A sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles driving next to each other in the same direction make contact. This type of accident often happens where two lanes merge such as the on-ramp to an interstate highway. Causes of sideswipes include:
- Drivers who are not paying attention when they make a lane change
- Drivers who are distracted by texting or talking to passengers while they are driving
- Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- An object or animal on the road that causes drivers to swerve abruptly
- Vehicles moving in a blind spot, and drivers don’t see it
Injuries in Sideswipe Crashes
Because cars are designed to provide drivers and passengers the most protection against head-on and rear-end crashes, sideswipe accidents can result in severe injuries. The front and back of a vehicle have bumpers to help absorb the force of a crash, but the sides of a vehicle don’t offer the same protection. There is little space between the side of a car and the driver or passenger inside. In addition, there is often a secondary crash in a sideswipe accident as the vehicles involved could collide with another vehicle, guardrail, concrete barrier, or road sign.
Those involved in a sideswipe accident can suffer serious internal injuries; broken arms, knees, or legs; or injuries to the back, neck, or head. These types of injuries are not always readily apparent, so it’s crucial that victims get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible.
What to Do After a Sideswipe Crash
Sometimes sideswipe accidents mean minimal damage to the vehicles in the form of small dents and dings, so insurance companies might try to dispute any injury claims. But just because the insurance company deems an accident “minor” does not mean those involved do not have very real injuries.
After an accident, take the following steps to help protect a personal injury claim:
- Document the scene by taking pictures of the vehicles involved as well as any other object that might have been hit.
- Get the contact information of any eyewitnesses, so you can call on them later if needed.
- Call the police, even if the cars involved sustained only minor damage. A police report is an essential record of the accident that you will need for any insurance and/or personal injury claim.
- Get medical treatment for any injuries, even if they seem minor. Let your doctor know that you were involved in a sideswipe crash, so they can conduct a thorough examination to assess potential damage you may not be aware of. Injuries to the head, neck, and back often don’t show symptoms until later, and these types of injuries can greatly impact your life and can even inhibit your ability to work. Visiting the doctor will provide documentation of your injuries.
- Contact a car accident attorney. An attorney can offer specific advice about your case and help protect your rights to a full recovery. Do not accept any offer of a settlement from the insurance company until you have spoken to an attorney.
Damages You May Recover
If a negligent driver caused injuries in a sideswipe accident, you might be able to recover damages for the following:
- Medical expenses related to your injuries
- Lost wages
- Lost future wages if your injuries are permanent
- Pain and suffering associated with the injury
- Damage to your vehicle as well as any personal property that might have been inside
An attorney will evaluate your potential damages and help ensure your claim adequately covers them.
Call a Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a sideswipe accident that was not your fault, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. Trying to deal with insurance companies on your own is not only challenging, but it could cost you fair compensation. Having an attorney in your corner can help make sure you recover all the damages to which you are entitled. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.