Car Accident: The Basics of Sideswipe Accidents and Determining Who Is at-fault

When a driver drifts out of a lane or merges lanes without checking their blind spots, the driver may cause a sideswipe accident. A sideswipe collision occurs when the sides of two vehicles hit or glance off each other. When vehicles traveling at highway speeds crash into each other, serious or even fatal injuries often result.

Car collision in city street. Road warning triangle sign at first plane

If you have been injured in a Las Vegas sideswipe accident, you may be struggling with painful injuries and lost income and wondering how you’ll manage a growing pile of medical bills. The person who caused the sideswipe accident should pay your medical bills and the other losses you have incurred. That is What’s Right. You may have the right to seek compensation by filing a sideswipe car accident claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance.

The Las Vegas sideswipe accident attorneys at Sam & Ash, LLP, have recovered millions of dollars for injured people throughout Nevada. We want to help you, too. Contact us today for a free consultation with a knowledgeable and caring personal injury lawyer. Learn more about how Sam & Ash, LLP can pursue fair compensation on your behalf.

What Is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when the side of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle traveling in a parallel direction. Sideswipe accidents can be especially dangerous at high speeds, such as on highways and interstates.

In some cases, the initial impact of a sideswipe accident may cause a driver to swerve or lose control and cause secondary accidents with other motorists.

How Common Are Sideswipe Accidents?

According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

  • There were 863,000 sideswipe accidents in 2018, accounting for 12.8 percent of all collisions that occurred that year.
  • Among all sideswipe accidents in 2018, there were 129,000 that resulted in reported injuries and 909 that resulted in fatalities.
  • On average, roughly 200 sideswipe accidents out of every 1,000 cause injuries.

What Causes Sideswipe Car Accidents?

Aggressive Driving

The majority of sideswipe accidents are caused by driver negligence. Sideswipe accidents typically occur when one or both of the drivers involved move out of their respective lanes despite it being unsafe to do so. The causes of these types of collisions include:

  • Distracted driving – Distracted drivers who are focused on text messages, personal grooming, or other distractions are significantly more likely to lose focus behind the wheel and drift into a neighboring lane, causing a crash.
  • Driving under the influence – Drivers who are impaired on alcohol or drugs often lack the spatial awareness, depth perception, and judgment needed to recognize and avoid accident situations.
  • Drowsy driving – Drowsy drivers have slower recognition of traffic hazards and may nod off behind the wheel. Drowsiness increases the likelihood of drifting into other lanes and causing sideswipe collisions.
  • Reckless driving – Reckless drivers operate their vehicles without regard for their own safety or the safety of others. Reckless drivers commonly cause sideswipe accidents when they engage in unsafe lane changes, weaving lanes, unsafe passing maneuvers, or highway racing.
  • Aggressive driving – Aggressive drivers engage in unsafe behavior to intimidate or harass other road users. Aggressive drivers can cause sideswipe crashes when they weave between lanes, block other vehicles from changing lanes, or attempt to run others off the road.
  • Inexperienced driving – Inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause sideswipe accidents from failing to yield the right-of-way, failing to check blind spots, or attempting to multi-task while driving.
  • Vehicle defects – A defective vehicle component that causes a tire blowout, brake failure, or steering system can easily lead to a loss of driver control and subsequent sideswipe accidents.
  • Poor road conditions – Large potholes, cracked pavement, or slick surfaces from inadequate drainage can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and veer into neighboring lanes.

What Should You Do After a Sideswipe Accident?

If you are involved in a sideswipe accident, you can protect your legal rights by:

  • Seeking medical attention as soon as possible – Even if your injuries seem relatively minor, it’s important to seek prompt medical attention. This will ensure you receive the treatment you need and create a record of your injuries related to the collision.
  • Following your doctor’s orders – Make sure you follow through on your doctor’s prescribed treatments to give yourself the best chance at maximizing your recovery. Keeping doctor appointments also demonstrates that you are taking your health seriously.
  • Recording everything you can about the accident – Write down everything you can remember about the accident while it is fresh in your memory. Make note of the ways the injuries have affected your daily life.
  • Gathering evidence from the accident scene – Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene of the accident, including photos, insurance details from the other driver, and statements and contact information from any eyewitnesses.
  • Keeping track of all accident-related expenses – Save every bill, invoice, and receipt that is related to your accident. This can serve as crucial supporting documentation when you calculate the value of your claim.
  • Avoiding social media activity – Don’t post any comments on social media about your accident or claim. Even if you post vacation photos in the months after the accident, the opposing attorneys may find and try to use the photos to call into question the seriousness of your injuries. Avoid accepting friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Consulting a lawyer about any insurance settlement offer – In many cases, insurance companies will make quick, lowball settlement offers initially in the hopes that the accident victims will take the money. Don’t fall for this tactic. A knowledgeable Las Vegas car accident attorney can help you calculate the full value of your claim and demand fair compensation.
  • Contacting a knowledgeable sideswipe accident lawyer – When you work with a trusted attorney in the early stages of your case, you can save yourself unnecessary stress and dramatically increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Who Is At-fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

Generally speaking, drivers who fail to remain safely within their own designated lanes or move out of their lanes when it is unsafe to do so are found to be at fault for side-wipe accidents. Under Nevada Revised Statutes § 484B.223, drivers are expected to

  • Remain within a single lane;
  • Stay within their lanes until they give the appropriate turn signals; and
  • Ensure their intended maneuvers can be made safely before changing lanes.

In some cases, both drivers may be at fault in a sideswipe accident, such as when two drivers attempt to change lanes without checking their blind spots and collide. If multiple parties are liable for a sideswipe collision, Nevada’s comparative negligence laws govern who can claim compensation and how much they are entitled to receive.Insurance Agent examine Damaged Car and filing Report Claim Form after accident

Nevada courts use a modified comparative negligence rule when awarding compensation. If you are found partly at fault, the amount of compensation you can recover is reduced proportionately to your percentage of fault. If the court determines you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, you will be barred from recovering compensation for your losses. An experienced Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you present a compelling case and push back against attempts to shift the blame to you.

Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries

Sideswipe accidents can cause serious injuries, especially to vehicle occupants who are sitting closest to the point of impact.

Common injuries caused by sideswipe accidents include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken or dislocated bones
  • Soft tissue strains, sprains, or tears
  • Internal injuries or bleeding
  • Jaw injuries or dental trauma
  • Permanent scarring or disfiguration
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Compensation for Sideswipe Collision Accidents

With a sideswipe accident claim, you may seek compensation for:

  • Medical bills – Any medical expenses you incur as a result of the accident. This includes the costs of things such as ambulance rides, hospital stays, doctors’ visits, prescription medications, durable medical equipment, rehabilitation, and therapy.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses – Incidental accident-related costs you are forced to pay out-of-pocket, such as the costs of travel to medical appointments or the costs of in-home care.
  • Repair and replacement costs – The costs of repairing the damage to your vehicle or replacing your vehicle if it is damaged beyond repair.
  • Lost wages and earning capacity – The value of any lost wages, if you are forced to miss work while you recover from your injuries. If you suffer long-term or permanent injuries, you may claim compensation for projected reductions in your lifetime earning capacity.
  • Pain and suffering – The subjective costs of the physical pain and emotional suffering you endure as a result of the accident and the injuries you sustained.

Talk to a Las Vegas Sideswipe Accident Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a sideswipe accident and have questions about whether the other driver is at fault, it’s important to seek legal guidance quickly. Nevada law provides just two years from the date of the accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you wait too long, you could lose your right to claim compensation.

Our dedicated attorneys want to hear from you. Contact Sam & Ash, LLP, for a free initial case review today to discuss the details of your sideswipe accident case. When injured people seek our help, we respond 24/7 — because you deserve trusted legal guidance from attorneys who care. That is What’s Right.