Sideswipe collisions often cause injury and death. After such a collision, you may need answers to several questions.
What Is a Sideswipe Collision?
When the side of one vehicle contacts the side of another motor vehicle, then a sideswipe collision occurs. The colliding vehicles may travel in the same direction or opposing directions. These collisions are relatively common.
Sideswipe collisions are different from a side-impact collision, in which one vehicle strikes another in a T-formation. Though sideswipes are generally among the more minor types of accidents, they can have significant consequences.
Why Do Sideswipe Collisions Happen?
Statistically, sideswipe collisions are likely to result from driver error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motorists cause about 94 percent of accidents.
A sideswipe accident can result from:
- Motorist impairment: The dangerous use of alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs can increase one’s risk of causing a sideswipe accident.
- Motorist distraction: Texting, eating, drinking, phone calls, in-person conversations, and other types of distraction can contribute to a sideswipe collision.
- Reckless driving: Motorists who change lanes without checking blind spots, make dangerous turns, and engage in other types of reckless driving can cause sideswipe accidents.
- Failure to maintain one’s vehicle: Motorists must keep their vehicles roadworthy. If a motorist lets a vehicle fall into disrepair, they may cause a sideswipe collision.
Motorists have a duty of care to other motor vehicle drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This duty of care requires them to act reasonably given the current circumstances. When a motorist violates their duty of care, outcomes like accidents are often the result.
Other factors can lead to a sideswipe collision.
Your collision may result from:
- Motor vehicle defects
- Reckless actions by a pedestrian
- Dangerous road conditions
- Other circumstances beyond your control
An attorney will determine all contributing causes to your sideswipe accident.
Who Caused My Sideswipe Collision?
Liability for a sideswipe accident depends on the facts of the collision.
Relevant questions when determining liability for a sideswipe collision include:
- Did one or more motorists ignore traffic signals or rules?
- Did one or more motorists veer out of their lane?
- What does the police report say about the cause of the accident
- What do witness accounts suggest about fault for the accident?
The fault for an accident depends on the total picture of evidence. Your attorney will gather all relevant evidence and information as they determine liability for your collision.
How Do You Prove Fault for a Sideswipe Collision?
Fault in motor vehicle accident cases may often depend on the negligence standard. When someone is negligent, they violate their duty of care. This means the person acts unreasonably based on the circumstances.
There is a framework for proving negligence, which generally requires an attorney to:
- Establish that the negligent party had a duty of care to the victim
- Prove that the negligent party breached their duty of care to the victim
- Establish that the negligent party’s failures caused a harmful event—in this case, a sideswipe collision
- Show the damages that resulted from the negligent party’s failures
Other standards of liability can apply. Strict liability generally applies to manufacturers of defective vehicles, for example. An attorney can assign fault to each liable party based on proven legal principles.
What Should You Do After a Sideswipe Collision?
If you’ve been in a sideswipe collision, then hiring an attorney may be the clearest way to protect your interests. You may also need to take other steps, like reporting your injuries and documenting your damages. Hiring an attorney will allow you to focus on your recovery while they lead your case for awards.
Why Hiring a Lawyer is the Right Move
If you find a suitable attorney to lead your case, you will not have to worry about your claim or lawsuit.
Your attorney will handle every possible step of your case, including:
- Investigation of your sideswipe collision: An investigation is a key development in a claim or lawsuit, setting the stage for negotiations. Your attorney may secure witness accounts, video footage, police reports, physical evidence, and other proof of liability and damages.
- Documentation of your damages: Your attorney will seek all available documentation of your damages, from medical bills to doctors’ accounts and other proof of losses. Your attorney will also determine the monetary cost of all of your damages.
- Settlement negotiations: Though settling is more common than trials in civil cases, no two cases are the same. Your attorney will seek a fair settlement but should remain open to trial if settlement talks are unsuccessful.
- Trial: If you must go to trial, your lawyer will lead your case. The trial process may be especially unfamiliar to non-lawyers, and having an attorney on your side can be crucial if your case goes to court.
An attorney must also defend their client’s rights at all times. Insurance companies, defendants in your case, and other attorneys may all have reason to violate your rights. An effective attorney will shield you from each of these parties.
What Should You Do While Your Attorney Leads Your Case?
Your attorney may give you a clear directive once they accept your case: don’t give any on-record statements and focus on your recovery. An attorney will provide regular case updates. If you have any questions or concerns, you should call your car accident attorney. If insurance companies or other attorneys contact you, you may generally refer them to your attorney.
While your attorney leads your case, you may:
- Receive medical treatment
- Attend to personal responsibilities
- Take your mind off of your claim or lawsuit
An attorney is more than a legal advisor. They are a benefit to your health and wellbeing.
Call an Attorney Today for a FREE Consultation
Don’t wait to contact a qualified law firm about your sideswipe collision. You may have a limited time to take legal action, and an attorney will start your case as soon as possible. Call a law firm of your choice today for a free consultation.