A sideswipe truck collision happens when the side of a large truck, tractor-trailer, or big rig strikes the side of a vehicle moving in the same direction. These accidents are common on busy, multi-lane highways with traffic moving in the same direction. In most instances, truck sideswipe accidents happen when drivers are negligent or careless in some way.
The force of impact from a sideswipe accident can cause an accident victim’s body to move around inside their car and strike something in their vehicle. When that happens, they can sustain serious injuries that require hospitalization, medical treatment, and physical therapy. They may also need to miss work time to attend medical appointments and recover from their injuries.
If you suffered injuries in a truck sideswipe accident, you should seek prompt medical treatment immediately. Additionally, you should talk with a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area immediately. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your accident, your injuries, and medical treatment and develop a plan for moving your case forward. Your lawyer can also negotiate aggressively with the responsible truck driver or trucking company’s insurer and, if necessary, file a lawsuit and litigate your case in court.
Common Injuries in Truck Sideswipe Accidents
The force of impact from a truck sideswipe accident may cause the accident victim’s body to move from side to side, or forward and backward, very abruptly. This movement can lead to a soft tissue injury, such as whiplash. Moreover, a part of the accident victim’s body might strike something in their vehicle, like the dashboard, steering wheel, window, door frame, or headrest. This impact may cause a traumatic head injury or broken bone.
At other times, sideswipe accident victims will sustain internal organ damage, spinal cord and paralysis injuries, and even premature death from their injuries.
After your truck accident, you should seek treatment at a local hospital emergency room or urgent care facility as soon as possible. Seeking prompt medical treatment ensures that your injuries will not become worse and that the insurance company handling your claim will take your case seriously.
When you get to the emergency facility, the medical provider on duty can examine you thoroughly and take the necessary imaging studies, including CAT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. They can then render an accurate medical diagnosis and make recommendations for follow-up treatment. For example, you may need to follow up with your family doctor or an orthopedist, physical therapist, or neurologist, depending upon the type and extent of your truck accident injuries.
While you focus your attention on recovering, your lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your personal injury claim. Specifically, your lawyer can gather up your medical treatment records to date, lost wage statements, photographs, and victim impact statements.
Once your lawyer receives all of these documents, they can assemble them into a complete settlement demand package and forward them to the insurance company adjuster for review. If the adjuster accepts fault for your truck accident, your lawyer can begin settlement negotiations with the adjuster and work towards a favorable conclusion via settlement.
Typical Causes of Truck Sideswipe Accidents
Truck sideswipe accidents usually occur when drivers are negligent in some manner. Common causes of these crashes include road rule violations, distracted truck driving, intoxicated driving, and fatigued driving.
Traffic laws and regulations keep drivers and passengers safe. When truck drivers violate these laws, they can cause a sideswipe collision that severely injures others. Common road rule violations that lead to truck accidents include unsafe lane changes—such as when a driver fails to use a turn signal or cuts another vehicle off in traffic. Other common traffic violations include speeding and following other vehicles too closely. When truck drivers violate speed limits and recklessly tailgate other vehicles, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid a rear-end or sideswipe accident.
Truck drivers also cause sideswipe accidents while distracted. A distracted truck driver is one who fails to pay attention to the road. Drivers can become distracted when they fiddle with a cellular phone, tablet, or GPS device while driving. Other individuals in the vehicle and loud music can also be distracting for a truck driver. When a driver becomes distracted, they might negligently cause their truck to veer off into another travel lane, causing a sideswipe accident with another vehicle.
Intoxicated driving is another common cause of truck sideswipe accidents. A driver is legally intoxicated in most instances if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more. However, truck drivers must follow a stricter standard. The law considers them intoxicated with a BAC of 0.04 percent or higher. Even with a lower BAC, they might still exhibit the symptoms of alcohol impairment.
For example, they might experience blurred vision, nausea, confusion, and delayed reaction time. Also, due to their impaired physical and mental state, they may be unable to operate their vehicles straight, causing them to weave in and out of traffic and cross several traffic lanes. As a result, they may negligently cause the side of their truck or trailer to strike the side of another vehicle.
Fatigued driving is another common cause of truck sideswipe accidents. To deliver cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule—and reap financial benefits—some truck drivers refuse to take breaks and drive for hours and hours on end. This can make the truck driver extremely tired, limiting their ability to concentrate and focus on the road.
Some truck drivers even resort to stimulant drugs to keep themselves awake for long hours. However, these drugs can sometimes have the opposite effect and make a driver feel drowsy while behind the wheel. A fatigued driver who falls asleep at the wheel will lose control over their vehicle, potentially causing a sideswipe accident that leaves others injured.
If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe accident resulting from truck driver negligence, you should talk to a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer near you right away. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your accident by reviewing the police report and speaking with eyewitnesses.
Alternatively, your lawyer can hire an accident reconstructionist who can piece together exactly how the crash occurred. Finally, your lawyer can determine if you are eligible to file a personal injury claim, and if so, file the claim in court on your behalf.
Trucking Company Responsibility for Sideswipe Accidents
Trucking companies often share in the responsibility for sideswipe accidents. This is because trucking companies may be liable for their drivers’ negligent acts while out on the job—and while acting within the scope of their appointment. Therefore, if a truck driver causes a sideswipe accident when they speed, tailgate, fail to use the turn signal, or otherwise violate a traffic law, the trucking company may share in the responsibility for the accident.
Moreover, trucking companies are responsible for hiring only capable drivers with good records. If a trucking company negligently hires or retains a driver with prior moving violations, DUIs, and other offenses—and the driver causes a sideswipe accident—then the trucking company can be secondarily responsible.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can review the circumstances of your accident with you and file the appropriate claim or lawsuit against all potentially responsible parties. Your lawyer can then pursue a favorable settlement offer from the insurance company and, if necessary, litigate your case against the responsible truck driver and the employer trucking company.
Recovering Damages from the Insurance Company
Victims of sideswipe truck accidents who suffer injuries can recover various types of monetary compensation. The types and amounts of damages that truck accident victims may recover typically depend upon the severity of their injuries—including whether or not they sustained a permanent injury. To establish that a particular injury is permanent, a medical provider must establish, to a reasonable degree of medical probability, that the injury is unlikely to improve over time. In many instances, permanent injuries come with lasting symptoms that affect every aspect of the accident victim’s life.
A medical expert might also be necessary to causally connect a particular injury to the sideswipe truck accident. Other factors that influence the value of damages an accident victim recovers include the extent of the accident victim’s pain and suffering—and whether or not they missed work time to treat their injuries.
As part of a sideswipe truck accident claim or lawsuit, accident victims may recover:
- Lost wages. Many truck accident victims suffer injuries that prevent them from working for some time. The accident victim may need to attend medical appointments, or their pain and suffering may simply prevent them from performing their job duties effectively. When that happens, the accident victim can bring a claim for lost wages. To prove lost wages, the accident victim’s lawyer must typically produce documents from the employer which show the number of days the accident victim missed from work—and the amount of money they lost. If the accident victim cannot return to the same job or occupation, they may be eligible to raise a claim for loss of earning capacity.
- Pain and suffering. Sideswipe truck accident victims may also pursue compensation for their pain, suffering, and inconvenience. Past pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for everything they experience between their accident date and the present time. Future pain and suffering damages compensate accident victims for symptoms they will likely experience going forward. In addition to damages for past and future pain and suffering, accident victims can recover compensation for their emotional distress and mental anguish.
- Loss of use of a body part. Some sideswipe truck accident victims sustain such severe injuries that they cannot use a body part. This is especially true if they suffer paralysis or spinal cord injury in their accident. When that happens, they can make a claim for loss of the ability to use a particular body part(s).
- Loss of life enjoyment. When a sideswipe truck accident victim sustains serious injuries, they may be unable to partake in activities they once enjoyed. For example, they may be unable to spend time with family members or friends, play sports, or engage in other recreational activities as they once did. When that occurs, they can make a claim for loss of life enjoyment.
- Loss of spousal companionship. Finally, sideswipe truck accident victims who are married can pursue compensation for loss of spousal companionship or consortium in the event their injuries impair their ability to be intimate with a spouse.
If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe truck accident, a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer in your area can be an invaluable help. Your lawyer can aggressively negotiate with the insurance company adjuster on your behalf and work to maximize the compensation you recover in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
Call an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
If you sustained injuries in a truck sideswipe accident, it is essential that you have knowledgeable legal counsel on board in your case. Trying to represent yourself in a truck accident claim can be a grave mistake, as the insurance company will likely take advantage of you. They will assume you do not have the necessary negotiation and litigation skills to handle the case yourself. Therefore, they are unlikely to offer you favorable damages to compensate you for your injuries.
A knowledgeable truck accident lawyer advocating for you can investigate the circumstances of your accident, aggressively negotiate with the insurance company adjuster, and, if necessary, threaten litigation. Victims nearly always receive more compensation when they are represented by a lawyer.
If your lawyer needs to file a lawsuit in the case, they can do so well within the statute of limitations time frame. Finally, suppose your case must go to court or alternative dispute resolution. In that case, your lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings and pursue the maximum amount of compensation you deserve to recover. Contact a lawyer today to receive your consultation.