Side Swipe Accidents

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Many types of accidents can occur on the road, but sideswipes are one of the most common. Drivers often don’t check carefully to see if a car is next to them before moving over. This can cause them to drive the side of their car into another vehicle causing damage to the car and injuries to the passengers.

Sideswipes can be very dangerous, especially at high speeds. Typically, neither driver expects the accident, and therefore neither takes any action to avoid the collision. The sudden unexpected impact can result in one or both vehicles losing control, creating a chain of events that may involve property damage and many more vehicles.

If you were involved in a sideswipe accident, you deserve compensation. Horton & Mendez car accident attorneys have years of experience representing drivers in sideswipe cases. In addition, as former insurance defense lawyers, we know the playbook the insurance company is using to try to get you to settle for less. With this knowledge, we can make sure that you get the settlement you deserve. If you do not, we will not hesitate to take your case to court to protect your rights.

Why Do Sideswipe Accidents Happen?

Before a driver gets over, it is up to them to look to the side and signal before doing so. Drivers should not only look in their rearview mirrors to see whether a car is next to them, they should look over their shoulder as well. It’s easy for cars and other vehicles to fall into a driver’s blind spots so it’s imperative to look carefully before making a move.

Three laws in North Carolina come into play when one vehicle tries to get over to pass another vehicle. These are as follows:

  • The driver must have a clear view of oncoming traffic before trying to get over.
  • The driver must pass on the left.
  • The driver must leave a minimum of two feet between their vehicle and the one they are passing

Passing a vehicle on the right is generally prohibited unless the other vehicle is in a left-hand turn lane, if both vehicles are on a one-way street or if a similar scenario exists. If a vehicle is passing on the right, the passing vehicle must provide the other vehicle adequate space, ideally at least half of their main lane of travel.

If any of these rules are broken while a driver tries to get over, it could lead to an accident and an at-fault driver could be responsible for compensating the victim.

Drivers must be especially careful to look out for motorcycles and bicycles. Because these vehicles are so small, it is easy for them to fall into the driver’s blind spots. Their small size also makes riders more vulnerable to injuries.

What Are Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents?

Here are some situations that make sideswipe accidents likely to occur.

  • Distracted driving that causes drivers to drift into another lane
  • Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes
  • Failing to signal before getting over
  • Merging without checking the lane carefully
  • Two drivers merging into the same lane
  • Hydroplaning on wet and icy roads
  • Road rage or reckless driving

Proving Negligence in a Sideswipe Accident

Proving negligence in a sideswipe accident can be complicated. With both cars sustaining damage on the side exterior, it can be difficult to prove which driver was at fault. Here are some actions a lawyer may take to help build a strong case:

  • Obtaining a witness statement under oath
  • Asking the other driver how the accident happened while they are under oath
  • Retaining an accident reconstructionist to show how the other driver caused the crash

Who is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

When a sideswipe accident occurs, it is usually the drivers changing lanes that are at fault. That’s because the other driver has the right of way in this situation.

However, there are actions the other driver may take that will put them at fault for the accident. These include the following.

  • Failing to adjust speed to allow the merging driver to enter the lane
  • Tailgating the vehicle so there is no room for them to enter the lane
  • Purposely speeding up to block the driver from entering the lane

North Carolina is a Contributory Negligence State

North Carolina’s status as a contributory negligence state means that you may not be compensated if the jury finds that you are to blame for the accident in any way, shape, or form.

Most states are comparative negligence states. This means that if a person is found to be 50% or less at fault for the accident, they will still be owed compensation. However, the compensation they receive will be reduced by the amount they are at fault.

So if total damages equal $100,000 and they are found 30% at fault, they may collect up to $70,000, the total damages minus 30%.

Unfortunately, things don’t work like that in North Carolina. If you are found even partly at fault for a North Carolina accident, you may be barred from getting any amount of compensation. That’s why it’s so important to have a good lawyer on your side. Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have the experience to fight against meritless contributory negligence allegations. This is because we have experience as previous defense lawyers and we know understand how to counter the tactics employed by the insurance company.

What to Do after a Sideswipe Accident

If you’ve been involved in a sideswipe accident, you should take certain steps right away. These include:

  • Report the accident to law enforcement if there were injuries or fatalities, property damage to a vehicle in excess of $1000
  • Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers
  • Get contact information from potential witnesses
  • Take photos of the scene – weather, obstacles, damages, etc.
  • Get medical attention as soon as possible
  • Contact a skilled and experienced car accident attorney

Why Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys Can Help With Your North Carolina Sideswipe Accident Representation

Sideswipe accidents can do considerable damage to your passengers and your vehicle. If you are filing a claim against an at-fault driver, you need a reliable lawyer on your side.

Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys have extensive experience representing clients in sideswipe cases in Wilmington, North Carolina, and the surrounding areas. We also have the unique experience that is required to go up against insurance companies and their lawyers. As previous insurance defense lawyers, we have to help you through the insurance claims process.

If you were injured in a car accident, don’t let at-fault parties get away with it. Call Horton & Mendez Injury Attorneys to schedule a free consultation. We will fight to get you the best possible outcome.

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