Sideswipe accidents happen when one vehicle hits the side of another car traveling in the same direction. Sideswipe collisions typically occur when one driver is changing lanes or merging onto a road. From a legal standpoint, the most important fact is who was at-fault for the sideswipe accident.
If you were injured in a sideswipe accident, you’ll need to know who was at fault. Most of these crashes occur because of unsafe lane changes, but every situation is different. If you were not at-fault, you probably deserve compensation from the other driver.
Knowing Who’s Responsible in a Sideswipe Accident
According to Georgia Code §40-6-48, drivers must stay within a single lane as fully as possible on the road. Drivers shouldn’t move from their lane until they can do so safely. Unfortunately, not all motorists follow these rules.
When a sideswipe accident happens, the at-fault driver is usually:
- Making an unsafe lane change from one lane to another, or
- Unsafely merging into traffic, such as onto a highway.
Determining fault isn’t always so simple. The lane-changing driver, the other driver, or both drivers could be at fault. It’s vital to know who was at fault because that party is responsible for damages like:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
It can be challenging to know how a sideswipe accident happened. A lawyer can help you gather evidence from the accident. Most of the time, you’ll need to rely on driver accounts, witness statements, and data from the scene.
The at-fault driver might try to blame you or deny that they caused the accident. Or the driver’s insurance company will look for ways to avoid paying your damages. To protect your legal rights, contact a car accident lawyer immediately.
Our car accident lawyers have 20-plus years of experience working on sideswipe accident cases. We know what it takes to build strong injury claims. To discuss your options during a free consultation, call (404) 341-6555 or contact us online.
When the Driver Changing Lanes Is at Fault
The driver merging into another lane is often at-fault for a sideswipe accident. Common ways a driver is at fault include:
- Failing to yield before merging
- Swerving or drifting into another lane
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Not checking blind spots
- Failing to signal before changing lanes
- Driving while drunk or distracted
- Driving too fast for current conditions
When the Other Driver Might Be at Fault
Sometimes, the other driver is at-fault for a sideswipe accident.
For example, maybe the driver didn’t pay attention when the first driver began to merge. Or the driver blocked the other driver from merging or changing lanes. Other times, drivers miss seeing a vehicle change lanes because they are texting or distracted in some other way.
The merging driver is typically at-fault in a sideswipe collision, but sometimes the fault falls on the other motorist.
When Both Drivers Cause a Sideswipe Accident
More than one driver can be at-fault for a sideswipe crash. For example, maybe two drivers start switching lanes at the same time. This is more common when there are more than two lanes of traffic on a one-way highway.
All drivers had a legal duty to exercise care. If more than one driver is negligent, all parties could be partially at-fault. According to Georgia Code §51-12-33, a driver can still recover damages if they were less than 50% at fault.
If the fault in your accident is unclear, call a car accident lawyer in your area. You might deserve compensation even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Don’t assume one way or the other without speaking to a lawyer first.
Gathering Evidence of Fault After an Accident
You can help protect yourself after a sideswipe accident with the following steps:
- Call the police to report the accident. Always report the accident, even if the other driver doesn’t want to. The police should create an accident report that is important evidence of your accident.
- Get medical attention. If you need an ambulance, call 911. Otherwise, see a doctor as soon as possible after the accident. You will need to know about all of your injuries and have evidence of treatment.
- Take pictures of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the accident scene. Photos preserve the scene as it looked right after the accident. Evidence from the scene can help prove what occurred and who was negligent.
- Talk to any witnesses to your accident. Witness statements can be beneficial for your case. Get witnesses’ names and contact information. Your lawyer can contact them soon after.
You should also call an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can help with all of the above and more.
Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer About Your Sideswipe Accident
Sideswipe accident cases can be complicated. It might be difficult to show who was at fault and what occurred. Frustratingly, the other driver might try to blame you or deny any fault.
If you were not at-fault for your accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for the damages. But you’ll need to protect your rights if you want to seek the fullest compensation. This is where an experienced lawyer is invaluable.
Our car accident lawyers know how to represent sideswipe accident victims. We’ll review your case and discuss your legal options. To learn more during a free consultation, call (404) 341-6555 or contact us online.