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Sideswipe accidents typically aren’t as severe as angle crashes or head-on collisions, but they can still do serious damage. Sideswipes sometimes start off a chain reaction—one driver swerves after a sideswipe, hits someone else and causes a pileup. Sideswipes may lead a vehicle to spin out or run off the road. Most seriously, sideswipe crashes can even cause rollovers—sometimes resulting in catastrophic injuries.  

But while sideswipes can do serious damage, it’s sometimes hard to determine fault. It may be challenging to tell which driver left a lane or whether several drivers should share the blame. Insurance companies, too, tend to fight sideswipe payouts, denying that their insured driver is at fault or arguing that the resulting injuries aren’t actually that severe.  

So how do you determine fault after a sideswipe crash?     

Why do sideswipes occur?  

A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars going the same direction collide. Sideswipes may also occur when one moving car hits parked cars or other structures. 

Sideswipe accidents happen for many reasons, including impairment, distraction, vision issues or a failure to take necessary precautions when doing something high risk, like changing lanes or merging. A driver under the influence of alcohol and drugs may be unable to maintain a lane. A driver who is texting or checking GPS may fail to notice a slow down ahead and swerve to avoid rear-ending the lead car, only hitting the car in the next lane instead.  

Sideswipes may also happen when: 

  • Drivers merge too quickly or too slowly onto the highway 
  • Drivers hydroplane on wet roads  
  • Drivers change lanes without signaling, or change lanes without checking blind spots 
  • Two drivers attempt to move into the same lane at the same time 
  • Drivers weave or cut across multiple lanes at once 

Usually, the driver who left his or her lane is at fault in a sideswipe accident, unless there was some outstanding aggression on the part of the other driver (like not allowing a merge). In multivehicle crashes, several drivers may share responsibility. Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, it’s possible to be partly at fault and still receive compensation.  

Steps to take after a sideswipe accident 

After a sideswipe crash, you’ll want to call 911 and receive emergency care if you need it. If you’re able to, and if it can be done safely, document the crash scene, photographing tire marks and the damage to vehicles. If you didn’t receive emergency treatment, seek medical attention immediately after police give you the OK to leave. Insurance companies often try to argue that sideswipe injuries are not serious. By documenting your medical needs immediately, you close off the chance for insurance companies to argue that you were not hurt, or claim that you were not hurt in the accident.  

A personal injury attorney can support your case, contacting witnesses, handling conversations with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and looking for evidence of reckless, impaired or distracted driving. While sideswipe accidents are more complicated than some crashes from a technical perspective, especially when they involve multiple cars, it is possible to obtain the compensation you deserve.  

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney at The King Firm  

If you’ve been hurt in a sideswipe accident, we can help. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.  

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