A sideswipe car accident collision occurs when the side of one vehicle makes contact with the side of another vehicle. The vehicles can be traveling in the same or opposite directions. This type of car accident is more common than you might think. In 2021 alone, 1,184 sideswipe collisions occurred in the US, 3% of them being fatal.
If you or a loved one was injured in a sideswipe collision in Phoenix or Salt Lake City, call Esquire Law for help filing a claim against the at-fault driver. Our car accident attorneys will provide the elite representation you deserve to secure the compensation you need to cover the cost of injuries and property damage. Don’t wait. Contact us today to get started with a free case evaluation.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Car Accident Collisions
Sideswipe collisions often occur when drivers are distracted, such as when texting, using a mobile device, adjusting the radio, or eating while driving. Inattention to the road can lead to unintentional lane departure or failure to notice neighboring vehicles, increasing the likelihood of a sideswipe collision.
Driving Under the Influence
Impaired driving due to alcohol or drugs significantly impairs a driver’s ability to maintain proper lane position and make safe lane changes. DUI-related sideswipe collisions are frequently the result of impaired judgment, reduced reaction times, and impaired coordination.
Fatigued drivers may experience lapses in attention and slow reaction times, making it more challenging to maintain their lane. Sideswipe collisions can occur when fatigued drivers drift out of their lanes or fail to notice adjacent vehicles during lane changes.
Aggressive driving tactics like speeding, tailgating, and weaving between lanes can increase the risk of sideswipe collisions. Aggressive drivers are more likely to make abrupt lane changes without signaling, leading to dangerous close calls or actual collisions.
Inclement weather conditions, like rain, snow, ice, and fog, can limit traction and visibility. These conditions make it more challenging for drivers to control their vehicles and maintain proper lane positions, increasing the likelihood of sideswipe collisions.
Injuries Caused by Sideswipe Car Collisions
Sideswipe collisions can cause injuries ranging from mild to severe. These are the most common injuries sideswipe accident victims sustain.
- Whiplash: Sideswipe collisions often result in sudden lateral head and neck movement, causing whiplash injuries. These injuries may manifest as neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and related symptoms.
- Back and Spinal Cord Injuries: The lateral force generated in a sideswipe accident can lead to injuries like herniated discs, fractures, or spinal cord trauma, which can result in long-term or permanent consequences, including paralysis.
- Traumatic Injuries: Sideswipe incidents can cause various traumatic injuries, such as broken bones, fractures, and contusions, contingent on factors like collision severity and vehicle speed.
- Internal Injuries: The abrupt lateral motion of your body in a sideswipe collision can cause internal injuries like organ damage, internal bleeding, or rib fractures. These injuries, which can be life-threatening if left untreated, may not present themselves right away.
- Head Injuries: Impact on the vehicle’s interior or other objects during a sideswipe collision can lead to head injuries, ranging from concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Facial Injuries: Facial injuries, comprising lacerations, bruises, and fractures, may occur due to contact with the vehicle’s components or flying debris during the accident.
- Cuts and Abrasions: Broken glass, vehicle debris, or contact with sharp surfaces inside the car can cause cuts and abrasions, often necessitating medical treatment and potentially resulting in lasting scars.
- Psychological Trauma: Sideswipe accidents can evoke severe emotional trauma, potentially causing conditions like anxiety, depression, or PTSD in victims.
- Seat Belt and Airbag Injuries: While designed to protect occupants, seat belts and airbags may inadvertently cause injuries like bruising, chest trauma, or abdominal harm upon deployment.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Muscles, ligaments, and tendons can sustain injuries such as strains, sprains, or tears during a sideswipe collision, resulting in discomfort and restricted mobility.
Injuries sustained in sideswipe collisions can have significant and long-term effects on victims, affecting both their physical well-being and psychological health.
- Permanent Disabilities: Some injuries, such as spinal cord damage, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and severe fractures, can result in permanent disabilities. These disabilities may lead to mobility limitations, paralysis, cognitive impairment, or chronic pain, altering the course of a person’s life and requiring ongoing medical care and support.
- Chronic Pain: Injuries from sideswipe accidents can lead to chronic pain conditions, such as back pain, neck pain, and joint pain. This pain can be persistent and debilitating, affecting an individual’s daily activities, quality of life, and overall well-being.
- Psychological Impacts: The psychological toll of sideswipe collisions can be substantial. Survivors may suffer from anxiety, depression, or even PTSD after their accident. These conditions can have long-term effects on a person’s emotional stability, relationships, and ability to function in daily life.
- Reduced Quality of Life: Permanent injuries and chronic pain can lead to a reduced quality of life, limiting an individual’s ability to engage in activities they once enjoyed. This can result in social isolation, frustration, and a sense of loss.
- Financial Burden: Long-term medical expenses, ongoing rehabilitation, and the potential loss of income due to disability can create a significant financial burden for survivors of sideswipe collisions. This financial stress can persist for years or even a lifetime.
- Impact on Relationships: Physical disabilities and psychological trauma can negatively impact your relationships with family members, friends, and romantic partners. The emotional toll of coping with long-term injuries can lead to relationship challenges.
- Altered Life Trajectory: Permanent disabilities may require individuals to adjust their life goals, career aspirations, and daily routines. These alterations can be emotionally challenging and necessitate adaptation to a new way of life.
- Increased Healthcare Needs: Long-term injuries often necessitate long-term medical care, rehabilitation, and therapy. This places increased demands on healthcare resources. You might also need special medical treatments or interventions.
- Risk of Secondary Health Issues: Some long-term injuries, such as reduced mobility or chronic pain, can increase the risk of secondary health issues like obesity, cardiovascular problems, and mental health disorders, compounding the overall health impact.
- Emotional Scars: The emotional scars from a sideswipe collision can have some of the most significant, long-lasting impacts on a victim’s life. It’s important to ensure victims get not only the physical but also the mental and emotional care they need to recover.
What to Do After a Sideswipe Car Crash
- Check for Injuries: Prioritize your safety by immediately assessing passengers for injuries. If anyone is hurt, dial 911 for medical assistance, even if injuries seem minor, as some may not be immediately apparent.
- Call the Police: Notify local law enforcement about the accident. If officers respond, they will fill out a police report. Request a copy of the police report, as it can be essential for insurance claims and legal matters. If officers don’t respond, file an accident report through the local DMV.
- Exchange Information: Communicate with the other driver(s) involved, sharing names, contact information, insurance particulars, and license plate numbers. Remain polite and avoid admitting fault or assigning blame.
- Document the Scene: If possible, take photos and videos of the accident scene, showing vehicle positions, damage, road conditions, traffic signs, and signals. These pictures serve as valuable evidence in your insurance claim and in any legal proceedings.
- Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t believe you are seriously injured, consider seeking medical evaluation. Some injuries may have delayed symptoms, and a medical record can be crucial for insurance claims.
Seeking medical treatment immediately after your sideswipe collision is essential to your safety and the successful outcome of your case. For starters, not all injuries are immediately evident, and symptoms may take hours or days to surface. Prompt medical evaluation can help detect and document any hidden injuries, ensuring that they are treated in a timely manner to prevent complications.
Seeking medical care also establishes a vital link between the accident and any subsequent injuries, making it easier to connect them during insurance claims or legal proceedings. Additionally, immediate medical attention demonstrates a responsible and proactive approach to one’s well-being, reinforcing the seriousness of any potential injuries that may have occurred during the collision.
Contact a car accident attorney after a sideswipe collision when you experience any degree of injuries or property damage that could result in medical bills or repair costs for your side-swiped car. Additionally, reach out to an attorney if liability is in question or if the other driver’s insurance company doesn’t cooperate. We also advise clients to consult an attorney if they’re unsure about their rights or potential legal options. Our lawyers in Phoenix and Salt Lake City can provide guidance on navigating the claims process and seeking appropriate compensation.
Liability and Compensation in Sideswipe Car Collisions
Fault in sideswipe collisions is established by carefully evaluating the specific circumstances surrounding the accident. Investigators and insurance adjusters consider various factors, like lane conditions, the use of turn signals, and the presence of witnesses. These professionals also examine vehicle damage, review traffic laws, and analyze video footage or skid marks when available. Driver statements and the official police or accident report also help determine fault. The goal of determining fault is identifying which driver was primarily responsible for the sideswipe collision.
You should also consider the comparative negligence laws in your state. Comparative negligence allows the plaintiff in car accident cases to seek compensation even if they’re partially at fault. Their compensation is simply reduced by the percentage of fault they contributed.
Arizona operates under pure comparative negligence. If a sideswipe collision occurs in Arizona, the plaintiff can be up to 99% at fault and still seek compensation. Utah operates under modified comparative negligence. If a sideswipe collision occurs in Utah, the plaintiff can be up to 50% at fault and still seek compensation.
Multiple parties may be held liable in a sideswipe collision case. These are the three parties most likely to be at fault.
- Drivers: The primary liability often lies with the drivers involved in the collision. If a driver’s negligence, such as improper lane change, distracted driving, or failure to yield, contributed to the sideswipe accident, they may be held responsible.
- Employers: If the driver who caused the accident was doing so to fulfill employment obligations—like truckers—their employer may be partially or fully liable. This applies in cases where the driver was performing work-related duties or driving a company vehicle.
- Car Manufacturers: In rare cases, a sideswipe collision may occur due to a vehicle defect or malfunction, like faulty steering mechanisms or stability control systems. In these instances, the car manufacturer might bear responsibility for producing a defective product.
Damages and Compensation
A sideswipe car collision can have physical, mental, and emotional effects on a victim, resulting in a range of expenses. Victims of these collisions are entitled to financial compensation to cover the cost of damages resulting from the accident. They can seek both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are tangible, quantifiable financial losses that a victim incurs due to the accident. Common examples include the following:
- Medical bills
- Property damage repair costs
- Lost wages from missed work
- Lost earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
Non-economic damages are intangible losses that can’t be assigned a specific dollar amount. Here are some common examples:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Psychological trauma
- Loss of enjoyment of life
We’ll Fight for Your Rights After a Sideswipe Car Collision
Don’t try to navigate the aftermath of a sideswipe collision alone. Reach out to Esquire Law in Phoenix or Salt Lake City for guidance and support every step of the way. We’ll set up an initial evaluation to discuss the details of your case and explain your rights and legal options. Then, we’ll help you build a strong case against the at-fault driver to maximize your chances of securing fair compensation. Get started today with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.