A sideswipe car accident is more dangerous than you may realize; while many people picture a minor accident with two scars scraping one another, it can be much more serious. Each accident case is unique depending on factors like speed and the impact force, but if larger vehicles such as SUVs or commercial trucks are involved, this can cause extensive damages.
Like any other car accident, a sideswipe accident usually takes you by surprise. And while some accidents only leave minor damages, a severe sideswipe can cause substantial consequences. Anybody who was injured in a sideswipe accident should know they have the right to hold the responsible parties accountable for injuries and damages.
When a side-wipe collision involves two vehicles with a size disparity, the damage can be even more devastating. Smaller passenger vehicle occupants may walk away with extensive injuries or even end in a fatality.
What Is a Side-Swipe Accident?
Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles make impact on their sides. This can happen while the vehicles are traveling in the same direction or opposite directions (opposite direction sideswipes occur more frequently). One person may be in the other driver’s blind spot, which means one driver doesn’t see the other one coming up behind them before they end up side-swiping.
What Factors Affect the Outcome Severity of a Sideswipe Accident?
Sideswipes accidents most often occur when drivers make abrupt or reckless lane changes and when two cars swerve to avoid a head-on collision. Some factors contribute to more severe outcomes.
- Differential sizes of vehicles involved. If a large truck sideswipes a smaller vehicle, the damages can be grave. Larger vehicles also have features like extended bumpers and reinforced metal sides that are level with the windows of a smaller vehicle, which is extremely dangerous for the smaller car occupants.
- How fast the vehicles were traveling. Vehicles traveling at higher speeds will have a more powerful impact than slower vehicles.
Most Deadly Types of Sideswipe Accidents
Sideswipe accidents that occur at higher speeds on the highway can be deadly. Most drivers have a natural reaction to self-correct when they make a mistake, which can cause them to lose control of the wheel. This is almost always the case for cars that swerve to avoid a collision and then go on to sideswipe another vehicle or crash into another object.
Sideswipes are the most dangerous when they involve large tractor-trailers and smaller vehicles. For example, the side of a truck can sideswipe a passenger vehicle and cause it to roll under the side of the trailer. This usually results in severe or catastrophic injuries to people in the smaller car.
Why Do Sideswipe Accidents Occur?
Here are some of the most common causes of side-swipe accidents:
- Not steering enough around steep curves
- Distracted driving
- Tired or fatigued drivers who veer into another lane or swerve
- High-clearance vehicles that fail to see or check for smaller vehicles before switching lanes
- Drunk drivers
- Road rage
- Failure to merge safely while entering a highway
Who Is at Fault for a Sideswipe Collision?
In most instances, the person who failed to see a car in their blind spot or the one who swerved into another driver’s lane abruptly is at fault. When a side-swipe collision occurs at high speeds, it can be more difficult to determine who is at fault. However, hiring a St.Petersburg car accident attorney can be highly beneficial to your case.
They know how important it is to conduct a thorough investigation and collect solid evidence to support your claim. This is crucial if you and the other driver have conflicting stories. By working with an attorney, you can gain some peace of mind knowing that an expert private investigator is working carefully with a legal professional to get all the facts straight.
Who Is Responsible for Covering My Car Accident Damages?
Under St. Petersburg law, all drivers are required to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance. With PIP, your insurance company will usually cover 80% of your medical expenses and 60% of lost income. It doesn’t matter who is at fault. Your insurance provider may also be responsible for covering rental or property replacement costs.
However, if the other driver was negligent, you may have a right to pursue compensation beyond PIP coverage. This would be necessary if your injuries meet the requirements in Florida Statute §627.737 for tort exemptions. If so, you could pursue the at-fault party for damages like:
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Other general damages
- Permanent injury
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Death of a loved one
- Permanent loss of bodily function
Possible Injuries That Can Result from a Sideswipe Accident
Doors do not provide much protection if a severe side-swipe collision occurs. Aside from that, there are not many safety features that provide protection to prevent injuries. In other crashes, there are more protections. For example, in a rear-end crash, the trunk acts as a protective barrier between the occupant and the colliding vehicle. Similarly, in a front-end crash, the front of the car and airbags will absorb some impact.
But in a side-swipe accident there is only a door to absorb the impact. On top of that, a sideswipe can easily cause the driver to lose control and get into a chain-reaction collision after the swipe.
Not all sideswipe accidents will result in serious injuries, but the injury potential does exist. The type and severity of injuries depends on what kind of vehicle swipes you. When you get sideswiped by a higher, heavier vehicle, you are likely to get seriously injured. Here are some possible injuries that can result from a side-wipe accident:
- Head trauma, including traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions
- Broken bones
- Internal organ damage
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bruises and cuts
You Might Want a St. Petersburg Car Accident Attorney to Handle Negotiations with the Insurance Company
Sustaining injuries in a sideswipe accident means you have to deal with insurance claims adjusters.since you have to file a claim to get coverage, you can’t really avoid dealing with them. Remember, regardless of fault, your PIP coverage should cover up to a certain limit in damages. But, they may still contact you to get your version of the story. This is how they will determine the value of your claim and how much to offer.
If your injuries clearly meet a tort exemption, you can expect the other party’s insurance to contact you too. It may be necessary to cooperate with your own insurance company, but you are not obligated to do so with a negligent driver’s insurance company. In that case, it might be best to have a St. Petersburg personal injury attorney handle communications on your behalf.
Contact an Experienced St. Petersburg Personal Injury Lawyer Near You If You Are Injured From a Sideswipe Accident
If you were injured in a sideswipe car accident, you should consult a legal professional who can help you understand all of your legal options. You do not have to endure the stress of a legal battle alone. The situation can quickly become even more stressful if there are any disputes over liability while you’re trying to recover from injuries.
Our legal team will listen to you first and then find how we can best help you and explain all of your options to you. It takes experienced lawyers who understand legal issues in car accident cases to successfully resolve injury claims.
Call us today or contact us online for a free consultation.