Sideswipe Collisions and the Law: Can I Recover Damages for My Injuries?

A sideswipe motor vehicle collision happens when the sides of two moving vehicles brush up against one another, inflicting property damage and in some cases, serious personal injuries. These accidents are especially common on busy, multi-lane highways, where several lanes of traffic move in the same direction. These collisions can also happen for various reasons, but they typically occur because of motor vehicle driver negligence and error.

For example, one of the drivers might not be paying attention to the road or might be distracted by something in their vehicle, causing it to veer over into another lane. Similarly, a driver might fail to use their turn signal, bringing about a sideswipe impact with another car or truck.

Injuries that victims of sideswipe auto accidents may suffer can be serious and require significant medical treatment and care. If you or a person you care about has suffered injuries in a sideswipe collision that occurred because of another driver’s negligence, you have available legal rights.

A knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer at MNH Injury Lawyers can safeguard your legal rights while investigating the circumstances of your sideswipe accident.

If you can file a claim for monetary damages, your lawyer can assist you with every step of the claim-filing process and will negotiate zealously on your behalf. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company does not give you the compensation that you deserve, your lawyer can file a car accident lawsuit on your behalf and litigate your case in the court system.

Causes of Sideswipe Car Accidents

One of the most common causes of sideswipe collisions on highways and other roadways is driver error. However, negligence does not always happen in the same way, and it can take various forms. The most common types of negligence that lead to sideswipe motor vehicle accidents include violating the rules of the road, driving drunk or drugged, and operating motor vehicles while distracted.

Traffic laws and rules of the road are on the books to help ensure everyone’s safety. However, when drivers violate these regulations because they engage in risky driving maneuvers, they put the lives and well-being of many other drivers and their passengers at risk.

Some of the most common traffic law violations that result in sideswipe accidents include aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, failing to use a turn signal, and speeding. For example, when a driver abruptly weaves in and out of traffic, they might inadvertently collide with the side of another vehicle while attempting to switch lanes.

Another common cause of sideswipe collision is intoxicated motor vehicle operation. In most jurisdictions, a driver who operates a motor vehicle after drinking too much is intoxicated under the law. This means that a police officer can automatically arrest the driver for driving under the influence, or driving while intoxicated, depending on the regional laws.

In addition, in many areas, a police officer can arrest a motor vehicle operator for impaired driving when the driver’s mannerisms demonstrate intoxication.

For example, the driver might have bloodshot eyes or slurred speech. In addition to the potential criminal penalties associated with drunk driving, an intoxicated driver who negligently causes an accident can be subject to civil liability as well, in the event the accident results in personal injuries and damages to someone else.

Alcohol, in particular, can have a serious negative impact on a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Specifically, the driver’s vision may become distorted, and they may not see other vehicles on the roadway in front of them. In addition, alcohol can impair a driver’s judgment and can significantly delay their reaction time.

Consequently, they may not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle or with a pedestrian in the vicinity. Since alcohol can cause blurred vision and distorted perception, a driver might not even see a vehicle in an adjacent travel lane and may drift over, causing a sideswipe collision.

One final cause of a sideswipe motor vehicle accident is distracted driving. A car or truck operator engages in distracted driving when something in the vehicle turns their attention away from the road.

For example, instead of watching the road, including the adjacent travel lanes, a distracted driver might be using a mobile device to make a phone call or send a text message. In addition, the driver might have their head turned to discipline young children who are misbehaving in the back seat or reach for something in another part of the car. Finally, the driver might be listening to loud music in the car or fiddling with a GPS device while trying to program it.

These activities can be extremely distracting and can divert a driver’s attention away from their primary responsibility: watching the road. When a driver has their head turned for a second—or even for a fraction of a second—their vehicle can veer over into another travel lane, causing a sideswipe collision that leads to serious property damage and personal injuries.

If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe car accident that another driver’s carelessness, negligence, or recklessness caused, speak with a knowledgeable lawyer to discuss your legal options. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident to determine how it actually happened. If you can file a car accident claim for damages, your lawyer can assist you throughout the process and work to get you the compensation you deserve for your accident-related injuries.

Injuries That Car Accident Victims Suffer in Sideswipe Collisions

The injuries that an accident victim may suffer in a sideswipe collision often depend on numerous factors. First of all, the extent of an accident victim’s injuries will depend largely on the force of the impact itself. If the vehicle on the receiving end of the accident suffers a forceful impact, the accident victim’s body can move abruptly, resulting in significant injuries.

Another important factor is how the accident occurred. For example, if one vehicle sideswipes another vehicle, and the second vehicle strikes something else on the roadway—such as a median strip or some other stationary object—the injuries that the accident victim experiences may be significant and painful.

Some of the most common injuries that accident victims suffer in sideswipe collisions include traumatic head and brain injuries, soft tissue contusions, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones.

If you have suffered any of these injuries in a sideswipe car accident, seek medical treatment with your doctor or at a hospital ER facility. The ER nurse or doctor on duty can determine the severity of your injuries after examining you and taking the necessary imaging studies, such as MRIs and X-rays.

If you suffered a head injury in your accident, perhaps due to striking your head on the window or headrest, the emergency room doctor can also take a brain scan. While at the emergency room, the healthcare provider on duty can render emergency medical treatment. In addition, the provider can make recommendations for future care and treatment if your symptoms will continue after you leave the ER.

Not seeking medical treatment after a sideswipe car accident can be a big mistake. This is especially true if you plan on filing a car accident claim or lawsuit later on. If the at-fault motor vehicle driver’s insurance company sees that you did not go to a doctor or to a hospital ER or urgent care center immediately after your accident, they will become extremely skeptical about the seriousness of your injuries. They may assume that your injuries were not serious or you did not make your medical treatment a priority following your accident.

While you receive treatment for your accident-related injuries, it is a good idea to have a knowledgeable lawyer on board in your case. Your lawyer can start assembling your claim documents and getting a demand package ready to send to the insurance company—all while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Once you have completed your medical treatment, your lawyer can submit the demand package to the insurance company adjuster and begin negotiating a favourable settlement offer in your car accident claim.

The Burden of Proof in a Car Accident Claim

In any motor vehicle accident claim, the accident victim has the legal burden of proof, even though they were the ones who suffered the injuries in the collision. Specifically, in a sideswipe collision case, the accident victim must demonstrate that the other driver did something wrong, such as failing to use a turn signal, weaving in and out of traffic, or operating their vehicle while intoxicated.

In addition, the accident victim must show that they suffered injuries in the collision and that their injuries directly resulted from the accident. Assuming the accident victim can satisfy these legal elements, they can pursue monetary recovery for their injuries.

In some instances, sideswipe accident claims resolve through the settlement process. However, it will usually take several rounds of negotiations between the accident victim’s lawyer and the at-fault driver’s insurance company before they come to a favourable settlement resolution.

In some instances, insurance company adjusters are unreasonable and will not offer full and fair compensation for the accident victim’s injuries—at least not right away. When that occurs, the accident victim’s lawyer may need to file a lawsuit. This begins the litigation process.

Even during litigation, the parties can still resolve their case through settlement. However, if the case does not resolve, the parties will either need to take the case to trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as binding arbitration or mediation. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can help you decide the best course of action to take to recover monetary compensation in your case.

Monetary Compensation and Damages in Sideswipe Car Accident Cases

The potential monetary compensation that a sideswipe car accident victim can receive in their case will depend upon the severity of their injuries and the extent of their medical treatments.

Victims of sideswipe collisions can first pursue monetary compensation for any lost wages that they incurred because of not working following their car accident. They can also pursue recovery for other out-of-pocket expenses.

In addition to these economic damages, car accident victims can pursue monetary compensation for noneconomic damages. These damages include compensation for pain and suffering, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of spousal companionship and family support, mental distress, emotional anguish, and inconvenience.

If the at-fault driver behaved in a particularly egregious or reckless manner, the accident victim may recover punitive damages. Punitive damages punish wrongdoer drivers for their extremely reckless behavior and discourage other drivers from behaving similarly.

A knowledgeable car accident lawyer at MNH Injury Lawyers can help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation in your car accident case. This includes all of your past and future losses, including economic and non-economic damages. We work closely with our clients to understand their pain and suffering so we can fight for the full amount they deserve.

Case evaluations are always free, so you have nothing to lose by learning about your legal options.

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