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Liability in a Sideswipe Collision

All drivers have a duty to remain inside their lane of travel unless it is determined to be safe to exit. When a car makes an unsafe lane change, a sideswipe collision is likely to occur. A side swipe accident is one of the most common accidents occurring today. More than 840,000 have been reported annually in the U.S., with the number one cause being vehicle blind spots. Read on to learn more about sideswipe collisions and what to do if you or a loved one becomes a victim of one.

What is a Side Swipe Car Accident?

A side swipe car accident occurs when the sides of two vehicles collide with one another. The vehicles can be traveling in the same direction, opposite directions, or a traveling vehicle can sideswipe a parked car. Most commonly these crashes happen when vehicles are either merging into traffic or changing lanes.

Sideswipe Collision Causes

Blind spots cause the majority of sideswipe collisions. Blind spots are something every driver has been taught to check and be aware of, however; drivers still make mistakes. Contributing factors for sideswiping accidents are:

  • Bad weather
  • An obstruction in your vehicle
  • Broken driver-side mirror
  • Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Distractions, such as phone use while driving
  • Being overly fatigued
  • Not wearing prescribed contacts or driving glasses
  • Road rage

Who is At Fault in a Side Swipe Accident?

Typically in a sideswipe collision, the driver who entered the other vehicle’s lane is considered at fault, but that isn’t always the case. It is the responsibility of all drivers to ensure it’s safe to move from one lane to another by assessing the traffic, checking their blind spots, and turning on their blinkers before changing lanes. If a car is parked and is sideswiped, the driver of the moving vehicle is held liable. 

In certain situations, both drivers could be considered at fault. For example, if one driver failed to check their blind spot and collided with another vehicle of a driver who was distracted, they would share fault.

Indiana Comparative Fault Law

In the state of Indiana, if there is more than one driver at fault it becomes a comparative fault case. Comparative fault is when both parties involved are held responsible for covering some damages. The amount that they are responsible for depends on how much each driver is found to be negligent. For comparative negligence to apply, a driver must be found no more than 51% at fault. If you are, you can pursue a personal injury claim from the other driver to cover your damages. 

Instances When a Merging Driver May Be At Fault

  • A driver attempts to merge onto the highway too quickly or too slowly
  • A driver hesitates while merging
  • A driver cuts off another vehicle
  • A driver fails to check the lane they’re merging into
  • A driver fails to use their turn signal

Instances When a Non-Merging Driver May Be At Fault

  • A driver fails to slow down or speed up to allow a merging vehicle to enter
  • A driver purposely speeds up to block a merging vehicle
  • A driver tailgates the car in front, leaving no space for a merging vehicle

Submitting a Personal Injury Claim

Navigating liability in a sideswipe collision can be confusing. After an accident, the first thing you should do after confirming everyone is safe and calling law enforcement is take photos of the damages. After this, it is always helpful to collect witness statements or at least gather contact information. Lastly, ensure you give the police a clear statement of what happened from your perspective. This police record, your photos, and witness statements will all be used in your personal injury claim. 

Crossen Law Firm – Indiana Car Accident Lawyers

If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a side swipe car accident, It’s recommended you work with an attorney who specializes in personal injury claims like the experts at Crossen Law Firm. At Crossen, we take care of our clients and work hard to make sure they get their full and fair compensation. We want to make sure your experience is hassle-free so you can focus on healing after your accident. To answer your questions, including “Who is at fault in a side swipe accident?”, call us at 317-401-8626 or contact us today.