A sideswipe collision occurs when two vehicles are driving parallel to one another and they touch, or swipe, one another. This may create a dangerous situation in which one or both vehicles are swerving and lose control.
This type of collision can cause various types of accidents, including head-on collisions or rear-end collisions. A sideswipe collision may occur for various reasons, including when a vehicle drifts out of its lane, if a driver is negligent or driving recklessly, or a vehicle rolls away unattended.
A sideswipe collision may cause various injuries, including:
- Head and neck injuries;
- Broken bones; and
- Other collision-related conditions.
How Do You Handle a Sideswipe Collision Auto Accident?
A car accident of any kind is a scary and stressful event. An automobile accident may impact your health, finances, property, and insurance premiums.
Resolving these issues may be difficult and overwhelming. An attorney can help you manage the process and recover damages that may be available to you.
Who Can be Held Liable in the Event of a Sideswipe Collision?
Similar to any other automobile collision, liability may be determined based on a number of factors. These may include:
- The speed of the vehicles involved;
- If any traffic laws were broken;
- Eyewitness accounts, if available;
- Whether there was any evidence of negligence or reckless driving; and
- Driving under the influence or drunk driving.
In certain cases, accident reconstruction techniques may be used to help determine which parties were at fault.
Are There any Legal Remedies for a Sideswipe Collision?
A sideswipe collision can lead to legal action. Legal remedies for a collision lawsuit usually involve some type of monetary damages award. These awards typically cover costs including:
- Medical bills;
- Property damage;
- Lost wages; and
- Other costs the plaintiff incurred as a result of the accident.
In some cases, other consequences may be imposed, especially if driving under the influence was involved. In those cases, the driver may lose driving privileges.
Some sideswipe collisions do not involve the same amount of impact between the cars as a T-bone collision or head-on collision would cause. However, as previously noted, the danger with sideswipe collisions is if a driver loses control, as this can lead to more serious situations or more property damage.
What is Negligence?
Many automobile accident claims are based on negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care that results in injury to another individual or damages. In the context of an automobile accident, a negligent driver would be a speeding driver or a driver who is using their cell phone while they drive.
Negligence does not involve an intentional act, as it is uncommon for drivers to intend to get into a car accident. In order to succeed in a negligence lawsuit, the plaintiff must show the other party was at fault.
Common examples of negligent driving include:
- Failing to obey traffic laws;
- Failing to be vigilant behind the wheel;
- Failing to maintain control of the vehicle; and
- Failing to properly use the vehicle’s equipment.
Examples of failing to obey traffic laws may include:
- Running a stop light;
- Failing to yield;
- Driving too slowly; and
- Stopping over the stop line at an intersection.
Failing to be vigilant behind the wheel is a failure to maintain a reasonable level of vigilance, or alertness, while driving to be prepared for unexpected occurrences on the road. The most common example of this is using a cell phone while driving, which can be extremely dangerous.
Failure to maintain control of a vehicle includes:
- Sudden stops;
- Stopping over the line at an intersection; and
- Swerving, which can cause sideswipe collisions.
Failing to properly use the vehicle’s equipment includes:
- Failing to use a turn signal;
- Failure to dim high beams;
- Failing to engage hazard lights when necessary; and
- Failure to maintain the vehicle in working order, such as broken tail lights.
Due to the danger of drunk driving, it is not categorized as negligent, but has its own set of laws. Drunk driving is usually a criminal offense. It is important to note that both civil and criminal charges may be brought against the same defendant out of the same incident. For example, a drunk driver may be charged with driving while intoxicated as well as have a civil lawsuit brought against them for damages caused by their drunk driving.
How is Negligence Proven in a Car Accident Lawsuit?
There are four elements to a negligence claim. In many jurisdictions, all four elements must be shown in order for a plaintiff to have a successful lawsuit. The four elements are:
- A duty of care;
- A breach of the duty of care;
- Causation; and
A duty of care is owed to another individual in any situation involving the possibility that another individual could foreseeably be harmed. Every driver owes other drivers a duty to drive safely and obey all traffic laws. The standard of care is what a reasonably prudent individual would do in the same situation.
In the context of a car accident, the plaintiff must show the defendant breached the duty to drive safely. For example, if a defendant fails to obey traffic signs, they may have breached their duty of care. A breach occurs when an individual does not act as reasonably or as prudent as another individual would in the same situation.
A plaintiff must show the defendant’s breach of duty is what actually caused their injuries. This is called causation. If the plaintiff cannot prove causation or if the defendant’s actions did not actually cause the plaintiff’s injuries, the plaintiff will likely not recover.
Lastly, the plaintiff must show the amounts associated with the injuries they suffered or their property damage. If this amount is not easy to determine or put into the context of money, their damages award may be reduced, or even denied.
What Remedies are Available in an Automobile Accident?
Remedies for an automobile accident involving negligence typically include the negligent party paying the plaintiff monetary damages for their injuries. This may also include any resulting economic losses.
The liable party, or defendant, may be responsible for reimbursing the plaintiff for losses, which may include:
- The costs associated with any injuries suffered as a result of the accident, such as hospital bills and physical therapy costs;
- Damage sustained by the plaintiff’s vehicle or other property;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress; and
- Criminal penalties may also arise, especially for cases involving drunk driving.
In some cases, a negligent defendant may have their driver’s license privileges temporarily suspended. In serious cases, or when the defendant has committed repeat offenses, their driver’s license may be revoked completely.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Sideswipe Collision?
It is important to have the assistance of an experienced car accident lawyer for a sideswipe collision. A sideswipe collision can lead to serious injuries and major property damages. A lawyer can review your case, determine if damages may be available for you, and represent you during court proceedings, if necessary.
Depending on the nature of the accident, you may be able to negotiate a settlement for your damages claim. Your attorney will be able to assist you in receiving the most benefits available to you.