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John Bruscato Sept. 11, 2020

Sideswipes happen all the time and in many cases, these collisions result in little else than a few dings, scratches, and some paint damage to the side of your vehicle. But a sideswipe collision at 75 miles per hour on a zooming highway can very quickly be the catalyst for a severe car accident — and a potentially life-threatening injury.

What is a sideswipe accident?

A sideswipe accident (also referred to as a "blind spot accident") is a type of car crash where the sides of two vehicles — whether moving in the same or opposite directions — make an impact. 

A sideswipe can happen between two moving vehicles. A vehicle may also sideswipe a parked car or stationary object (such as a guardrail or a concrete median). 

Like rear-end accidents, you may not think a sideswipe collision is much to worry about. But the reality is, sideswipe accidents account for 27,000 injuries and 2,500 deaths every year, according to research by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

What causes sideswipe car accidents? 

Research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that 94% of all traffic accidents happen because of human error. These data included behaviors that commonly lead to car accidents like drug and alcohol use, road rage, speeding, reckless and distracted driving. Sideswipes are a typical example of what can happen when negligent drivers are around. 

Sideswipes commonly happen when a rear vehicle is trying to pass the front car, or when the car at fault starts moving into the other vehicle's lane. These accidents are usually the result of some form of distracted or reckless driving, but other common causes include: 

  • Tired, drowsy, or intoxicated drivers weaving in their lane

  • Drivers failing to check their blind spots when merging or changing lanes

  • Failure to signal when turning

  • Drivers distracted by texting, radio, devices, or phone calls

  • Road rage or reckless driving

  • Low spatial awareness when navigating close quarters

  • Inclement weather or slippery roads

Tired, drowsy, or drunk drivers may swerve, fail to see blind spots when changing lanes, or practice unsafe driving. Any situation that compromises the driver's awareness of their vehicle (and the cars around them) can easily result in an unfortunate sideswipe collision. 

Road rage can also lead to sideswiped car accidents. An enraged driver will tend to be more hasty and aggressive about changing lanes, overtaking vehicles in front of them.

Throw in texting, failure to check side-view mirrors or blind spots, and there's a high potential for sideswipes, if not a more serious auto accident.

What should you do after a sideswipe accident? 

The first thing to do after a sideswipe is call 911. Even if the accident was minor, you must call the police and file a police report. 

Next, if your car is drivable, move your vehicle off the road to avoid obstructing traffic. Then, check on the passengers and driver of the other vehicle and make sure they are uninjured. 

If you were injured in the sideswipe accident, seek medical treatment immediately. After that, I recommend that you speak with a car accident attorney as soon as possible and secure legal representation. 

A professional attorney in Monroe, LA, can help you understand if you deserve rightful compensation. Bruscato Law Firm can help you file your claim and determine if you can recover compensation to pay for your injuries and damages.

After seeking medical care, here are a few other steps you can take after a sideswipe:

  • Get a copy of the police report along with any eye witness recounts of the accident. Make sure to obtain their names and contact information.

  • Take photos documenting the accident and any property damage to your vehicle.

  • Get copies of all medical bills, auto repair bills, or any other out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident.

  • Exchange information with the other driver — personal contact information, car insurance company information, license plate number, and driver's license number.

If you're the victim of a sideswipe accident, a car accident lawyer can help you negotiate with the at-fault driver's auto insurance provider and fight for fair compensation on your behalf.

Who is liable for a sideswipe collision? 

According to Louisiana state traffic laws:

"A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such a lane until a driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety."

In other words, if an accident occurred because a driver was attempting to change lanes without looking, they are liable for the accident. If they tried to change lanes, swerved, or drifted into another lane, and a sideswipe accident ensued, they are liable. 

However, if two vehicles were attempting to change lanes simultaneously, they may both be liable for the accident. 

This is where an experienced attorney can step in to investigate the nature of the crash to determine liability and damages. If you were not at fault, the at-fault driver's insurance company should cover the cost of all related damages and injuries resulting from a sideswipe collision.

Don't underestimate the potential danger of sideswipe collisions

Sideswipes that happen on the highway can very quickly end with serious injuries inflicted on the driver and their passengers.

Unlike rear-end collisions, which are often just harmless fender benders, a sideswiped car at high speed can cause the driver to over-respond, jerk the wheel, and lose control. It's a matter of over-steering to correct course after the jarring experience of being sideswiped. 

As you can imagine, these types of accidents, which may have started as a swerving lane change, can end in a dangerous rollover or head-on collision — the worst-case scenarios in a car accident. 

Not all sideswipe accidents end in serious personal injury. The potential for serious injury depends on the specific nature of the accident. The traveling vehicles' speed and size are two key factors that can determine the severity of injury or vehicle damage. If there is a significant mismatch between two cars in a sideswipe, then the likelihood of severe damage to the smaller vehicle is much higher. 

Contact Bruscato Law Firm today for your free consultation

No matter how serious the car accident, a personal injury lawyer who understands car accidents' legal nuances can help you on your road to recovery. 

If you've been in a sideswipe accident in Monroe, LA, Bruscato Law Firm will give you the legal advice you need. Contact us today for a free case review to discuss your case evaluation and investigate your compensation rights.