Most people think of a sideswiped car accident as the least fatal and dangerous. However, any type of car accident in Indiana can be fatal, and sideswipe collisions can be more dangerous than you might think.
According to the Insurance Information Institute for Highway Safety, 950 of all sideswipe accidents that occurred in 2020 were fatal. And of the accidents that were not fatal, there were likely many that still resulted in severe damage and injuries.
But what is it about sideswipe accidents that can make them more dangerous? Let’s take a look.
What is a Sideswiped Car Accident?
First, let’s consider what happens in a sideswipe accident.
Sideswipe car accidents generally happen when one vehicle drags or scrapes alongside another vehicle in a parallel manner. This can happen when two cars are driving in opposite directions, and they swipe each other. It can happen when one vehicle is moving and the other car is sideswiped while parked in a stationary position. Or it can also happen when two cars headed in the same direction collide and swipe alongside each other.
There are many other ways a sideswipe could happen, but the primary factor that makes it a sideswipe is that the sides of two vehicles collide and make contact, rather than the front or back.
What are Common Causes of Sideswiped Car Accidents?
Overall, driver error is the most common cause of most car accidents, and sideswiped car accidents are no exception. Examples of driver errors that can cause sideswipe accidents include:
- Distracted driving: Driver inattention or driving while distracted is a serious concern that contributes to many car accidents. This could involve messing with a phone or the radio while driving, talking or paying more attention to passengers, dealing with pets or children in the back seat, eating while driving, and grooming in the mirror. When these types of distractions happen, the driver can easily swerve or drift out of their lane, which can cause them to sideswipe a car next to them or a car headed in the opposite direction.
- Failure to yield the right-of-way: When cars are merging into the same lane, this is another scenario where sideswipes can more easily happen. However, the real problem in these situations is one driver failing to yield the right-of-way to another driver. When this happens, both vehicles attempt to merge at the same time, causing them to swipe alongside each other.
- Driver fatigue: When a person operates a vehicle while extremely tired, they can fall asleep or nod off at the wheel, or they may have a harder time focusing and paying attention. In these situations, the driver can then drift or swerve into another lane, causing them to sideswipe another vehicle.
- Driving under the influence: Intoxicated drivers who have drugs or alcohol in their system are also more likely to lose control of their vehicle and swerve out of their lane, causing them to sideswipe parked cars or other cars driving near them.
- Failure to check blind spots: In many cases, sideswiped car accidents can occur when one driver fails to adequately check their blind spots before merging or changing lanes. If there was another vehicle driving alongside them in their blind spot, they could end up colliding with the car when they attempt to merge.
Why Are Sideswiped Car Accidents So Dangerous?
It is true that a sideswipe collision can be minor and result in minimal damage and no injuries. However, that is usually only the case with sideswipe accidents occurring at slower speeds.
If the driver that causes the sideswipe accident was traveling at high speed or if both cars involved were traveling at high speed, the collision can be much more severe. Furthermore, when sideswipes occur at higher speeds, one or both cars involved might end up losing control and end up having a secondary impact.
For example, a car that gets sideswiped could lose control and end up driving off the side of the road, which could result in the car hitting another object or building, falling into a ditch, or they could even end up rolling over.
Sideswiped car accidents can also be more dangerous when one of the vehicles involved is much larger than the other. For example, if a large truck or bus sideswipes a smaller car, the smaller vehicle will likely sustain severe damage and could even end up getting crushed or dragged by the larger vehicle.
When these more severe sideswipe accidents occur, not only is there severe damage, but the injuries of the passengers and drivers involved can also be more severe. Dangerous sideswipe injuries can include:
- Crushed limbs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Puncture wounds and lacerations
- Multiple broken bones
- Neck injuries
Damages You Can Recover for a Sideswiped Car Accident
If your car is sideswiped, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you suffered as a result of the accident. To be compensated for these damages, you will need to file a personal injury claim and work with an attorney.
However, when the accident first occurs, it’s important that you get yourself to safety before taking steps to file a claim. If possible, park your sideswiped car out of the way and call the police so they can file a report and send emergency medical responders if needed to address your injuries.
Once you are safe and your injuries are addressed, then you can contact your insurance company and an attorney to file a claim. Once you do this, the damages you have suffered will be evaluated to determine how much you should be compensated.
Such damages that you can be awarded a settlement for include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Property damages (such as sideswiped car repair costs)
Consult an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer
If your car is sideswiped due to someone else’s negligence, you have a right to file a claim to recover compensation. Sideswiped car accidents can be just as dangerous as any other type of accident, and you deserve to be fairly compensated for all that you have suffered.
At Crossen Law Firm, we have over 20 years of experience fighting for car accident victims. We know what it takes to ensure our client’s rights are protected and will do everything we can to get you the settlement you deserve.
Contact us today or give us a call for a free consultation at (317) 401-8626.