If you’ve been hurt in a sideswipe crash, it’s vital to have an injury attorney on your side to fight for fair compensation.
Massachusetts Drivers at High Risk of Injury in Sideswipe Accidents
While sideswipe collisions may not have the same force as a head-on crash, there is still a risk of severe or permanent injuries. Cars are designed to withstand high impact at the front and rear of the vehicle, but the sides have relatively few safety precautions. Without bumpers, airbags, steel pillars, or crumple zones to absorb and deflect the force of an impact, passengers may suffer broken bones and traumatic brain injuries upon contact with their windows and doors.
Where Sideswipe Accidents Commonly Occur in MA
- Highways. Sideswipes are common on multiple-lane highways where vehicles travel in the same direction at high speeds.
- City streets. One vehicle might sideswipe another traveling in the opposite direction on a two-lane road or undivided highway.
- Interchanges. Sideswipe collisions often happen where two lanes merge, such as highway on-ramps and off-ramps, expressway interchanges, and narrowing lanes due to accidents or construction.
Common Factors in Sideswipe Crashes
Most sideswipe crashes occur when one driver unexpectedly leaves their travel lane and collides with a neighboring vehicle. Failed lane changes often involve driver negligence, such as failing to check mirrors and blind spots before lane departure or misjudging the space between cars. Although it will take the help of an experienced injury lawyer to determine the basis for negligence in your case, common factors in these types of crashes include:
- Emotional driving. Merging adds stress to an already high-pressure driving environment, but drivers should remain respectful of other vehicles. A driver who refuses to “let in” a car or suddenly accelerates to crowd out a merging driver could ultimately be responsible for a sideswipe collision at the end of a lane.
- Distractions. Drivers on their cell phones or talking to passengers may drift into adjacent lanes, causing injuries to law-abiding road users around them.
- Road hazards. A driver may accidentally swipe a neighboring vehicle while attempting to swerve around road debris or avoid another car in their path.
- Speeding. Speeding is common in most crash types, and sideswipes are no different. High speeds make it more difficult for a driver to stay in control of the car and make the vehicle lighter and easier to lift in windy weather. Even if the car that hit you was traveling under the posted limit, it might still have been going too fast for the conditions or at an unsafe speed for passing.
- Impaired driving. Lane drifting is common in drugged, drunk, or overtired drivers. Fatigue may begin with a driver’s inability to stay in their lane, but the odds of crossing several lanes and falling asleep at the wheel increase with every mile they travel.
- Vehicle defects. Defective auto parts or poor vehicle design can cause a car to drift sideways or make a lane-departure accident worse. Victims might be able to file an injury claim against the manufacturer of the vehicle or car part if vehicle failure made the driver lose control.
Proving Liability After a Sideswipe Collision
Unlike with rear-end accidents, it can be difficult to tell who is at fault in a sideswipe crash. As the injury victim, it’s up to you and your car accident lawyer to prove the other driver was at fault to win compensation.
Potential Sources of Evidence in a Sideswipe Case
- Your vehicle. You may want to delay repairs to your car until your lawyer has finished gathering evidence or hiring an accident reconstruction expert to determine the likely cause and angle of impact first.
- Medical records. Your attorney will need copies of your hospital statements to calculate your damages. They will also examine your medical records to see the full extent of your injuries and how much your condition could cost in the future.
- Camera footage. A traffic or security camera might have captured the entire incident on video if your accident occurred at an intersection. If you were hit by a truck, delivery driver, or taxi, you could have firsthand footage from a dashboard camera. However, you will need your attorney to send a letter to prevent the destruction of the evidence and collect the footage for use in your case.
- Photos of the scene. You can protect your injury claim by taking photographs of the road, the position of the vehicles, and other relevant details before leaving the accident scene. If you were taken straight to the hospital before you could get pictures, you should request a copy of the police report.
How Insurance Companies Work
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a car accident, you may have to fight with an insurer to get the payment you need for medical treatment and accident-related costs. However, most collision victims are flooded with pain and anxiety after a crash, and insurance adjusters take advantage of their weakened position.
Insurance companies often contact victims soon after the crash, offering minimal settlements to protect their best interests. This may seem like a windfall for recovering victims who are out of work, but accepting an early payment will prevent you from getting any more compensation. If you don’t know the full extent of your injuries, you should never accept an insurer’s offer without speaking to an injury lawyer.
The most important thing to do after an accident is seek out an attorney who offers no-obligation consultations and represents you on a contingency-fee basis, giving you the time you need to heal without risking your financial future.