Sideswipe accidents are the third most common type of crash according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, causing 863,000 accidents in 2018, with Pennsylvania alone recording 8,357 sideswipe accidents in 2017. All too often, the driver causing the accident will continue on, not stopping or even realizing they’ve hit another vehicle, leaving victims unsure of how to receive compensation for injuries and property damage.
Sideswipes can occur when your vehicle is moving or parked on the side of the road. Thankfully, these accidents are not commonly fatal, but they can still cause serious damage to your vehicle and cause serious injuries. Even if the driver who hit you has fled the scene, you may still have recourse under the law. The lawyers at Thistle Law can help you determine the value of your claim and help you recover the compensation you need to get your life back after a serious sideswipe accident.
The Most Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents
Sideswipe accidents often happen when a driver drifts out of their lane and collides with the car driving or parked alongside them. This can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Driving under the influence
- Driver failing to check their blind spot before a lane change
- Distracted drivers
- Reckless driving
- Road rage
- Failing to signal for a lane change
- Drivers trying to merge into the same lane
Large trucks and commercial vehicles are often responsible for sideswipe accidents simply due to their size. Drivers of these vehicles can have a hard time seeing other cars, and have much larger blind spots than drivers of personal vehicles. And accidents involving these large trucks can have catastrophic results, especially when they are traveling at high speeds along a highway.
How to Determine Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?
Though you may assume that the driver who collided with your vehicle should be the one held at fault, it may be the case that multiple parties are responsible for a sideswipe accident. These parties could include:
- Additional drivers: If the driver of another vehicle forced the vehicle out of its lane and into yours, that driver may also be at fault for the collision. The insurers of both drivers may try to say the other driver was more at fault, leading to delays in your compensation
- Employers: If a driver causes an accident in their work vehicle due to policies put in place by their employer, the employer may be held partly responsible
- Automotive manufacturers: If a faulty product was responsible for the sideswipe
- Bars and restaurants: If a bartender knowingly sold alcohol to an intoxicated customer who then was involved in an accident
- Local government agencies: If a hazardous road condition that was reasonably preventable caused the collision
A common scenario for a sideswipe accident is when one vehicle moves into a lane that another vehicle is already occupying. The accident then becomes a battle of “he said, she said” with both parties claiming the other is at fault. This often occurs on fast-moving highways, so getting independent witnesses can be challenging, and it is often necessary to bring in an expert to determine fault.
How to Prove Damages in a Sideswipe Accident
Victims of sideswipe accidents may suffer from injuries that are much more severe than they first present. Whiplash is a common injury sustained in a sideswipe, along with neck and shoulder pain. While these may seem like minor ailments, they can cause serious repercussions for many individuals, and require months of medical treatment and rehabilitation.
An insurance company may try to deny you payment for injuries sustained in a sideswipe accident because they believe that whiplash or neck pain are not “serious” medical conditions. If this is the case, you will need an experienced attorney on your side to help you prove the extent of your injuries. The lawyers at Thistle Law can help you gather the testimony of medical experts and compile the evidence needed to prove your case.
Proving who is at fault in a sideswipe accident is often complicated and requires experts in accident reconstruction along with the testimony of medical experts. The attorneys at Thistle Law can help connect you with the team you need to prove the extent of your damages and help you receive the compensation you deserve. You can call us at 215-525-6824 or fill out our online form to speak to someone today.