The driver whose actions caused a sideswipe accident will usually be at fault for any injuries or property damage that result from the collision. However, fault is not always easy to pinpoint in these cases due to the way they occur.
Determining who is at fault in a sideswipe accident is essential to assigning liability and financial responsibility for the resulting damages. If you suffered a sideswipe accident, our firm can search for evidence of the other driver’s fault in your case.
Defining Sideswipe Accidents
Sideswipe accidents usually occur when two vehicles traveling parallel to each other make contact. A vehicle also can sideswipe an object, such as a parked car, bridge, median, or telephone pole. In less common cases, one car can sideswipe another traveling in the opposite direction, but that situation more often leads to head-on collisions.
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Louisiana Law Requires Drivers to Maintain Their Lanes and Pass Safely
Under RS 32:79, when a roadway is divided into two or more clearly marked lanes, motorists must drive within a single lane and not move into another until they have determined they can do so safely.
Therefore, a driver who fails to signal, check their blind spots, or otherwise look out for other vehicles before changing lanes violates the law. When this leads to a collision, victims can hold the driver liable for their injuries and damages.
Negligence and Sideswipe Accidents
Negligence is a legal term for when one party fails to exercise reasonable care, resulting in injuries to another. On the road, this can apply to motorists who do not drive safely for the benefit of themselves and others. Negligent driving may consist of reckless or careless behaviors behind the wheel, depending on the circumstances that led to the crash.
For example, a sideswipe accident may occur when a driver:
- Fails to signal when making a lane change
- Forgets to check for other drivers before changing lanes
- Cuts off another driver
Other Factors That Can Lead to Sideswipe Collisions
Sideswipe accidents can also occur when one driver fails to maintain their lane. This behavior can occur due to various factors, such as:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Driving while overly tired
- Engaging in distracting activities when driving, such as texting, talking on a cell phone, using GPS, eating, or drinking
- Exhibiting road rage or other forms of reckless driving
No matter the reason, if the improper lane change or failure to stay in a single lane results in an accident, the driver can be considered negligent and liable for any injuries and property damage that occurs.
Damages in Sideswipe Crashes
According to the Center for Analytics & Research in Transportation Safety, the majority of these accidents involve vehicles traveling in the same direction. However, vehicles traveling in opposite directions can sometimes be involved in sideswipe accidents.
While most of these accidents involve only property damage, a significant number still cause injuries to one or more persons. For example, injuries can occur when the negligent driver strikes the side of the vehicle where the driver sits. Passengers seated behind the driver can suffer injuries, as well. Injury victims may be able to seek various damages after a sideswipe accident, depending on who is at fault. Possible damages can include:
- Injury-related medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Bills for prescriptions and medical assistive devices
- Lost wages when injuries make you unable to work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma from the accident
If an accident is fatal, surviving family members may be eligible to collect other damages, including funeral and burial costs, final medical expenses, and loss of companionship.
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Hit-and-Run Sideswipe Accidents
In some cases, you might not be able to identify the negligent driver who struck your vehicle. Police may or may not be able to locate a hit-and-run driver who is at fault for your injuries.
If you are the victim of a hit-and-run sideswipe accident, you still may have some options for financial recovery. If police eventually identify the driver, you might be able to seek damages from that person. If not, you may be eligible for compensation from your personal uninsured or underinsured motorist policy if you have one in effect.
Allow Us to Help You with Your Sideswipe Accident Case
Determining who is at fault in a sideswipe accident is crucial to holding one or more parties liable for your injuries and vehicle damage. Without a finding of fault or negligence, you might be unable to recover compensation for your losses. You can count on our team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers to investigate your case and search for evidence to support your claim.
Call our offices today at (337) 777-7777 for a free case consultation. We can look into the circumstances surrounding your sideswipe crash and discuss the legal options for compensation that may be available to you.