A sideswipe accident occurs when the side of one vehicle comes into contact with the side of another. While this type of accident may sound minor, a sideswipe car accident can injure occupants or touch off a deadly chain reaction. These types of wrecks are also challenging because it can be difficult for your Atlanta car accident lawyer to prove fault. Here is what you need to know about sideswipes and what to do if you are the victim of one.
Sideswipes happen when two cars traveling in the same direction, and beside each other, collide. One vehicle scrapes the other, causing scratches and, at first, minor damage. The second driver often steers away, sometimes instinctively, to avoid the car that hit him or her. But the reaction to a sideswipe is often what causes a more serious accident. The second driver may strike another vehicle, pedestrians, or an object. And in some cases, the first driver, after sideswiping the second, overcorrects and causes another accident as well. These subsequent wrecks are typically the more disastrous ones.
Common Sideswipe Accident Causes
There are many causes of these accidents, but some of the more common ones are:
- Changing lanes without checking blind spots
- Drifting out of one lane and into another
- Incorrectly judging a curve or turn
- Rapidly changing lanes and failing to use turn signals
- Two cars that merge into a center lane at the same time
- Swerving to avoid a road hazard
- Losing control of the vehicle
How is Fault Proven in a Sideswipe Accident?
The responsible driver is typically distracted or speeding and unable to carefully navigate his or her lane. Regardless of the reason for the sideswipe car accident, it can be challenging to prove the other driver was at fault. The other driver may have been responsible for drifting out of his or her lane or improperly switching lanes. But it’s often the second driver who reacts in a way that causes a more serious crash. The first driver is responsible, but proving it can be a challenging endeavor for a car accident victim.
The issue of responsibility is important because fault will determine whether, and how much, a plaintiff may collect. Georgia has a comparative fault law. This means that in Georgia, an accident victim can recover damages as long as he or she is less than 50% at fault. But even if you can recover, the actual amount will be based on your relative fault. You will recover much less if you are found to be 40% versus 10% at fault, for example.
It is for this reason that insurance companies are notorious for trying to deny payouts in sideswipe accidents. The at-fault driver’s insurer will almost certainly try to blame you for the accident. The insurance company will at least argue for a higher percentage of liability on your part. You can expect a lowball offer that will not come close to covering your actual losses.
How Can a Lawyer Help a Sideswipe Accident Claim?
That’s why you need an aggressive Georgia automobile accident attorney. If you’ve been injured in a sideswipe car accident, you could be facing substantial medical bills. Some common injuries are cuts, broken bones, and back and neck injuries. But in more serious accidents you could suffer a traumatic brain injury, amputation, or worse. If your accident injured or killed a third party, they may attempt to blame you instead of the first driver.
An experienced automobile accident attorney will conduct an independent investigation and examine all facts. Your lawyer will also consider other evidence, such as police reports and witness statements. If evidence in the form of surveillance video or photographs can be obtained, your attorney can use those as well. To the extent possible, gather the evidence you can after a wreck and get it to your lawyer.
Contact a Lawyer for Your Sideswipe Accident
After a sideswipe car accident, you will likely be hurt, stressed, and inundated with offers and calls from insurance companies. Let our experienced Atlanta personal injury lawyers handle the difficult work for you and defend your rights while you heal. Schneider Hammers is experienced with all types of automobile accidents. Contact us today to get started on your case.