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How Can I Prove Fault in a Side Swipe Accident?

Side swipe accidents usually happen when two vehicles are traveling side by side on a highway, but one vehicle is too close and hits the other on the side.

Side swipe accidents may not be as serious as other accidents, especially t-bone accidents and head-on collisions, but can still cause significant damage and injuries to the occupants of each vehicle.

If you have been hit in a side swipe accident you will want to know how you can prove fault so that you can make a personal injury claim against the other driver. It is always best to talk to a personal injury lawyer before making a claim.

What are the Reasons for a Side Swipe Accident?

Side swipe accidents should not be confused with side impact or t-bone accidents. The latter are caused when two vehicles approach each other and collide at right angles or laterally.

By contrast, a side swipe accident happens when two vehicles are alongside each other, traveling in the same direction. One or other of the two vehicles is usually overtaking or wanders across a lane and becomes too close to another vehicle in the other lane.

A side swipe accident could happen because an overtaking driver has made a poor decision to overtake, or a driver who wanders over into another lane does so because of fatigue, or distraction. In rare circumstances, the driver who is being overtaken might have been forced to swerve to avoid another vehicle, an animal or other hazard that suddenly appears.

How Can I Prove Fault in a Side Swipe Accident?

Determining Fault in a Side Swipe Accident

It is a general rule that whoever is overtaking should only do so if it is safe to do so. If a driver overtakes on a one lane highway and side swipes the vehicle overtaken, then this means that fault almost always lies with the overtaking driver. There may be rare exceptions.

For example, if the driver overtaken on a one land road falls asleep, or is distracted sufficiently to not see the other driver about to overtake, then he / she may swerve to the left and swipe the overtaking vehicle.

If the accident takes place on a multi-lane highway, the overtaking driver should be able to avoid a side swipe as long as he / she keeps within the outside lane. Fault may be with the overtaking driver only if the vehicle veers into the inside lane during the overtaking maneuver. Fault may be with the overtaken driver if he/ she crosses the lane marking.

Fault may be determined by an inspection of the damage done to each vehicle, an examination of photographic evidence after the vehicles come to rest, witness statements, the police report compiled at the crash scene and a detailed damage report from the car repair yard that deals with your damaged vehicle.

Will You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You are advised to use a personal injury lawyer after any side swipe accident. Determining fault can be difficult and there may be a need for help to prove negligence.

If there is some doubt about who was to blame and there is a chance that both drivers share some degree of fault, your lawyer may help explain the state’s comparative negligence rules that may still allow you to obtain a percentage of the compensation you have claimed.

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