Sideswipe accidents happen when the sides of two vehicles collide while traveling in the same direction. These accidents can cause serious injuries and other damages.
If you were injured in a sideswipe accident, you might immediately know the other driver was at fault. Other times, responsibility for the accident could be unclear.
No matter the circumstances, you should not admit fault in a sideswipe accident until you have all the facts. Avoid accepting any blame or saying “sorry” to the other driver or their insurance company. It’s also best to speak with a car accident lawyer before discussing the accident with anyone else.
Determining Fault in a Sideswipe Accident
In Georgia, the negligent driver in an accident is responsible for the costs. But how do you know who is at fault? By looking at their actions.
Negligence is a lack of ordinary care that a prudent person would have in the same or similar situation, according to Georgia Code §51-1-2. Basically, it means the person was not being careful enough to avoid causing harm. If a negligent person’s actions lead to a sideswipe accident, they are at least partially at fault.
Sideswipe accidents are complicated when it comes to fault. One driver, both drivers, or multiple drivers could be at fault. For this reason, you should be careful about your words and actions after the collision.
Why You Shouldn’t Admit Fault
Anything you say after a car accident can be used against you. If you admit blame for the crash, it can hurt your legal case.
If another driver caused your accident, you can seek compensation through an injury claim with the driver’s insurance company. But that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically win what you deserve. The insurance company will look for ways to pay less or deny your claim.
If you admit fault for the accident at any point, the insurance company will almost surely use it against you. They might claim that:
- You were partially at fault for the accident.
- You were fully at fault for the accident.
- You’re not truthful about your injuries and accident damages.
Partial Fault Will Decrease Your Compensation
Like many states, Georgia has a modified comparative negligence law. These types of laws mean that:
- You can still seek compensation for an accident if you were less than 50% at fault.
- Your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
- You cannot recover damages if you were 50% or more at fault for an accident.
The insurance company knows that they can reduce their costs by blaming you. Even if they can partially blame you, they’ll decrease what they owe. Suppose the insurance adjuster can prove you were mostly at fault for the accident. In that case, they might avoid paying anything at all.
You can protect your rights by not talking about the accident with anyone but your lawyer. It’s also a good idea to contact a lawyer for a free consultation, even if you think you might be partly at fault. During a consultation, a lawyer can determine your rights and what you’ll need to do to seek fair compensation.
Our car accident lawyers have been helping accident victims for over 20 years. If you were injured in a sideswipe accident, we can probably guide you on what to do next. Plus, we don’t get paid unless we win you money. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or contact us online today for a free consultation.
Proving the Other Driver’s Negligence
Besides avoiding blame, you’ll need to show how the other driver was responsible for your sideswipe accident. You can do so by proving that:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care.
- The driver failed in their duty and was negligent.
- The driver’s negligence led to your sideswipe accident.
- You suffered personal injury damages because of the collision.
You’ll need to show that the driver’s actions led to your accident and injuries. Drivers often cause sideswipe accidents through actions like:
- Not using a turn signal
- Improper or unsafe lane changes
- Merging onto or off of a highway incorrectly
- Failing to yield or check blindspots
- Weaving or swerving in and out of lanes
Even if you were partially at fault, you shouldn’t have to pay for any part of the accident you didn’t cause. Also, keep in mind that it’s human nature to blame yourself—but you might not be at fault. We find that many accident victims think they’re to blame when they actually hold no fault in their collision.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer About Fault in Your Accident
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you determine the facts. They’ll support you and your rights by:
- Gathering evidence from the accident scene
- Determining who was at fault for the crash
- Communicating with the insurance company for you
- Protecting you from unfair blame or settlement offers
- Calculating all of your accident damages
- Building a strong and fair case for compensation
You can usually seek financial recovery through an insurance claim. However, some accident cases become complicated. If more than one party is partially at fault, the insurance company might refuse to negotiate.
If you need to file a lawsuit, our lawyers will be there every step of the way. We don’t back down from complex legal cases, and we fight to win for our clients. We also will not charge you a fee unless we win you compensation.
To discuss your sideswipe accident during a free consultation, reach out today. Contact us online or call us at (404) 341-6555 to get started.