Although motor vehicle accidents often result in devastating injuries and excruciating pain, some people do not treat all of these accidents equally. In fact, one of the most overlooked types of car accidents on the road is a sideswipe accident.
Many people tend to assume that these accidents are not very serious and, if they occur, they will result in very little damage. However, in reality, these accidents can result in potentially tragic outcomes that can lead to debilitating trauma that can forever change a person’s life.
That is why, in the below guide, we will go over the specifics of these accidents, what these crashes entail, and your legal options if a sideswipe accident injures you.
What Is a Sideswipe Collision?
According to the National Safety Commission, approximately 242,000 sideswipe accidents occur in the United States every year, resulting in over 2,500 fatalities and 27,000 injuries. When they occur at significant speeds on busy roads, the impact can cause both vehicles to lose control and result in catastrophic collisions.
A sideswipe collision typically occurs when two vehicles run into each other lengthwise along the side of each car. Although most of these crashes happen when two automobiles are traveling in the same direction, they can also occur when cars are traveling in opposite directions with no median separating them or when a motorist sideswipes a stationary object or parked vehicle.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents
Numerous factors can contribute to a sideswipe accident, such as when a driver changes lanes, drifts out of a lane, over-steers, or under-steers. Yet, although these accidents are often the result of some form of reckless driving, there are many other common causes for this devastating accident, including:
#1. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a motorist’s attention away from driving, including texting on the phone, eating and drinking, or talking to people in the car. As a result, if individuals are not paying attention to the road in front of them, they can start driving out of their lanes and into the path of other drivers, leading to catastrophic sideswipe crashes.
#2. Intoxicated Driving
If a driver is operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or even some prescription medications, it can interfere with their ability to make safe decisions, slow their reaction times, and impact their ability to drive. For example, drunk drivers may swerve, fail to see blind spots when switching lanes, or take part in unsafe driving practices, which can easily result in a sideswipe accident.
#3. Road Rage
Road rage refers to a type of aggressive behavior exhibited by motorists. These behaviors often include physical threats, insults, or dangerous driving methods targeted at other drivers on the road to intimidate or release frustration.
However, when a motorist decides to take part in these aggressive behaviors, they can put other drivers, pedestrians, passengers, and motorcyclists at risk for being involved in a sideswipe accident.
#4. Failure to Yield
If a driver decides to merge without checking for other vehicles or fails to yield to the right of way, it can often lead to a sideswipe collision.
#5. Other Causes
Although the above are some of the more common causes of a sideswipe accident, they are not the only reasons behind these accidents. For instance, inclement weather, slippery roads, speeding, fatigued driving, and even bad timing can lead to the possibility of these dangerous sideswipe accidents.
However, no matter how your sideswipe accident occurred, reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as you can. These attorneys can go over the details of your sideswipe collision, determine if you can pursue legal action against the wrongful party who caused the crash and help you fight for the compensation you need.
The Types of Injuries that Can Result from a Sideswipe Accident
Due to the nature of a sideswipe accident, the harm that results can include various types of injuries.
However, even though injuries will vary in severity and type depending on the circumstances of the crash, sideswipe accidents frequently result in:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Lacerations and penetrating injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Crushed limbs
- Amputated limbs
- Back and neck injuries
- Wrongful death
The Possible Financial Damages You Can Pursue Following a Sideswipe Accident
If you sustained significant injuries and losses in a sideswipe accident due to another person’s reckless, negligent, or intentional actions, you may be entitled to different types of monetary damages. These damages are often broken down into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic Damages: These damages refer to the actual and verifiable losses that result from an accident.
- Medical bills related to hospital stays, medications, doctor visits, emergency services such as ambulance rides, assistive medical devices, and surgeries
- Future ongoing medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property damages, including replacement costs and repair expenses
- Domestic replacement services
- Other out-of-pocket costs
Non-economic Damages: These damages refer to compensation for non-monetary, subjective losses, such as:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of society and companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Reputation loss
- Limb loss
Yet, to figure out what types of compensation you may pursue following a sideswipe accident, you should reach out to a knowledgeable sideswipe accident lawyer. These attorneys can figure out which of these damages may apply to your case and prepare the strongest case possible to go after maximum recovery.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights after a Sideswipe Collision
If you have been injured in a sideswipe accident, the last thing you will want to do is to take action after this horrifying incident. However, the steps you take after a motor vehicle accident not only can keep you safe but protect your legal rights. For these reasons, following a sideswipe accident, you should consider doing the following:
#1. Call 911 Right Away
Following a sideswipe accident, you need to call 911 immediately. This is the quickest way to alert the local police officers of the accident, get your crash on record, and notify emergency medical personnel that you or someone else at the scene needs immediate medical help.
Once these officers arrive, they will investigate the accident scene and create a report. If you submit a claim to the insurance company or decide to pursue legal action, this report can provide you with valuable evidence regarding what happened and who was at fault for the crash.
#2. Gather Evidence
If possible, you should try to take as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible. This should include pictures of your visible injuries, the vehicles involved in the accident, the position of these vehicles on the road, skid marks on the street, traffic signs near the accident, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and any other evidence that can help show what happened.
These pictures, along with the police report, can help your lawyer reconstruct the accident and allow them to advocate for your needs much more effectively. However, if your injuries prevent you from obtaining this evidence, do not worry. Once you retain an experienced sideswipe collision lawyer, these skilled legal professionals can work on getting this evidence for you.
#3. Get Information From the Other Drivers
Try to get information from the other drivers involved in the accident, including their names, contact details, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
Yet, as you talk to these individuals, you want to make sure you watch what you say. This is because the comments you make can come back and hurt your case, often affecting the amount of money you can receive. For these reasons, it is best to avoid making any definitive statements about the accident, taking the blame for what happened, or apologizing for anything that transpired.
#4. Check for Witnesses
If anyone at the scene saw what happened, try to get their names and contact details. These witnesses can provide your attorney with helpful information regarding the sideswipe collision and provide testimony that can help substantiate your case.
#5. Get Treated by a Doctor ASAP
Even if an ambulance does not take you to the emergency room following a sideswipe accident, see a doctor as soon as possible. Serious injuries such as traumatic brain injuries can take some time to manifest. However, if you do not get this condition checked out promptly, the more dangerous and deadly it can become. For these reasons, you should get to a doctor as quickly as you can after the crash.
In addition, this prompt medical treatment can also help your legal case since the insurance company will be looking for any reason to deny your claim. As a result, if you decide to delay treatment or not get seen by a doctor after your accident, these insurance companies will use this lack of treatment to argue that your injuries are not that severe or a result of a subsequent event.
When a doctor evaluates you after your collision, they can provide you with a medical report that will detail all your injuries and even provide you with a direct link between your sideswipe accident and the harm you endured.
#6. Watch What You Say to the Insurance Companies
Although most people assume that the insurance company will want to help them after an accident, it is important to remember that these companies are a business, and like other businesses, they want to make money. This means that the less they pay you for your claim, the more money they will make.
Consequently, insurance adjusters will try to contact you shortly after your accident, when you are at your most vulnerable so that they can try to get you to say something that can hurt your case and affect the amount of money you receive.
As a result, before you talk to these insurers, you should reach out to an experienced sideswipe accident attorney. These lawyers can not only help you prepare to be able to handle these insurance companies and their deceitful practices, but they can even take on these conversations on your behalf, ensuring that you do not say something that can hurt your case.
Contact an Experienced Sideswipe Accident Lawyer Today and Get the Legal Help You Need
No matter the circumstances surrounding your sideswipe accident, if another person was the cause of this crash and your harm, an experienced sideswipe accident attorney who understands these accidents’ legal nuances can help you on your road to recovery.
Once these lawyers are retained, they can:
- Determine the viability of your legal claim and figure out what legal options you can pursue.
- Investigate your accident and obtain the documents and the evidence needed to prove fault and damages.
- Hire experts, including doctors, engineers, financial specialists, and accident reconstructionists, to validate your claim.
- Ensure that legal motions and filings are prepared correctly and filed before the statute of limitations expires.
These lawyers can also tackle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side, including the insurance company, and fight for a fair settlement offer. However, if the other side is unwilling to negotiate fairly or provide you with a just settlement amount, skilled legal professionals are ready to take your case to court and fight for maximum compensation.