Who is at Fault in a Sideswipe Car Accident?

Sideswipe collisions, while not the most dangerous type of Indianapolis car accident compared to head-on or t-bone collisions, can still result in significant damages and injuries. This type of accident is often more jarring or surprising because it can happen when you least expect it, especially when the car you collided with was in your blind spot. 

However, sideswipe collisions are not always the result of blind spot accidents. These kinds of accidents can occur for many other reasons. Unfortunately, determining who is at fault in a sideswipe collision can be a challenge as it is not always easy to tell which driver was in the wrong or acting negligently. In many cases, the drivers involved often try to blame the other driver, which can prolong the case until enough evidence has been gathered to prove what happened and who was at fault. 

If you are involved in a sideswipe accident, working with an attorney is generally in your best interest. If you were the victim, you deserve to be compensated for your damages, such as medical expenses for injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, if there is an argument over who was at fault, it can make getting the money you need and deserve more challenging. This is why it is beneficial to have an attorney on your side. They can advocate for your rights and ensure sufficient evidence is provided to support your claim. 

At Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery, our experienced personal injury attorneys will do everything they can to help you prove fault and get the compensation you need. We will guide you through the legal process to ensure all necessary steps are taken to win your case. When you are the victim of a car accident, you have a right to pursue legal action and be awarded compensation. 

Let the Law Office of Poynter & Bucheri fight for your rights to protect you and your family. Call us today at 1-800-265-9881 or (317) 780-8000 for a free case review. 

What Are Sideswipe Accidents?

Sideswipe collisions are a type of accident that occurs when two cars slide against one another. This can happen when both cars are moving in the same direction, the opposite direction, or even when one car is in motion, and another car is not. In some cases, the cars can both make a move that results in the sides of their vehicles sliding along one another at the same time, or it can happen when one car is stationary or in the proper lane, and another driver makes a negligent move, resulting in the side of their car dragging along the side of the other. 

Though sideswipe collisions are often reported as minor to mild, there are plenty of cases where these accidents can result in more severe damages and injuries. In fact, according to the National Safety Council, there were around 1,500 deaths reported in 2020 as a result of sideswipe collisions. Generally, the faster the cars are moving when the collision occurs, the more severe it will be. But numerous other factors can contribute to the severity of an accident. It all depends on the individual circumstances. 

What Are Common Causes of Sideswipe Car Accidents?

While a collision can occur purely by accident, most car crashes happen as a result of human error and negligence. Even if the weather is bad and leads to an accident, it is likely that one or more drivers were still at fault or partially to blame due to things like distraction, speeding, or following too close to the vehicle in front of them. 

Overall, some of the most common causes of sideswipe collisions include:

  • Failing to check blind spots before maneuvering or changing lanes
  • Distraction, which causes cars to drift into another lane or fail to notice merging drivers
  • Speeding, which gives cars less time to react when another vehicle is merging into their lane
  • Road rage, such as purposely trying to keep another driver from merging or riding close alongside another driver to annoy or mess with them
  • Intoxicated driving, which results in drifting and swerving in and out of lanes
  • Failure to signal a lane change
  • Failure to yield the right-of-way
  • Merging without thoroughly checking for oncoming traffic
  • Drivers merging or changing lanes at the same time
  • Wet or icy roads that cause drivers to slide into or alongside another vehicle

What Injuries Can Result From a Sideswipe Car Accident?

The injuries that result from a sideswipe car accident can vary depending on the severity of the collision, who was involved, and how exactly the accident occurred. In many cases, a sideswipe collision will only result in minor injuries, but again, it depends on the situation, and it is still possible for severe injuries and fatalities to occur. 

If the two vehicles involved were moving at slower speeds, it is possible that there would only be a bit of minor scraping alongside the vehicles. However, if the collision occurs at higher speeds, the damages will likely be more severe. The side of a vehicle is not built to withstand as much impact as the front or rear of a vehicle, so if the damage is extensive, it is more likely that the driver or passengers inside will suffer more severe injuries. 

Generally, some of the most common injuries that result from sideswipe collisions include:

If you were injured in a sideswipe accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Contact our PBAR legal team for a free case review to discuss your legal options for recovering money for your injuries and losses.

What Should I Do After Being Injured in a Sideswipe Accident?

Whether your sideswipe collision is minor or severe, you should always stay at the scene until the authorities arrive and an official report has been filed. A police report and other evidence gathered at the scene of the accident will play a crucial role in how your personal injury case plays out. If there is insufficient evidence and you leave the scene without filing a report or seeking medical attention, you may not have enough information to support your claim and may be denied compensation or may struggle to get enough compensation to cover your damages. 

The following are the steps you should always take after an accident, especially a sideswipe collision where it may be challenging to determine who was at fault without enough evidence:

Call 911 immediately. A police report will be necessary to support your case and help prove who was at fault. 

Gather contact information from as many witnesses at the scene as possible. Eyewitnesses can be highly beneficial to a personal injury case. 

Take photos of the scene. You will want to gather as much evidence as possible to show what happened. So take photos of everything you can, including the damages, your injuries, the weather and road conditions, shots of the scene as a whole, and anything else that feels relevant to the accident and how it occurred. 

Seek medical attention. Medical documents and doctor statements are other crucial forms of evidence to prove that the accident occurred and you were injured as a result. Do not skip seeking medical attention, even if you initially feel fine. It’s always best to get checked out just in case. Some injuries are not always immediately apparent. 

Write down as much as you can remember. In addition to witness statements, it can also be helpful for you to write down what happened from your point of view as well. Everything and anything you can think of can be helpful to support your claim. However, never exaggerate or make false claims, as this can ultimately harm your case and be used against you. 

Report the accident to your car insurance company. After the accident, you will need to inform your own insurance company of what occurred. They will help you get the claims process started. If another party is found guilty, their insurance will be the one to pay you for your damages. However, if both parties are found liable or if the other party’s insurance denies your benefits, you may be able to recover some compensation for damages through your insurance. 

Contact an attorney. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny a claim to reduce the amount of money they have to pay a victim. Both your insurance and the guilty party’s insurance may try to do this. It is crucial in these situations to work with an attorney who knows how to fight back against insurers to get you the compensation you deserve. 

At Poynter and Bucheri Accident Recovery, we will fight for your rights and do everything we can to protect you against insurance companies seeking to undervalue and deny your claim. 

Who Is At Fault When a Sideswipe Accident Occurs?

In car accident cases, fault is determined based on negligence, and the theory of negligence is based on what is known as “duty of care.” All drivers owe others a duty of care, which means they must operate their vehicle with reasonable care so as not to cause harm. If they breach this duty by acting in a negligent manner, they can be held liable for the accident and any injuries that occurred as a result. 

However, with sideswipe collisions, it can sometimes be more challenging to determine who acted negligently, and in some cases, both drivers could share the blame. If you were hit by another car that was merging or changing lanes while you were following the rules of the road and within your own lane, the other driver would likely be the one at fault. However, if the accident happens because both drivers ran into one another, they will potentially share in liability. 

Indiana is a comparative fault state. This means that both parties can recover damages if there was a share in the blame. However, the law states that you can be no more than 51% at fault to file a claim and recover compensation from the other party. So even if your negligence was not intentional, if you share in the blame, you could also be held liable, but as long as you are no more than 51% at fault, you can file a claim against the other driver as well. 

How Much Compensation Can I Get for a Sideswipe Car Accident?

The value of a sideswipe car accident claim will depend on a few different factors. When you file a claim, the case will be reviewed, and an amount will be determined based on the percentage of fault and other damages.

The damages you can recover compensation for include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of wages and future earnings
  • Property damage (such as car damage)
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Permanent impairments
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Because the damages suffered can vary from one person to another, there is no way to determine upfront how much compensation you will receive. Insurers will look at all of the evidence and determine a settlement amount based on what they find. However, it is not uncommon for insurers to attempt to offer low and quick settlement amounts that do not fully account for all of the damages. This is why it’s so important to work with an attorney who can fight for your rights and ensure you are adequately compensated. 

Contact a Sideswipe Car Accident Attorney at Poynter & Bucheri Accident Recovery in Indianapolis

If you or a loved one are involved in a sideswipe accident, contact the experienced accident recovery attorneys at Poynter & Bucheri. We offer free case evaluations, which include an explanation of your legal rights, a discussion of your options, and our legal opinion of your claim based on years of experience handling car accident claims in Indianapolis. 

Call our law firm today at 1-800-265-9881 for a free case review