Who May Be at Fault for Causing a Sideswipe Crash in Minnesota?
When drivers are not careful changing lanes, it can result in a sideswipe crash. While some of these crashes may only cause minor damage to the vehicles, some are more serious. For example, if a sideswipe collision occurs in heavy traffic or on a wet road, it could involve multiple vehicles.
If you were injured in a sideswipe crash, call TSR Injury Law to discuss potential legal options. We are prepared to pursue full compensation for your damages at no upfront cost to you. We have secured more than $1 billion in compensation on behalf of our clients, many of whom were injured in motor vehicle collisions.
Below, our car crash lawyers in Bloomington discuss sideswipe crashes in more detail, including why they often happen, who could be liable, and steps victims can take after a sideswipe collision.
What are Sideswipe Crashes?
A sideswipe is a crash involving two vehicles that are traveling in the same direction. Often, one driver fails to stay in his or her lane, and the side of that driver’s vehicle collides with or swipes another vehicle.
The danger of sideswipe crashes is that they are often unexpected. This could result in the victim of the crash losing control of his or her vehicle, potentially crashing into other cars or fixed objects. The faster the involved vehicles are traveling, the more likely one or both drivers could lose control, which also increases the likelihood of other cars being involved in the collision.
Common Reasons Why Sideswipe Crashes Occur
There are many reasons why one vehicle may drift out of a lane and sideswipe another vehicle. Drivers might:
- Take their eyes off the road
- Get distracted by their smartphone or something else
- Fail to use their turn signal to indicate their intention to change lanes
- Be impaired by alcohol or drugs
- Behave recklessly while merging
Failing to use a turn signal could cause a driver to pull up next to another car while the driver of that other car begins to change lanes. For example, say you are about to pass a car in the lane to your right. If you were to see that car’s left turn signal blinking, you would likely slow down because you would expect the driver to change lanes. However, if the driver does not put on his or her turn signal, you may continue traveling at the same speed. As you pull up next to the car, the driver may begin to change lanes and collide with the right side of your vehicle.
Alcohol or drugs can make it harder for people to control their fine motor skills. They may not be able to hold the wheel steady. Impaired drivers may also not be seeing clearly, which can make it harder to stay in a lane.
Evaluating Fault for a Sideswipe Collision
Liability for a sideswipe crash comes down to which driver had the right of way. The driver who failed to stay in his or her lane is likely going to be held liable for damages.
If the crash occurs while two vehicles are merging, however, fault could be more complex. Sometimes one driver should have slowed down and merged behind the vehicle he or she collided with (often called the zipper method of merging). In other situations, it could be that one car was trying to merge and another driver was speeding, which resulted in a sideswipe collision. In these situations, fault for the crash might be shared between both drivers.
If one driver was impaired and his or her car drifted out of a lane as a result, he or she is likely to be found at fault.
The insurance company may try to argue the victim was speeding or that he or she should have been able to slow down or change lanes to avoid a collision. If you were approaching another vehicle and its turn signal was blinking, it may have been reasonable to expect you to slow down. If you were speeding, you might be found partially at fault for the collision.
However, insurance companies constantly claim victims are at fault when that is not the case. It is important not to take the insurance company’s word about your role in the crash. It is better to discuss the situation with a licensed attorney.
Evidence for a Sideswipe Crash Claim
There are various pieces of evidence that may help prove fault for a sideswipe collision. For instance, you could include video footage of the crash, pictures of the damage to both vehicles and also the police report.
Credible witnesses may also help to strengthen your claim, especially if they observed one driver drift out of his or her lane. It is not a good idea to solely count on video footage. It would only be available if there was a security camera in the area or if one of the involved drivers had a dashboard camera.
The police report may indicate which driver is likely at fault for the collision. Police officers respond to a lot of crashes, and they may be able to get a good idea about fault by looking at the damage to both vehicles and talking to both drivers. Unfortunately, police reports will often simply reflect what each driver claimed at the crash scene. “Driver 1 said driver 2 hit him. Driver 2 says driver 1 hit her.”
What Should You Do After a Sideswipe Crash?
If you get into a sideswipe crash, you should contact the police immediately so they can investigate If it is safe to do so, you can get out of your car and exchange information with the other driver. If there are witnesses, be sure to get their contact information so the police officer can understand what really happened and your lawyer can contact them in the future. It is also useful to take pictures of the damaged vehicles and your injuries, but only if you can do so without putting yourself or others in harm’s way. Get immediate medical treatment for your injuries and contact a lawyer to discuss your options for seeking compensation.
It is important to remember your injuries could be more severe than you realize. You need to recover compensation for all your damages, and it is difficult to do that without an attorney’s help. Research has consistently shown that injured victims who hire attorneys often recover more compensation than those who do not.
Contact TSR Injury Law to Discuss Legal Options
If you were injured in a crash and suffered damages, we are prepared to help you recover the compensation you need for your damages. We know that no amount of money can erase what happened, but we also know it can be an important part of helping you move forward.
Insurance companies are looking for any way to deny or undervalue your claim. Our firm has a history of proven results, and we are prepared to seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
Give us a call today to learn more about our services. We do not charge any upfront fees and the initial consultation is free.
Contact TSR Injury Law today: (612) TSR-TIME.