The party at fault in a sideswipe accident will depend on the specific facts of each collision. The party who caused the accident through negligence or an intentional act is likely to get charged with the collision.
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What Can Cause a Sideswipe Accident?
Many different actions can lead to a sideswipe collision. Here are a few examples of things that can lead to this type of accident:
- A car strays from its lane on the highway due to driver distraction, fatigue, or impairment from drugs or alcohol. The straying vehicle will usually be responsible for the accident.
- Intentional sideswipe collisions can be the product of road rage. The aggressive road rage driver will be at fault.
- Tall vehicles like RVs and tractor-trailers sometimes sideswipe smaller cars in their blind spots. The vehicle that failed to check its blind spot is often found negligent.
- Merge lanes are the scene of many sideswipe collisions. Whether trying to get onto the highway or exit the road, frequently, the car that failed to yield the right-of-way is at fault.
- Sometimes, drivers are paying attention but misjudge the amount of space they have. The vehicle operator might be unfamiliar with the car and not have a clear sense of the vehicle’s “footprint.” Still, an honest mistake can be negligence.
- When a driver tries to pass another vehicle despite oncoming traffic, the passing car might sideswipe the vehicle it tries to overtake. Poor judgment in deciding to attempt the maneuver when there is not enough time to pass safely tends to lead to the passing driver getting charged with the collision.
This list includes some of the most common causes of these crashes and who is at fault in sideswipe accidents. Your situation might involve a different scenario. In cases of negligence, as opposed to an intentional act like road rage, the law offers guidance about how to determine the responsible party.
How to Prove who was the Negligent Driver
Our state follows the standard method of determining who was at fault in sideswipe accidents and other types of personal injury claims. The American Bar Association (ABA) says that we will have to show all four of these factors to pursue a claim for compensation against the defendant:
Duty of Care
The person we go after for damages must have owed you a legal duty. All drivers have a legal obligation to drive with caution and pay attention to their surroundings.
Breach of Duty
Negligence means that someone failed to live up to a legal duty of care. Let’s say that someone was on the entrance ramp to a highway and did not bother to look for traffic in the lane they tried to enter. Assuming that other cars would move out of their way, they pulled onto the highway without looking. Failure to yield the right-of-way is negligence.
Negligent acts happen constantly, but they do not always cause accidents. When the careless act causes a collision, the facts satisfy this requirement for legal liability.
If there was no car in the lane or the car that was there moved out of harm’s way in time, there would be no accident and no causation. If, however, the negligence caused a sideswipe collision, the careless driver would be at fault.
You must have measurable damages to pursue damages in car accident claims. Physical injuries count as measurable losses and satisfy this factor.
After we establish all four of these elements, we can seek damages from the defendant.
Damages You Can get for a Sideswipe Accident That was Someone Else’s Fault
Like all other kinds of personal injury claims, the amount of compensation you can go after for a sideswipe collision will depend on the facts of your case. Here are some of the more common types of damages that people pursue in car accident injury claims, according to the ABA:
If you did not get all of your usual wages because you missed time from work as a result of the accident, medical treatments, and recuperation time, you can typically add this loss to your claim. This category can include lost wages, salary, self-employment, and other forms of regular income.
People who cannot earn as much after a collision because of impairment from their injuries might have a claim for the loss of earning capacity. If you have to take a lower-paying job or reduce your hours as a result of your injuries, this situation could qualify as lost income or decreased earning potential.
Generally, the law allows you to seek damages for the reasonable cost of the medical treatment you needed for your injuries. The ambulance or life flight helicopter can get included in your medical costs.
Also, the emergency room, doctors, hospital, diagnostic procedures, lab tests, x-rays and other imaging studies, physical therapy, prescription drugs, and other necessary medical services or goods can count as allowed medical expenses.
These damages are intangible because they often do not have easy ways to measure them in dollars, unlike lost income or medical costs. Still, these losses are real and valid.
For example, compensation for pain and suffering honors the physical discomfort and emotional distress you endured as a result of the collision and your injuries. Other examples of intangible losses include disfigurement, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the loss of enjoyment of life.
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