While every automobile accident has the potential to cause devastating and life-threatening injuries, not every type of crash receives the attention it deserves. Sideswipe car crashes are among the most overlooked types of collision, despite being among the most common.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Car Crashes
Sideswipe car crashes occur when two vehicles, traveling in the same direction or in opposite directions, make unexpected contact on the side.
The most common causes of sideswipe accidents include the following:
- Drivers who fail to check their mirrors or blind spot before initiating a lane change maneuver
- Drivers who change lanes while distracted
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drivers who find unexpected obstacles in the road that force them to change lanes with little to no warning
Sideswipe collisions typically involve one motorist violating another driver’s right-of-way. They are common on multi-lane roads, complex intersections, and highway ramps.
The Underrated Dangers of “Minor” Sideswipe Accidents
Since sideswipe accidents often involve glancing blows and indirect impacts, they are regularly mischaracterized as minor collisions. However, the severity of a car crash is dependent on a variety of other elements.
Why a Sideswipe Crash Can Be Serious
- Speed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that sideswipe accidents are more likely to result in serious injuries when one or both of the involved vehicles is traveling at a high rate of speed. Higher speeds increase the amount of force generated in a collision and the chance that the victim may be forced off the roadway and into other obstacles.
- Size. If a semi-truck, delivery van, or SUV sideswipes a passenger car or motorcycle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle may sustain serious injuries.
- Underride. Semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles are required to install rear underride guards; however, federal law does not currently mandate the use of side underride guards, which prevent smaller vehicles from entering the space between a trailer and the pavement from the side. When a car hits the side of a truck, it can slide underneath it, often resulting in devastating injuries, including amputation, disfigurement, and decapitation.
Passengers of smaller vehicles, such as bicycles and motorcycles, are those most likely to be seriously injured in sideswipe collisions.
What to Do After a Virginia Sideswipe Crash
Since sideswipe collisions typically involve right-of-way violations, many victims mistakenly believe they have indisputable, open-and-shut claims. However, insurance companies are for-profit enterprises that often prioritize profits over people. While you might have evidence to suggest the crash was not your fault, the adjuster may issue never-ending demands for additional documentation, hoping you will eventually give in to an unfair settlement.
Protect Your Recovery After a Sideswipe Accident
- Call 911 to report the accident.
- Seek immediate medical attention, even if you do not believe you have been seriously injured.
- Collect evidence from the crash site. This could include pictures of your physical injuries as well as damage to your automobile and other personal property.
- Speak to potential eyewitnesses, and ask for their full names and contact information.
- Contact an experienced Virginia sideswipe accident attorney.
The Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Virginia Car Crash Lawyer
Numerous studies have shown that personal injury plaintiffs who retain experienced legal counsel are more likely to receive favorable car accident settlements than victims who try to represent themselves.
A car accident lawyer could help you win your sideswipe collision claim by:
- Collecting evidence that help proves the at-fault driver was responsible for your accident and accident-related injuries
- Subpoenaing surveillance camera footage from nearby businesses and traffic lights
- Consulting expert witnesses to analyze your accident and verify the veracity of your medical claims
- Negotiating with the insurance company, letting you focus on your physical health and recovery
Contact an Experienced Virginia Car Accident Attorney
A seemingly minor sideswipe accident could lead to life-changing injuries. Fortunately, you do not have to bear the burden of another motorist’s negligence. Please send Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi, PLLC a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation as soon as possible.