If you have been in a sideswipe car accident, you may be wondering how to proceed. There are multiple parties involved in every sideswipe crash, which means if you’ve been injured, there are numerous people who will be liable. The last thing you want to do is make things worse for yourself by not knowing the laws of the road.
Our injury attorneys are experienced at taking sideswipe car accident cases through the entire legal process, whether you need to complete a claim with your insurance company or seek compensation for past and future medical bills. Contact Ali Awad (833) 254-2923 for your complimentary consultation.
A sideswipe collision occurs when two vehicles are traveling next to each other, and the passenger side of one vehicle collides with the driver’s side of another. This can be jarring because both drivers may not realize that a collision will occur. In some cases, the outside vehicle that causes the damage may collide with a guardrail or another car.
As both the driver and the car are moving, a tremendous amount of momentum will be involved in the impact. As a result, the collision becomes a chain reaction for others nearby, especially when drivers attempt to correct their vehicles, usually when they overcompensate.
Causes Why Sideswipe Car Accidents Occur in Atlanta
Sideswipe accidents can be severe and dangerous because you’re not only dealing with an impact on the vehicle itself but also the possibility of a secondary accident — or even a chain reaction — causing additional vehicles to swerve into your lane and hit your parked car.
Even worse, if your parked car is hit due to a sideswipe accident, your vehicle may be struck again by any cars that swerved to avoid the initial accident. In some cases where there have been fatalities, entire families have been killed due to one sideswipe. This is why it’s so important to understand what causes sideswipe accidents and how you can prevent them from occurring in your area:
1. Distracted Driving
One of the most common causes of sideswipe car accidents is distracted driving. Distracted driving is not just limited to texting while driving or answering calls, but it includes anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. This can be anything from grooming oneself, reading, drinking coffee, or even adjusting the car’s temperature. Regardless of speed and distractions present outside of the vehicle, though, drivers should always be focused on what’s happening on the road ahead of them. Undivided attention is the only way to ensure a safe road experience for yourself and others.
People react differently to alcohol. What may appear to be little more than a buzz can be more severe than it seems. Prescription and recreational drugs can impair your ability to steer and react while driving on country roads or highways. Drugs can cause you to lose concentration, overreact, and delay response time while driving, leading to sideswipe car accidents.
3. Reckless Driving
When you’re in a rush and pressed for time, it can be tempting to exceed the speed limit. Speeding increases the severity of crashes and is proven to be fatal most of the time. When you’re recklessly driving, your response time and ability to brake and maneuver the vehicle will be hampered. It is unwise to drive beyond legal limits because you’re running late.
4. Disobeying Traffic Rules
Running a red light is never acceptable. Whether you’re driving on a busy street or a quiet one, running red lights is just asking for trouble. It’s illegal to go through a red light, whether vehicles are approaching or not. Even if your excuse is good enough to justify going against the law, it’s still not worth risking your life to avoid a mere fine for breaking a traffic rule. Unlike fines, life comes with no price tag.
Sideswipe collisions can occur for numerous reasons, under all driving conditions, and during the day or at night. The best you can do is pay attention while driving and be alert to other cars on the road. However, other drivers’ actions are not entirely within your control. If you get into an accident with one of these drivers,talk to an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney about your rights and how to proceed.
Injuries Caused in a Sideswipe Accident
Side impact accidents leave behind a trail of destruction. In fact, nearly all sideswipe crashes result in some form of injury to the drivers and passengers. Victims suffer broken ribs, collarbones, arms, and legs (legs are particularly vulnerable due to their proximity to the ground), head trauma (such as concussions), back and neck injuries (including paralysis), amputation, and death. In addition, many times during sideswipes, passengers are ejected from their seats.
Their bodies go through windshields or out windows after hitting head-on against these glass panels. A sideswipe can also cause severe soft tissue injuries. The immediate pain and aches may not be felt for several days or weeks after the collision. Delayed soft tissue injuries include muscle strains and ligament sprains. These types of injuries may not be apparent right after an accident has occurred but could become debilitating long-term effects.
After a sideswipe accident, a victim’s concerns are usually directed to physical injuries. However, in some instances, the emotional side of things can be just as severe. For example, in cases where a victim was forced into the car in front of them, they may have been left with the intense emotional trauma that others often take lightly, which could potentially affect their lives for years down the road.
Others may experience anxiety or depression, or even PTSD after a sideswipe collision. Knowing what to look for and how to approach these issues before and after can make all the difference.
Liability in a Sideswipe Accident
When two vehicles collide in a sideswipe crash, who’s to blame? It’s a question that doesn’t always have an easy answer. Several factors come into play when assigning liability in such cases. First, you mustn’t leave the scene of a sideswipe collision scene unless you are told to do so by the police. You must stay at the scene and do what you can to organize information, secure evidence, and ensure that anyone who needs medical help gets it.
Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law, as long as you were less than 50% responsible for the accident, you may be entitled to partial compensation for property damage and personal injuries caused by the collision. But, if you are found to be more than 50% responsible for the crash, then that means that the other party was only partially at fault and is therefore entitled to compensation from your insurance.
Georgia state law requires drivers to use turn signals before switching lanes or making other changes. All drivers should use their blinkers whenever they plan to exit, turn at an intersection, or move into another lane.
The signal must be on for at least five seconds before executing the maneuver and clearly indicate that the vehicle will turn or change lanes. When a driver does not correctly announce to other drivers that they intend to change or merge lanes, this can result in one or more vehicles moving into the same lane as the negligent driver.
What To Do After You’ve Been Sideswiped?
Always try to avoid sideswipes and collisions in the first place. Look over your shoulder when you are changing lanes, even if it is just for a short distance. Be aware of what’s happening around you, including vehicle speed. If you’ve been the victim of a sideswipe or caused a collision, it’s essential to remain calm and avoid unnecessary movements.
You will have seconds to react, and the key to avoiding disaster is to make minor adjustments until you’re able to separate from the other vehicle. A drastic over-correction can cause you to swerve into another lane of traffic or hit another car. Instead, apply your brakes slowly and use your emergency lights to alert any oncoming vehicles.
Why Choose Ali Awad Personal Injury Law Firm?
Sideswipe accidents occur where your car does not collide head-on with another vehicle, but it’s just a slight graze or double brushing that displaces your vehicle from the collision. Sideswipe collisions are generally less severe than a head-on crash, but they can still be very damaging, causing severe injuries and damage to your vehicle.
After a sideswipe collision, one of the biggest concerns you will have is the other party’s insurance company, which may try to downplay or push aside your injury claim because it wasn’t a head-on crash.
At the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm, our injury and accident attorneys know what it takes to win a sideswipe collision claim, and we can put our experience and knowledge to work for you if your accident caused your personal injuries. We understand what it takes to help our clients win cases and how to settle cases ahead of time — sometimes before we even go to court — to help accident victims begin the healing process as quickly as possible. Get in touch with us today at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm to schedule a consultation and learn if you’re eligible for compensation.