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What Happens if You Get Sideswiped?

What Happens if You Get Sideswiped?

Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles traveling in the same direction strike one another. These accidents may happen for various reasons, including driver distraction (or intoxication) and failure to follow standard traffic laws. Suppose you find yourself on the receiving end of a sideswipe traffic accident and suffer one or more physical injuries. In that case, you can be eligible to file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

When maximizing your recoverable monetary damages, a skilled car accident lawyer in your area can be extremely helpful. Your lawyer can promptly evaluate and investigate your accident circumstances and obtain the documents necessary to file a personal injury claim in your case. Your attorney can also handle all written and oral communications with insurance company representatives and, if necessary, pursue litigation in your case.

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Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents

A sideswipe car accident typically happens when the sides of two vehicles come into contact with each other while moving parallel. Consequently, these accidents are common on roadways with multiple lanes, such as interstate highways. Some of the most prevalent causes of sideswipe accidents include:

  • Failing to Signal Lane Changes – When a driver fails to use turn signals while changing lanes, other drivers can be unaware of their intentions. This lack of communication can lead to sideswipe accidents as neighboring drivers cannot anticipate the lane change.
  • Distracted Driving – Distractions inside a motor vehicle, such as texting, adjusting the radio, or talking on the phone, can divert a driver’s attention from the road. Inattentiveness may result in unintentional lane drifts, increasing the risk of sideswipe accidents.
  • Lane Changes Without Checking Blind Spots – One of the most common causes of sideswipe accidents is when a driver changes lanes without properly checking blind spots (including looking into their rearview and side view mirrors). If a driver fails to see another vehicle in their blind spot while attempting a lane change, they can collide along their sides.
  • Aggressive and Reckless Driving – Aggressive behaviors such as tailgating other vehicles, speeding, or attempting to pass other vehicles aggressively can result in sideswipe accidents. These behaviors increase the risk of contact between vehicles traveling in parallel lanes.
  • Failure to Yield the Right-of-way to Other Vehicles – When merging onto a highway or changing lanes, a driver who fails to yield the right-of-way to oncoming traffic may initiate a sideswipe collision. These accidents frequently occur when a merging driver misjudges the available space or assumes the adjacent lane is clear.
  • Driver Fatigue – Fatigued drivers may experience impaired focus and delayed reaction times. This can lead to unintentional drifting between lanes, increasing the likelihood of sideswipe accidents.
  • Vehicle Mechanical Failures – Mechanical failures, such as a sudden tire blowout or steering malfunction, may cause a driver to lose control and veer into an adjacent lane, resulting in a sideswipe accident. These failures sometimes result in unworkmanlike repairs or vehicle part defects.

If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe collision that a negligent driver or someone else caused, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim for monetary compensation. Your car accident attorney can investigate the circumstances leading up to your accident and handle every step of the claims-filing process in your case.

Injuries in a Sideswipe Crash

Sideswipe accidents, though sometimes less severe than certain other types of collisions (like head-on collisions), may still result in a range of injuries depending upon the vehicles’ speeds and the circumstances surrounding the accident. Common injuries in sideswipe accidents include:

Sideswipe Car Accident

  • Soft Tissue Damage – Sideswipe collisions can cause soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains. The abrupt lateral movement of the accident victim’s body at the time of impact may stretch or tear muscles, ligaments, or tendons, causing significant pain.
  • Fractures are less common in sideswipe accidents compared to more direct collisions, but bone fractures can still occur. The collision or subsequent forces may lead to broken bones, particularly in the arms or ribs, if occupants contact the vehicle’s interior, such as the window, doorframe, console, or dashboard.
  • Contusions and Bruises – contact with the vehicle’s interior or safety restraints (including seatbelts and airbags) can result in contusions and bruises. These injuries may vary in severity depending upon the force of the collision.
  • Whiplash – The sudden collision and lateral movement in a sideswipe accident may cause severe whiplash injuries. Whiplash occurs when an accident victim’s head moves forcefully back and forth in an abrupt and sometimes unexpected manner, leading to neck strain and potential damage to the cervical spine.
  • Head Injuries – Although less frequent in sideswipe collisions, occupants may still experience traumatic head and brain injuries. These injuries can range from minor concussions to more severe head injuries (such as comas) – especially if the accident victim’s head makes direct contact with the headrest, window, or other interior components.
  • Cuts and Abrasions – Broken glass or contact with sharp objects within the vehicle may cause deep cuts and abrasions. In sideswipe accidents, these injuries may result from shattered windows or displaced objects within the vehicle.
  • Emotional Distress – Sideswipe accidents can be startling and may lead to emotional distress for those involved. Anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are potential psychological consequences of the trauma associated with a forceful accident.

It’s important to note that the severity of injuries in sideswipe accidents often depends upon factors such as vehicle speed, the angle of impact, and the use of safety features like seatbelts and airbags. Seeking prompt medical attention after any accident, including sideswipes, is crucial to assess and address potential injuries, even if they initially appear minor. Accident victims should also continue their medical treatment until a healthcare provider or medical facility formally discharges them from care.

Suppose you suffered injuries in a recent sideswipe accident. In that case, a car accident lawyer in your area can begin gathering your medical records, medical bills, and other documentation. At the same time, you focus on attending your medical appointments and getting the treatment you need to make a full recovery.

How to Legally Prove a Sideswipe Accident

Proving the legal elements of a sideswipe car accident is essential when seeking compensation for damages. To establish liability and pursue a successful personal injury claim, accident victims must demonstrate the following key legal elements:

  • Duty of Care – The first legal element involves establishing that the at-fault driver owed a duty of care to others on the road. All drivers should drive responsibly and comply with traffic laws, including maintaining proper control of their vehicles to avoid side sweeps and other serious collisions.
  • Breach of the Legal Duty of Care – To prove negligence in a car accident case, the accident victim must show that the at-fault driver violated their legal duty of care somehow. In a sideswipe accident, this breach may involve failing to signal a lane change, drifting into another travel lane without first checking blind spots, or engaging in other reckless driving maneuvers.
  • Factual and Legal Causation – Causation establishes a direct link between the at-fault driver’s breach of duty and the resulting sideswipe accident. The injured accident victim must demonstrate that the other driver’s negligent actions were a substantial factor in causing the subject collision.
  • Damages – To pursue a personal injury claim and recover monetary damages, the accident victim must show that the sideswipe accident resulted in measurable damages. Damages may include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred directly from the accident.

To satisfy their legal burden of proof in a car accident case, accident victims can introduce the following types of evidence:

  • Oral or written testimony from an eyewitness to the car accident
  • Traffic violation citations that the responding police officer issued to the at-fault driver
  • Reports from accident reconstructionists detailing how the sideswipe accident happened and who was responsible
  • Medical reports that causally relate the accident victim’s injuries to the accident or establish that the accident victim sustained a permanent injury in their accident
  • A police report that the responding officer prepared
  • Surveillance footage and dashcam recordings show the accident taking place.

Successfully proving the legal elements of a sideswipe car accident requires a thorough investigation, documentation, and strategic use of evidence. A qualified car accident attorney can provide invaluable assistance in navigating the legal process, negotiating with insurance companies, and building a robust case for fair monetary compensation.

Recovering Monetary Compensation for Injuries in a Sideswipe Accident

Monetary damages after a sideswipe car accident aim to compensate an injured party for their losses due to another driver’s negligent actions. Recoverable monetary damages in a sideswipe car accident case may include compensation for all of the following:

Recovering Monetary Compensation for Injuries in a Sideswipe Accident

  • Medical Expenses – An injured accident victim is entitled to recover medical expenses related to their injuries in their sideswipe accident. These damages include costs associated with emergency medical care, hospitalization, rehabilitation, prescription medications, surgical procedures, and any ongoing medical treatment.
  • Emotional Distress – Emotional distress damages can be recoverable for psychological harm resulting from a sideswipe accident. Anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other serious mental health challenges may develop as a result of the traumatic experience and its aftermath.
  • Property Damage – Damages to the vehicle involved in the sideswipe accident are also recoverable. These damages encompass the costs of repairing or replacing the damaged vehicle and any personal property inside the vehicle that suffered damage in the accident.
  • Lost Wages – If the injured accident victim cannot work due to injuries sustained in a sideswipe accident, they can seek compensation for lost income – or loss of earning capacity if their injuries prevent them from working at their current job.
  • Pain and Suffering – Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are often available to compensate accident victims for the physical and emotional distress they experienced due to the sideswipe accident. The value of pain and suffering damages is often subjective and may involve factors like the accident circumstances and the severity of the accident victim’s injuries and losses.
  • Loss of Consortium – In cases where injuries significantly affect the accident victim’s relationships with others, including their ability to be intimate with a spouse, loss of consortium damages may be available.

To effectively recover monetary damages after a sideswipe car accident, the injured accident victim should consider the following steps:

  • Receiving Prompt Medical Attention – Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to assess and document injuries. This initial treatment establishes a clear link between the accident and all claimed medical expenses.
  • Preserving Accident-related Evidence – Preserving evidence related to the sideswipe accident, including photos, witness statements, police reports, and other relevant documentation, may become important when filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
  • Contacting Insurance Companies – Reporting a sideswipe accident to the respective insurance companies and providing them with the necessary information allows for smooth settlement negotiations later in the process.
  • Documenting Damages – Keeping detailed records of all expenses related to the sideswipe accident, including medical bills, repair estimates, and documentation of lost income, goes a long way in proving monetary compensation and damages in the case.

Recovering monetary damages after a sideswipe accident requires a strategic and thorough approach. Consulting with an experienced car accident attorney early on in the process helps to ensure that you obtain the full monetary recovery you deserve for your accident-related losses.

Call a Knowledgeable Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today

Greg Bentley, Attorney for Car Accident in Orange County

Greg Bentley, Car Accident Lawyer

If you sustain injuries in a sideswipe car accident, an experienced car accident lawyer can handle every step of your case from start to finish. Suppose the at-fault driver’s insurer does not offer you appropriate monetary compensation. In that case, your lawyer can litigate your case in the state court system and represent you during all litigation proceedings, including depositions, trials, and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) hearings. Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize your financial recovery and ensure you obtain the compensation you need to become whole again.

You must take the first step to begin the legal process. It costs nothing to seek your consultation with a personal injury attorney, and you have no obligation to hire the firm. Seek the legal counsel you need as soon as possible.