Top 5 Things to Know About a Sideswipe Collision

sideswipe collision

Take a drive in Colorado Springs, CO, in any direction. Keep driving long enough, and you’ll catch a glimpse of at least one vehicle with missing trim, dents, scrapes, and scratches along the sides. These are often the result of a sideswipe collision. A sideswipe accident happens when one vehicle smashes into the side of another, with each traveling in the same (or opposite) direction.

We know what you’re thinking — a car accident is a car accident. And while, yes, in every car accident, the basic facts are the same; two or more vehicles collide, you may not know that the type of wreck you’re in has a significant impact on determining who is responsible and whether you can collect compensation. This article will answer all your pressing questions about sideswipe car accidents and reveal the top five things you should know about a sideswipe collision.

#1 Sideswipe Collisions and T-Bone Accidents Are Not the Same

When you think of someone slamming into the side of your car, you probably think of a “t-bone” accident. However, these accidents are more severe than sideswipe collisions and involve direct contact with another vehicle’s structure rather than a glancing blow. As such, they are also more likely to cause serious injuries. In most sideswipe accidents, both cars can usually drive away after being pulled over by a police officer. There may be some damage to the vehicle (a dent or scratch here and there), but it won’t require significant repairs or replacement parts. On the other hand, vehicles involved in “t-bone” accidents typically require extensive bodywork or are totaled by the insurance company. While both kinds of car accidents happen on one side of the vehicle, they differ in meaningful ways.

#2 Fault Isn’t Always Easily Determined

It’s important to note that fault isn’t always easily determined in sideswipe accidents. It’s often up to the insurance company themselves.

Several factors contribute to determining fault if you’ve been involved in an accident.

Was either driver making unsafe lane changes (failing to use signals, checking blind spots, etc.)? 

Was alcohol or drugs involved? 

Was the other driver speeding, driving recklessly, or did they fail to merge correctly? 

These are all considerations when deciding who to hold financially responsible for the accident. And when dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company, remember that your best interests may not be a priority. It would help if you considered consulting an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. They can visit the accident scene, speak with witnesses and help you build a case against the at-fault driver.

#3 Sideswipe Collisions are Often Caused By Negligence

Negligence causes most sideswipe accidents. Drivers may be distracted, speeding, or failing to check their mirrors. Sometimes, a driver may turn left in front of you at an intersection, leaving you no time to react. In Colorado, there have been 126,947 side-to-side same-direction crashes since 2010, peaking in 2019 at 12,578 accidents.

an avoidable one.

Most often, sideswipe accidents occur due to the following:

Still, sideswipe accidents are not always the fault of the driver that hit you. Some are caused by poor road conditions or even other drivers. But even so, if someone’s negligence caused your accident, you should be compensated for your injuries.

#4 Sideswipe Collisions Can Be Dangerous — Deadly, Even

A driver involved in a sideswipe collision may not just be dealing with the damage done to their vehicle; they could also be injured and need medical attention. The front and back of a vehicle are created to absorb much of the impact of a car crash—the sides, not so much. If you were hit on the driver’s side, you could be seriously injured, and even a minor, unexpected wreck could cause you to lose control, veer off, and hit something like a tree, barrier, or other vehicle.

These are some common injuries we see stemming from sideswipe accidents:

The severity of your injuries will also depend on the type of vehicle that hit you. For instance, a sideswipe accident with a commercial truck could be much more devastating than another car.

#5 After an Accident, You May Be Entitled to Compensation

Were you injured in your accident? Did someone else cause the accident? If so, you may be entitled to compensation by filing a personal injury claim.

You may be eligible for damages like:

  • Medical bills (hospital bills, doctor visits, prescriptions, etc.)
  • Property damage
  • Wage loss (if you were unable to work)
  • Pain and suffering

After a sideswipe accident, the most important thing is to seek medical care as soon as possible—you should also report the accident to the police and your insurance company. If you were injured, it’s also in your best interest to speak with a car accident attorney specializing in this area of law. The fact is, there are a lot of things to consider when it comes to handling the aftermath of a sideswipe collision. It’s essential to know your rights to make the right decision for yourself and your family if you find yourself in this situation. If you need help figuring out your next steps, feel free to reach out to our team at Springs Law Group. We’re here to answer any questions and provide quality legal advice to help you move forward.