Per data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), there are 242,000 sideswipe crashes annually. More than 2,500 deaths each year and about 27,000 injuries happen from sideswipe accidents. Sideswipe crashes account for 2.7 percent of deadly crashes of all types. Many sideswipe accidents involve severe injuries. In a sideswipe crash, even at lower speeds, motorists may lose control, and the vehicle may rebound or collide in other ways.
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Any crash can cause injuries. Nevertheless, occupants usually have greater protection from a car’s front and back ends than from the car’s sides. Since a sideswipe can directly impact the side of a car, serious car injuries and losses often result. Anyone in a sideswipe crash should contact a car accident lawyer immediately.
What Is a Sideswipe Collision?
Sideswipe accidents happen when the side of one car strikes, scratches, or makes contact with the side of another. The cars may travel in the same direction or in opposing directions. They can occur between two cars in motion or between a car in motion and a stopped car.
Reasons for Sideswipe Collisions
More than 90 percent of all car collisions in the U.S. involve driver mistakes – sideswipes included. A negligent motorist might be looking at the highway ahead but may not be paying attention to what is occurring at the car’s sides.
A sideswipe collision can happen anywhere on the highway, but it frequently happens at intersections or freeways.
They occur for a variety of reasons, but standard causes include:
- Driver distraction: Occasionally, a motorist looks away from the road, takes their hands off the wheel, or is not paying attention. Any action that distracts attention from driving can lead to an accident, even for a few seconds. Everyday distractions include texting, cell phone use, navigation systems, the radio, eating, or grooming. Such distractions pull a motorist’s concentration away from the highway, occasionally causing them to float out of their lanes or forget to check a blind spot when making a lane change.
- Driving under the influence: Drugs and alcohol slow judgment and slow motorist reaction times. A motorist under the influence may stray out of their lane or underestimate the distance between cars.
- Driver fatigue: The National Safety Council likens drowsy driving to impaired driving. Fatigued motorists can fall asleep at the wheel, often swerving into another lane. Every year, about 100,000 police-reported collisions involve fatigued driving.
- Aggressive driving: Many dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding, unlawful passing, cutting another car off, or running another motorist off the road, lead to sideswipe crashes.
Typical scenarios that can lead to sideswipe crashes include:
- A high-clearance truck, for which the motorist fails to check their blind spot during a lane shift.
- Sideswipe collisions often occur when a car is trying to merge onto another street or highway. When merging from an on-ramp, the merging vehicle may fail to yield to road traffic, or another motorist may forget to change to the opposite lane if doing so is reasonably secure.
- Someone makes a lane shift and fails to inspect their mirrors and blind spots or is merely distracted.
- When there’s more than one turn lane and two cars are turning simultaneously, one of the cars may underestimate the distance, turn too tightly or too wide, and cause a sideswipe occurrence with the car next to it.
- Motorists may try to cut in front of another car or underestimate the space between two vehicles.
- If a motorist is going past a prior accident or emergency vehicles on the roadway side and fails to move one lane over safely, they may sideswipe cars on the side of the road.
- A motorist is going too fast in rainy or winter conditions.
- Motorists may sideswipe parked cars or cars trying to leave a parking space and enter the stream of traffic.
Injuries Stemming From Sideswipe Collisions
The injuries and car damage after a sideswipe accident can vary widely. These include the size of the car, the speed, and the power of the crash. Injuries and losses may be especially intense if the collision involves a smaller car and a much larger vehicle. Occasionally, even a small impact that does relatively insignificant damage to the cars can cause one or both motorists to lose control and end up in secondary crashes, which may cause severe injuries.
Blunt trauma to the body may cause an impact injury. Shattered glass or other pointed objects can cause penetrating injuries. Those sitting in the back on the same side as the crash impact (often kids) are more helpless. Those sitting in the front benefit from more refined safety technology. If an individual has been in a car crash, even if they are not in pain or believe their injuries are insignificant, it’s best to seek medical guidance.
Occasionally, signs may not show up for hours or days, or the victim may have a dangerous internal injury if left untreated.
Typical injuries include:
- Back and spinal cord injuries: The nerves of the spinal cord control movement and feeling. Thus, a spinal cord injury may cause partial or total paralysis.
- Traumatic brain injuries: These may cause physical, functional, and emotional impairments. The consequences can take a massive physical, psychological and financial toll on victims and their families.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a neck injury due to the neck’s violent, quick back-and-forth movement.
- Internal injuries: Weak organs such as the spleen, liver, and kidney can burst or cause internal bleeding.
- Amputated and crushed limbs: A limb may become pinned in the crashed car.
- Broken bones and orthopedic injuries: These wounds are often painful, slow to mend, and may lead to long-term physical disabilities.
- Burns: These unfortunate injuries have a high risk of infection and often cause permanent disfiguring scars.
Who Is Responsible for a Sideswipe Collision?
Motorists must stay in their travel lane unless turning or making a lane shift. When making a lane shift, a motorist must first use the proper turn signal and check to ensure that the lane they’re driving into is free of traffic so that driving into the lane will not pose a traffic risk.
In sideswipe wrecks, liability often falls on the motorist who fails to stay in their lane. One exception is when two cars try to join the same lane of the highway at the same time or when the sideswipe happens because of an unrelated accident.
To establish liability in a sideswipe or other kind of traffic-related collision, you must demonstrate that:
- The responsible party owed you a duty of care: Motorists have a duty of care to use the car safely and legally.
- The responsible party breached this duty of care: The breach of duty means the motorist’s negligent conduct that led to the collision, such as failure to adequately maintain their lane, inattentive driving, or alcohol impairment.
- The breach caused the wreck: There must be evidence that the responsible party’s breach caused the injury, resulting in the victim’s injuries and costs.
The breach of duty must harm a person. The injured individual often believes that the other motorist in a sideswipe accident should pay for their damages. In many circumstances, they are right. Nevertheless, numerous parties, including people, employers, or governmental entities, can also encounter legal liability for compelling a sideswipe accident.
Potentially responsible parties may include:
- Motorists whose acts behind the wheel led to a sideswipe collision
- Employers of motorists who cause a sideswipe crash while driving a work-related truck or car;
- Auto manufacturers, if a defective auto or part malfunctions and contributes to the cause of a sideswipe crash accident;
- If an unreasonably treacherous road condition leads to a sideswipe crash, local and state government agencies and contractors are accountable for highway design and maintenance.
Damages for Car Accident Injuries
Getting full and appropriate compensation for an injured individual means accounting for losses and comprehending how the accident impacted the victim’s life.
Although every case is unique, compensation may include such losses as:
- The victim incurred medical expenses to treat the injuries suffered in the accident. This includes emergency care, hospitalization, physician visits, medicine, medical equipment, long-term care, and treatment.
- Non-medical costs the victim needs because of their damages, such as assistance to help with the chores of daily living, childcare, dog walking, or transportation.
- Lost income, including both past and future earnings. In some circumstances, the victim never returns to their earlier job.
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, broken personal relationships, and reduced quality of life resulting from the sideswipe collision accident and injuries.
- Punitive damages to penalize overly careless or outrageous conduct and prevent such actions in the future.
What Should You Do After a Sideswipe Crash?
In the aftermath of a crash, you may be in pain, disoriented, or uncertain of what to do next.
Here are some commonly asked questions on how to proceed:
Should I seek medical attention?
Obtain medical attention as fast as possible, even if you sense you do not have injuries from the car crash. Some injuries may not be apparent initially, and the adrenaline from the accident can hide symptoms. Postponing treatment may cause your damages to become worse. Getting medical care can also protect any future legal claim, and the medical records will be necessary evidence when establishing the injury.
Should I call the police?
Different states have different legal provisions about whether you must call 911 from the scene of a car accident. These usually involve the extent of property damage and whether anyone was injured. The police will make an accident report, which may help file a claim. You should also contact the police if you think the other party has broken the law.
Should I write down contact information?
You should take down the name, contact number, driver’s license number, license plate number, and insurance details of the person who hit you so you can file a claim with the right insurance company. Furthermore, try to get the contact details of any witnesses.
Should I call an attorney?
Always consult a car accident lawyer before signing settlement documents or delivering statements to insurance representatives. There are stringent time limits for filing lawsuits and insurance claims, so don’t wait.
When Should You Reach a Car Accident Attorney After a Sideswipe Collision?
While you may believe you have plenty of time to file a personal injury lawsuit for a sideswipe accident, there are restrictions on how long you have to initiate legal action against the parties accountable. Personal injury claims can take time to investigate and prepare and can take a long time to resolve successfully. Ensure you have plenty of time to file your claim by never waiting to contact a car accident lawyer to assess your rights and the timeline of your case.
How Can Calling a Bronx Lawyer Help You if You Are Hurt in a Sideswipe Car Accident?
Sideswipe car accident crashes create problems you must address to pursue the cash you deserve. Insurance companies and negligent parties will do anything possible to stop you from recovering the possible damages you deserve – or at least limit your financial recovery as much as possible.
A sideswipe collision lawyer can help you handle insurance companies, medical collection companies, at-fault motorists, and other interested parties during the process of your injury claim and any legal actions that proceed to court.
Sideswipe accident investigations can be tedious and need tremendous resources to discover all details pertinent to your case, including possible expert testimony and crash reconstruction that can benefit your claim. Most people do not have the time and personal resources to follow through with all the requirements to effectively prepare and file your car accident claim. However, attorneys and their staff have the ability, knowledge, proficiency, and assets to best advocate and defend your rights after an accident.
A car accident attorney can provide a free case evaluation to discuss the damages you have suffered in a sideswipe crash caused by another motorist. Contact us and never hesitate to set up your free case evaluation today.
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