Distracted driving or trying to avoid crashing into a car in front can lead to a side-swipe accident. A side-swipe accident occurs when two vehicles are going in the same direction and one driver ends up in the other’s lane, causing both vehicles to be impacted on the side. A side-swipe accident can also involve a vehicle and an inanimate object, such as a guardrail or pole.
Side-swipe accidents can be very serious, especially at high speeds. Both drivers are usually unprepared, resulting in loss of control of the vehicle. In some cases, a car can be pushed into the path of another vehicle, such as a semi-truck. The vehicle may be pushed off the road entirely, even down an embankment. In these cases, the result can be death. In 2016, there were 940 fatalities caused by side-swipe accidents.
Determining fault in a side-swipe accident can be tricky, since the parties will likely blame each other. Read on to learn more about who can be at fault.
Who Is Liable?
Drivers have a duty to stay in their lane and not move into an adjacent lane until it is safe to do so. This is a basic law of the road in all states. Therefore, the driver that leaves their lane is the one at fault. If both drivers left their lanes at the same time, then both would likely be equally at fault.
It is important to follow any signs on the roadway as well, as they may determine whether or not you should have been in a specific lane. For example, some lanes are carpool lanes designated for cars with two or more people. A lane may not have been usable due to construction work. It is important to pay attention to signage on the road while driving.
In addition, if you violated any traffic laws, you could be held liable as well. For example, speed could play a role. If you were going way above or below the speed limit at the time of the crash, you could be cited.
The most common cause of side-swipe crashes is distracted driving, although these accidents were originally caused blind spot accidents, since they were often caused by drivers not seeing other vehicles in their blind spots.
What to Do
If you have been side-swiped by another vehicle, reacting quickly is key. Do not make any sudden movements, as this can cause you to hit other vehicles. Try to maintain control of your vehicle and slow down. Get to the shoulder as quickly and as safely as possible.
Get Hurt? Get Gary!
Side-swipe crashes are not always minor accidents. Some cause significant vehicle damage, injuries and even fatalities. If you or a loved one was a victim, seek legal help right away.
Determining fault in a side-swipe accident can be challenging. The skilled lawyers from the Falkowitz Law Firm are up to the challenge. We will fight for your right to compensation. Schedule a free consultation by calling 844-GET-GARY today.
Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.