roadway.

When you are merging, you must be able to judge distance between vehicles, their speed of travel, and watch for any signals to see if any of the oncoming traffic is changing lanes. You must adjust your speed accordingly, so you can get in between vehicles safely. Merging requires attentiveness and good judgment, so you can get on the road safely.

If a driver doesn’t properly judge the distance, then the merging may occur at the wrong time, and the cars may come into contact – side against side – thus a sideswipe accident. There are many other reasons that sideswipe accidents occur.

The drivers may not be able to maintain control, or they may lose control and wander over into another lane of traffic and sideswipe another vehicle. Other causes could be distracted driving, such as texting while driving, eating while driving, or adjusting the stereo while behind the wheel.

Drivers who are operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or those who are speeding can also cause a sideswipe accident. If you have been in a sideswipe crash, you should call the police. You will want an accident report completed.

The responding officer will investigate the accident and will determine preliminary fault. This report can be used as a foundation for your personal injury claim after a sideswipe accident.

While the driver may not be completely honest about why they crashed – odds are with witnesses and with the investigation by police – the actual cause of the crash will be determined, and fault will become more evident.

The officer who completes the accident report and will want to determine who was to blame. Sometimes a citation or ticket may be issued to the at-fault driver. If the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he or she may be arrested at the accident scene or face criminal charges after they receive medical treatment for any injuries.

What To Do If You Are In A Sideswipe Accident

If you have been in a sideswipe accident, you need to preserve evidence and gather supporting documentation. You will want to ensure you protect your rights and get your claim on the right track.

You should always call the police because an accident report is needed as supporting evidence. When the officer responds to the crash, you will want to provide a detailed statement regarding what happened and stating only the facts, not opinions.

If you are physically able to do so, you should get photos of the accident scene, of the damages, and of any visible injuries. Ask all witnesses to provide detailed written statements. You should be sure to get the names of all witnesses along with their contact details. They may need to be contacted later for additional information.

It is important to establish medical care right away. You must be able to show the connection between your injuries and the sideswipe accident. Always preserve all supporting evidence for your auto accident injury case after you have been sideswiped.

When you file your personal injury claim because of your damages suffered in a sideswipe accident, you will want to make sure you include all the damages you have suffered. You will need to list all your damages and itemize the costs of your losses.

Here are some of the damages that are more commonly claimed in a personal injury claim after a sideswipe crash:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Past and future lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Property damages
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium

When you send the demand letter to the at-fault driver or their auto insurance company, you will want to ask for a dollar amount that you will be able to negotiate. The insurance company that represents the other driver will want to negotiate the value of the claim.

You will not get the dollar amount that you ask for, so be ready to negotiate the settlement. Your personal injury attorney has strong negotiation skills, so he or she will know how much to ask for the damages and the minimum amount that is a fair settlement.

Side Swipe Auto Accident Scenarios

A side swipe accident is not the same as a side impact accident. The side swipe normally happens when two vehicles are close to each other side by side and one touches or veers into the other. More rarely, both vehicles actually hit each other.

Side swipe accidents are less likely to be as serious as some other auto accidents, especially head-on or t-bone (side impact) accidents.

However, if the side swipe is by a larger vehicle hitting the side of a much smaller vehicle, then the outcome could be more serious. The relative speed of the two vehicles and the side which is swiped are also factors in determining the severity of any potential injuries.


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Side Swipe Auto Accidents: Who’s at Fault?

In a sideswipe accident, usually the driver of the vehicle that side swipes another vehicle as it passes it is at fault. If that is the case, they will be placed with 100 percent of the liability. If that is the case, then the driver at fault would be responsible to pay for all the damages related to the accident.

However, there are various other scenarios which may mean that the side swiped vehicle driver was at least partly to blame as well as the vehicle driver who swiped the other vehicle. If it was found that both parties were partially at fault for the sideswipe accident, then they each would be able to pay for 50 percent of the damages related to the accident. There are also some unique circumstances, in which a driver could be found liable for 20 percent of the damages.

It will certainly be important to sort out what exactly led to the collision and from that determine who was to blame.

If the accident happened on a one lane highway, the responsibility lies with the overtaking vehicle to pass safely and with sufficient clearance.

If the accident happened on a multi lane highway with lane markings, there is no legitimate reason why an overtaking vehicle should cross into another lane.

This can happen for a number of reasons. The overtaking driver may:

  • Have lost concentration
  • Be too tired to drive safely
  • Be distracted by something
  • Be intoxicated

In any of the above scenarios it is the overtaking driver who is at fault.

In a multi lane highway, if the overtaken vehicle drifts into an adjoining lane while another driver is overtaking and a side swipe ensues, then the first driver is probably to blame.

Help For Your Claim

You should consult with a personal injury lawyer about your sideswipe accident. Personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that the attorney will not require upfront payment. Your lawyer will not be paid until you win your case and are compensated either through a judgment or a settlement.

To share the details of your case with an attorney who handles auto accident injury cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form. There is a strict statute of limitations, so if you wait too long you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages. Be sure to get your claim on the right track today so you can get the compensation that you need to cover your losses.

Auto accidents can be quite complicated, yet deadly and expensive to deal with their aftermath. If you have been involved in any sort of auto accident and think that another driver was to blame, then you should discuss the situation first with a personal injury attorney, preferably one who has proven experience with auto accidents.

The attorney will be able to provide advice on the likelihood of success if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against the at-fault party.

If the attorney agrees that there is a good chance of winning the claim you will have a much better chance of success if you leave the negotiations to your attorney.

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