How Do You Determine Fault in a Sideswipe Car Accident?
Determining fault in a sideswipe car accident is not always easy. The vehicles involved in the accident are often heading in the same direction when the left side of one car hits the right side of the other. Both drivers might think the other is at fault. However, what happens next may leave drivers little time to think, as both vehicles may careen out of control, and possibly into the path of other cars. Usually, the driver at fault is the one found disobeying traffic laws, such as speeding.
This is not the only scenario for a sideswipe accident, but it is among the most common. If the sideswipe occurs when the vehicles are traveling in opposite directions and one car crosses the center line and hits the other, determining fault is less difficult.
A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Ellis Injury Law can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our attorneys have obtained settlements and verdicts totaling over $350 million for our injured clients, so our record speaks for itself.
Sideswipe accidents may result in serious injuries or fatalities. This is especially the case if the accident takes place on a major highway and at a high rate of speed. Because sideswipes hit the side of the vehicle, the risks to the car’s occupants rise, since many cars do not have side airbags and the door frames are among the weakest parts of a vehicle’s structure.
When such a collision occurs, try to keep your wits about you and maintain control of the car. Spinning the wheel in either direction means the car could go into another lane, hitting more vehicles. The car could also veer off the roadway, striking trees, telephone pools, fencing, and other solid objects. The vehicle might even flip over.
Why Sideswipes Happen
Sideswipe accidents are often due to negligent or reckless behavior on the part of a driver. The most frequent causes of sideswipe accidents include:
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to use a turn signal when making a lane change
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Hydroplaning on wet pavement
- Merging without checking the lane
- Not noticing a vehicle in the blind spot
- Racing another car
Aggressive drivers or those specifically experiencing “road rage” are often the culprits behind sideswipe accidents. The latter may hit another car on purpose. A less frequent reason for a sideswipe accident happens when drivers are going around a steep curve and either oversteer or understeer.
What to do after a sideswipe accident
After a sideswipe accident, call the police immediately. Anyone who is seriously injured must wait for medical help to arrive, but if possible, take photos of the accident scene, particularly the damage on each vehicle. These photos are often the best way to prove who is at-fault for the crash and may help determine from which direction the impact occurred. Take photos or videos of any skid marks, debris in the roadway or road damage.
Of course, get the license number and insurance information of the other driver, as well as the name and contact information. Also secure the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
Always seek prompt medical attention, even if you do not think you were hurt. Many injuries are not apparent for some hours after a crash, and failure to obtain a medical examination right away can harm your claim.
If you were injured in the crash, you need the services of an attorney. A personal injury lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. This will include reviewing any surveillance video and police reports, interviewing eyewitnesses, and possibly hiring an accident reconstructionist specialist to determine who was at fault.
Contact a Los Angeles car accident lawyer
If you or someone you know was seriously injured in a sideswipe accident, contact a dedicated Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Ellis Injury Law. We offer free consultations, so call us 24/7 or use our online form to schedule an appointment. After evaluating your case, a personal injury attorney will advise you of your options. Because we are paid on a contingency basis, there is never a fee unless we win compensation for you.