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Who is at Fault in a Side Swipe Auto Accident?

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.

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.

Auto Accident Scenario Tips - Who is at Fault in a Side Swipe Auto Accident?

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

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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