Sideswipe Accident: Who is at Fault?

A sideswipe car accident threatens your health, finances, and future. These accidents often result in life-threatening injuries with significant medical bills, so you may need time off work to recover with plenty of support from your loved ones.

More than 250,000 sideswipe accidents happen across the U.S. in an average year, with about 370,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths. Here in California, about 40,000 sideswipe collisions take place annually. 

Why are there so many sideswipes? The California Highway Patrol has found the following common causes of sideswipes. Out of 40,478 sideswipe collisions in one year:

  • 5,860 were lane change accidents
  • 2,409 involved left turns
  • 2,381 occurred between moving and stopped vehicles
  • 1,605 involved right turns
  • 750 occurred as one vehicle passed another
  • 615 involved vehicles entering traffic
  • 525 involved crossing over into an opposing lane
  • 328 involved U-turns
  • 300 involved merges
  • 110 involved wrong-way turns/travel

As you can see, lane changes, passes, and turns are California’s leading causes of sideswipes. The statistics above also show that a surprising number of these accidents involve stopped vehicles that are sitting still when they’re sideswiped! 

Sideswipe statistics don’t always account for sideswiped bicyclists, scooter riders, and pedestrians, which are typically counted as bicycle/pedestrian accidents. Similarly, sideswipes involving semi-trucks are usually tracked separately for crash analysis by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Someone Sideswiped My Car. What Should I Do?

Being sideswiped is a scary situation. One moment, you’re driving along as usual, and the next, you’re veering off your path due to an unexpected impact from another driver.

You can be sideswiped anywhere on the road, not just on a busy California freeway. Many sideswipes happen in construction zones, retail shopping areas, and busy residential neighborhoods. Some even occur due to unusual circumstances like unexpectedly icy streets or another driver’s road rage.

Immediately after the crash, remain at the accident scene and stop to assess yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 for injury assistance and work with the police to start a crash report. Share your contact information and basic facts about the crash, but don’t give too many details or argue about what happened.

If you’ve been injured and have losses from the sideswipe accident, consult a sideswipe accident lawyer as soon as possible to determine your next steps. You’ll need legal insights from an experienced legal professional with a background in helping people handle California sideswipe car accidents.

How is Sideswipe Car Accident Fault Determined?

changing lanes

In California, each person’s level of fault for a sideswipe accident is assigned as a percentage using the comparative fault rule. One person might be 100% responsible, and the other holds zero blame, or there could be 50/50 shared fault or another percentage. Sometimes, a third party is assigned liability, like a distracted driver who sets off a chain-reaction crash.

Your share of the blame will be established through evidence like witness statements, the police report, skid marks, expert testimony, dashcam videos, and surveillance footage from nearby businesses. As you gather and present your evidence, you’ll also have an opportunity to provide documentation showing your costs and losses, like medical bills, lost days of work, and your pain and suffering.

A qualified car accident lawyer can help you look at your accident from various perspectives and consider who may hold partial or total liability for what happened. 

  • What occurred immediately before the crash, like a lane change, merge, or turn?
  • Did someone make a sudden or unexpected driving move?
  • How did blind spots factor into the accident?
  • Was anyone driving aggressively?
  • Was someone driving while distracted, texting, drunk, or taking drugs?
  • Were there any equipment malfunctions?
  • How did the weather and road conditions factor into the accident?

Sideswipe Accident Injuries? We’re Here to Help.

If you were injured in a sideswipe accident and need to find out who’s at fault, turn to the team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We help injured people understand their options and pursue compensation via California’s personal injury claims process

We care about helping you recover from your injuries on every front, including your health, career, financial wellness, emotional stability, and interpersonal relationships. A sideswipe accident doesn’t have to destroy your life. 

Please call our legal team today at 877-380-8852 and request a free case evaluation about your sideswipe accident.

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