Did someone sideswipe you in traffic and hurt you? Stand up for your rights and seek the compensation you deserve.
A sideswipe comes as a complete shock for an unsuspecting victim. You’re simply driving along in traffic when another vehicle slides into the side of your car and sets off a terrifying traffic collision.
Sideswipe auto accidents range from minor bumps with minimal damage to severe crashes that involve complex chain-reaction collisions. On a busy California freeway, a sideswipe can lead to a major multi-vehicle collision that leaves people seriously injured and closes the freeway.
Severe sideswipes are somewhat rare, but they’re life-changing for injured victims. California has about 190,000 fatal and injury-causing crashes every year and about 2.7% of sideswipes are fatal. A much larger percentage of these crashes involve surviving injured people who need accident compensation from the drivers who hurt them.
In a situation like this, you’ll need the experienced car accident team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers to help you pursue the level of accident compensation you deserve for a full recovery. A sideswipe accident claim helps cover your medical bills and much more.
Your california sideswipe accident lawyer helps you pursue the maximum possible value of your claim, probably without ever going to court. To learn more, ask for a free case evaluation from our legal team and read the information below about sideswipe accident claims.
Important Things to Do After a Sideswipe Accident
Many people don’t realize that accident compensation isn’t automatic after a California sideswipe. As an injured victim, it’s your burden to fight for the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
Your next steps after a car crash will strongly impact whether you can successfully claim accident compensation. Below are some of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and preserve the value of your accident claim.
Your Medical Treatment and Bills
Sideswipes often send injured victims to one of our many major hospitals in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other California cities. Whether you travel by ambulance to a hospital immediately or drive yourself to the doctor later, seek urgent medical care and save your bills.
Most accident claims are built based on medical bills because they prove a connection to your sideswipe accident and establish the basics of your injuries. These bills, along with other evidence like the police report and witness statements, will help support your case.
Never delay seeking medical assistance because it could harm your accident claim. Follow your doctor’s orders and make your health a priority after the sideswipe accident.
How to Gather Additional Evidence
It’s essential to be proactive about gathering car accident evidence regarding your sideswipe accident. Your lawyer can help guide this process. Take photos and videos showing your car damage, any nearby debris, road signs in the area, skid marks from the crash, and so forth.
In California, it’s expected that drivers in accidents will exchange basic contact and insurance information, plus interact with the police at the scene of the accident. Afterward, you should contact the police department to obtain a copy of the police report.
Photos and videos of your injuries will also be key to your case, so take them as soon as possible after the crash. Include any bandages or scarring you may have, plus the treatment the doctor has recommended. Keep a journal that documents your emotional injuries and how much the accident is changing your life.
Minimize Your Statements About the Sideswipe
The insurance company will likely contact you soon after your accident, eager to settle your claim with a lowball offer. Beware of accepting an offer too quickly before you speak to a sideswipe accident attorneys. The first offer is rarely adequate.
Insurance companies use victims’ own words against them to minimize payouts. This is why lawyers often caution their clients about the following issues.
- Don’t allow anyone to take a recording of your conversation without your permission, which is your right under California law.
- Don’t give out your social security number or other personal details and data until you talk to a lawyer about whether it’s in your best interests.
- Avoid using social media to discuss your sideswipe accident because even an innocent comment can be twisted to mean something else you didn’t intend.
- Be aware that insurance companies look through the internet for things like photos, social media posts, comments, and other things they can use against you.
Why Do Sideswipes Happen in California?
A free case evaluation could help you understand the details of your sideswipe accident and clarify your legal options. In a more general sense, sideswipes happen for many reasons which are outlined below.
Unsafe Lane Changes
When someone fails to signal or check their blind spot before changing lanes, they can easily sideswipe another car in the blink of an eye. Someone who makes an unsafe lane change can be held responsible for a California sideswipe accident.
One of the most common spots for sideswipes is at merge points on and off California freeways. As cars come together in merge lanes, some drivers fail to make the merge successfully and sideswipe other vehicles.
Hitting Parked Cars
Wherever there are parked cars along the side of the street, there’s a risk of sideswipes. A passing vehicle might veer slightly and sideswipe a single vehicle or even a whole line of parked cars. These accidents are particularly common on the congested streets of San Francisco and Los Angeles, but they can happen anywhere.
Was someone speeding when they sideswiped you? Speeding reduces a driver’s available reaction time, meaning it’s much more difficult for them to avoid an impending accident. Speeding is such a problem, it’s a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes.
Sometimes a driver is confused about road signs and markings, which leads them to sideswipe another vehicle. This can happen in construction zones, where signs can be unexpected and hard to see. It can also happen anywhere there are poorly-marked lane changes or poorly-lit roadways.
Debris and Damage
Debris in the roadway can cause a driver to swerve suddenly and hit another car. Similarly, damage to the roadway like potholes and loose pavement creates a risk of erratic movements that set off sideswipe collisions.
California drivers are expected to adapt to changing road conditions, so it’s rare for someone to completely avoid responsibility for a sideswipe by blaming bad weather. However, the weather conditions could be factored into your overall case.
Drunk/drugged driving is illegal in California when someone is too intoxicated to drive safely. Unfortunately, about 50% of all California drivers killed in road collisions test positive for intoxicating substances. If you suspect intoxicated driving played a role in your sideswipe crash, share your concerns with your lawyer for further investigation.
Sideswipes and distracted driving are closely linked. When someone is distracted, they’re more likely to weave and swerve into other vehicles. The CDC reports that more than 2,800 deaths and 400,000 injuries are due to distracted driving from smartphones, food, music, navigation apps, passengers, and other distractions.
An unexpected equipment failure can cause a sideswipe accident. Here in California, commercial truck equipment failures are all too common. If a big rig sideswipes another vehicle, the results are likely catastrophic and could involve severe injuries. Luckily, trucking companies are required to keep detailed maintenance and driving logs that could help your case.
Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries
Below are some of the most common injuries from sideswipe accidents.
- Bruises and skin damage
- Broken bones
- Damage to the teeth/mouth
- Eye socket damage
- Arm injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Torn muscles and ligaments
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding/organ damage
- Nerve damage
- Crushing injuries
- Numbness and tingling
- Burns and scalds
- Chronic pain
- Emotional damage
How Insurance Works After a California Sideswipe Crash
Contact Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers for a free online evaluation of your case and an explanation about how insurance could factor into your potential compensation. Below, we’ll outline how insurance typically works in the average sideswipe accident.
Some sideswipe accidents are serious enough to involve the police/medical responders, and some aren’t. Here, we’ll focus on sideswipes that are severe enough to require urgent medical treatment and police response.
Beyond the police investigation, there will be another investigation into your accident regarding insurance and your accident compensation claim. This is conducted by the insurance company, plus your accident lawyer will be investigating your accident separately to support your side of the case.
Eventually, the insurance company will make you some type of offer. It will likely be a low offer to see if you’ll accept. A good car accident lawyer will negotiate back and forth with the insurance company, providing strong evidence that you deserve much higher compensation.
The result depends on your situation and what types of evidence you can present. Most sideswipe accident cases can be resolved through careful negotiation with the insurance company for an out-of-court settlement. In the rare instance that your case must go to court, Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers represents you with boldness and professionalism.
Assigning Fault in California Sideswipe Accidents
Accident victims are often curious about how fault will be assigned for a sideswipe and what to do if they feel partially to blame for the accident. Here are some things you should know about assigning fault and legal liability in California.
California uses the comparative fault rule for car accidents. This means the total liability is divided by percentage and each person in an accident takes a percentage of the blame. Your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault, so you could be 0% to blame, 100% to blame, or anywhere in-between. Shared fault is quite common.
There could also be a California legal concept that shields you from blame completely and puts 100% of the blame on the other person. For example, California’s emergency doctrine releases people from liability when they are confronted by a danger they didn’t create, like another car swerving into them. Your lawyer can advise you on whether this doctrine applies to your case.
For sideswipes, it’s common to have multiple parties involved when the accident happens on a busy road or freeway. When there are multiple parties involved in your sideswipe accident, all will be assigned a proportion of liability up to a total amount of 100%. It’s a complicated situation, but your lawyer can help you sort through it all.
If you were partially at fault for the accident, this doesn’t automatically prevent you from claiming any accident compensation. Partial fault will reduce the award you might receive, but your total compensation could still be plenty to cover your medical bills and other losses.
Your sideswipe accident case could involve many factors, including:
- Applicable federal, state, and local laws
- Where and when the accident occurred
- The weather and road conditions
- Testimony from other drivers and witnesses
- Expert testimony from crash investigators
- Relevant property damage to each vehicle
- Any drunk, drugged, or distracted driving
- Any available video/dashcam footage
- The police report
Your sideswipe accident might involve many other parties with surprising connections to your accident. For example, what if the other driver was working for the federal government at the time of the accident? Or what if they were driving for a commercial trucking company, a delivery company, or Uber? Your lawyer can help you understand how these issues could impact your case.
The Deadline for Starting a Sideswipe Accident Claim
Don’t wait too long to start your accident claim. Under California’s statute of limitations, there’s a strict deadline for filing these claims. You must start your case well before the maximum limit of two years of the date of the freeway or interstate accident.
The deadline might even be much shorter if a city, county, or state agency is involved. Generally, this deadline is just six months from the date of the accident and the clock starts counting down from the time of your accident.
Select the Right Sideswipe Accident Lawyer
This is a stressful time in your life that could impact your family’s future. If you’re uncertain about your next move, it’s worth your time to explore your legal options and at least try a free initial consultation with a car accident lawyer from our experienced and caring team.
We take a personal interest in each person who becomes our client. We’ll work diligently to pursue the full value of your claim, including your medical bills, emotional damage, lost earnings, and the full impact of the accident on your suffering family. We’re here to stand up for your rights, so please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your sideswipe accident.
We Handle Your Sideswipe Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
If someone sideswipes you and hurts you in California, please contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including sideswipe accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We care about helping California’s injured people. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation or call 877-380-8852.