Accident Fault, Sideswipe Collision, and Liability in Sideswipe Car Accidents
In the world of road accidents, sideswipes may seem like minor inconveniences at first glance, often resulting in no more than a few cosmetic blemishes on the side of your vehicle. However, the reality is that a sideswipe collision, especially at high speeds, can swiftly escalate into a severe car accident, potentially causing life-threatening injuries. We will delve into the intricacies of sideswipe accidents, their causes, and the determination of fault and liability.
Understanding Sideswipe Accidents
A sideswipe accident, sometimes called a “blind spot accident,” occurs when the sides of two vehicles, whether traveling in the same or opposite directions, make contact. These collisions can transpire between two moving vehicles or when a vehicle contacts a parked car or stationary object, such as a guardrail or concrete median.
While dismissing sideswipe accidents as inconsequential may be tempting, statistics paint a different picture. Research by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety reveals that sideswipe accidents are responsible for approximately 27,000 injuries and 2,500 fatalities annually. These figures underscore the significance of understanding the causes and consequences of such collisions.
Factors Contributing to Sideswipe Car Accidents
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown that 94% of all traffic accidents stem from human error. These errors encompass various risky behaviors like drug and alcohol use, road rage, speeding, reckless driving, and distracted driving. Sideswipes are a prime example of the repercussions of negligent driving.
Sideswipe accidents frequently occur when a trailing vehicle attempts to overtake the leading vehicle or when the at-fault vehicle changes lanes without due diligence. Some common causes of sideswipe accidents include:
- Fatigued, drowsy, or intoxicated drivers drifting within their lanes.
- Failure to check blind spots when merging or changing lanes.
- Neglecting to use turn signals while making lane changes.
- Distraction caused by texting, radio, electronic devices, or phone calls.
- Instances of road rage or aggressive driving.
- Limited spatial awareness when navigating in close quarters.
- Adverse weather conditions or slippery roads.
Fatigue, distraction, or intoxication can lead to swerving, failure to observe blind spots, or unsafe driving practices, which increase the likelihood of sideswipe collisions. Additionally, road rage can intensify lane-changing maneuvers, raising the risk of sideswipes or more severe accidents.
Immediate Actions After a Sideswipe Accident
If you find yourself involved in a sideswipe accident, it is crucial to follow a set of immediate steps:
- Contact Emergency Services: Dial 911 immediately, even if the accident is minor. Reporting the incident to the police and obtaining an official report is essential.
- Move Your Vehicle Safely: If your vehicle remains operable, shift it to a safe location to prevent traffic obstructions.
- Check for Injuries: Assess the well-being of all passengers involved in the accident, including yourself.
- Seek Medical Attention: If injuries are sustained, seek medical treatment promptly. Your health is of paramount importance.
- Consult an Attorney: After seeking medical care, consider consulting a car accident attorney, especially if you believe you deserve compensation for your injuries and damages.
Determining Liability in Sideswipe Collisions
According to Illinois state traffic laws, a vehicle should be driven entirely within a single lane, and a driver should only change lanes if they have determined it is safe. In other words, a driver who changes lanes without ensuring safety is typically considered liable for any resulting accidents.
However, situations can become more complex when both vehicles attempt to change lanes simultaneously, potentially leading to shared liability. In such cases, it becomes imperative to engage an experienced attorney to investigate the incident thoroughly, determine liability, and assess damages. If you were not at fault, the at-fault driver’s insurance company should cover the costs of related damages and injuries from the sideswipe collision.
The Severity of Sideswipe Collisions
Sideswipes on highways can quickly escalate into situations where serious injuries occur to the driver and passengers. Unlike minor rear-end collisions, sideswiped cars at high speeds can prompt over-reactions by the driver, resulting in loss of control. Oversteering maneuvers can lead to dangerous rollovers or even head-on collisions, the most severe outcomes in car accidents.
The severity of injury or vehicle damage in a sideswipe accident depends on factors such as the speed and size of the vehicles involved. A significant disparity in size between the two vehicles increases the likelihood of severe damage to the smaller one.
Seeking Legal Assistance
Regardless of the severity of a sideswipe accident, consulting a personal injury attorney well-versed in car accident law can be invaluable if you have experienced a sideswipe accident in Chicago, IL. Blumenshine Law Group is here to provide the legal guidance you need. Our experienced attorneys can assess your case, determine your rights to compensation, and represent your interests to secure the appropriate damages.
Frequently Asked Questions
In conclusion, sideswipe accidents may appear minor at first glance but can lead to significant injuries and damages. Understanding the causes, immediate actions to take, liability determinations, and the potential severity of these accidents is essential. Seeking legal assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney can be instrumental in securing the compensation you deserve after a sideswipe collision. Contact Blumenshine Law Group at (312)766-1000 or [email protected] for a free case review and consultation to protect your rights and interests.