A sideswipe accident happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the side of another car traveling in the same direction. These types of accidents routinely occur on busy multi-lane roadways and highways.
In addition, these accidents may happen when a distracted or otherwise negligent or reckless driver leaves their lane. Because of a sideswipe accident, some drivers and passengers suffer debilitating injuries that lead to ongoing medical treatment and other severe complications.
If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe accident that another driver caused, you can file a personal injury claim with that driver's insurance company. However, before you take legal action, retain an experienced car accident attorney who can aggressively represent you throughout your case.
Your car accident lawyer in Santa Barbara can gather the necessary documents, including police reports, medical records, and medical bills, and file a personal injury claim with the at-fault driver's insurer. Your lawyer can negotiate on your behalf to settle your case whenever possible.
If the insurance company does not offer fair monetary damages for your injuries, your attorney can litigate your case to a prompt resolution.
Throughout the entire process, your lawyer will be your advocate and can aggressively pursue your legal rights and interests. Also, your attorney will answer all your questions so you can make essential decisions in your case, such as accepting a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or litigating your case through the state court system.
Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize the settlement or litigation compensation you receive for your car accident injuries.
Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents
In many situations, sideswipe car accidents happen when people drive carelessly or recklessly. One common cause of sideswipe accidents is failing to use a turn signal when switching lanes in busy highway traffic.
When drivers fail to use their right or left turn signal, they do not make other drivers aware of their intention to switch lanes. Consequently, they may inadvertently bring about a severe crash, leaving other drivers and passengers with injuries.
Angry drivers might resort to aggressive driving maneuvers, including weaving in and out of heavy traffic without using their turn signals. However, these reckless driving maneuvers may cause sideswipe accidents that result in debilitating injuries.
A sideswipe car crash may also happen when a driver takes their eyes off the road, even for one or two seconds. For example, a driver might look at their cellular phone, program a GPS navigation system, adjust the volume on their stereo system, or listen to loud music in the vehicle.
Rowdy vehicle passengers may also distract drivers and cause them to take their eyes off the road. As a result, the driver might not see a vehicle traveling in an adjacent lane and bring about a sideswipe accident.
Another common cause of sideswipe car accidents is excessive speeding. When a driver speeds, especially in heavy traffic or adverse weather conditions, they easily lose control of their car. As a result, they may advertently cause the side of their vehicle to strike another car in a sideswipe collision.
Finally, some sideswipe car crashes occur when drivers are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol, in particular, may cause a driver to experience blurred vision, preventing them from seeing a vehicle traveling in an adjacent lane.
In addition, a dazed and disoriented drunk driver may weave in and out of their lane, crashing into a nearby vehicle. Even if an intoxicated driver observes the other car, they might not stop the vehicle in time to avoid a sideswipe accident.
You are not alone if you recently sustained injuries in a sideswipe car accident resulting from one of these types of driver negligence.
A skilled personal injury attorney can handle every aspect of your case, including investigating the accident, obtaining copies of police reports and other documents, and promptly filing a claim with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Possible Injuries in a Sideswipe Car Accident
Sideswipe car accidents can lead to debilitating injuries, especially if they occur with significant force. In addition, a sideswipe accident may cause an accident victim's body to strike something in the car, leading to severe injuries.
Some of the most common injuries that victims of sideswipe car accidents may suffer include soft tissue neck and back injuries, shoulder and elbow injuries, broken bones, rib fractures, traumatic brain damage, complete and incomplete paralysis injuries, spinal cord injuries, open lacerations and bruises, eye injuries, mouth, jaw, and teeth injuries, and death.
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in a recent car accident, your top priority should be recovering and getting better. To increase your chances of accomplishing this goal, follow your medical treatment regimen until a healthcare provider formally discharges you from care.
Removing yourself from care may cause your injuries to resurface later. Additionally, if the at-fault driver's insurance company sees that you stopped your medical treatment, they may become skeptical of your injuries.
In fact, insurance companies will do everything they possibly can to try to undervalue or undermine your personal injury claim. Therefore, you should continue your medical treatment until your doctor tells you to stop.
While you focus on attending medical appointments, your car accident attorney can begin gathering medical documents and assembling a settlement demand package on your behalf.
Your lawyer can also draft a settlement demand letter with a monetary demand for settlement compensation within the available insurance policy limits. After you complete your medical treatment, your attorney can submit this demand package to the insurance company and begin negotiating for the fair settlement compensation you deserve.
Proving Liability Following a Sideswipe Accident
In a sideswiped car accident case, as in all personal injury cases, the injured accident victim has the sole legal burden of proof. They must satisfy several legal elements to recover monetary compensation for their injuries.
First, the injured accident victim must show that the at-fault driver deviated from the standard of care in some way. Usually, this means that the other driver must have violated one or more traffic laws, such as drinking and driving or driving while distracted.
Next, the injured accident victim must establish that as a direct result of the other driver's negligence, the sideswipe car crash happened. Finally, they must show that their injury or injuries are directly related to the accident. A medical expert can establish causation based on a reasonable degree of medical probability.
A medical expert can also demonstrate that the car accident victim suffered one or more permanent injuries in the crash. Unlike most physical injuries that recover over a set period, permanent injuries may cause the accident victim to experience lifelong pain, suffering, and inconvenience.
A car accident lawyer in your area can retain the necessary experts and gather the appropriate documents to successfully prove your personal injury case. Consequently, you may recover the monetary compensation you need for your accident-related complications.
Filing a Car Accident Claim
A knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your area can handle the process of filing a timely personal injury claim that seeks the monetary recovery you deserve. Once your lawyer submits a settlement demand package to the insurance company, the claim adjuster will review the documents and determine whether to accept fault for the sideswipe accident. If the insurance company accepts fault, your lawyer can represent you during settlement negotiations with the adjuster.
Insurance companies, typically big businesses, are not interested in fairly compensating accident victims for their injuries. Instead, they want to pay accident victims as little money as possible so that they can keep their cash.
Initial offers from insurance company adjusters are almost always far below the claim's actual value. Therefore, your lawyer will likely need to negotiate with the adjuster several times before the adjuster will increase their offer.
Alternatively, your attorney might need to resort to litigation to get the adjuster to take your case seriously. If that does not work, your lawyer can actually file a lawsuit in the state court on your behalf and begin the litigation process.
Litigating a Car Crash Claim in the State Court System
Once your lawyer files a lawsuit in the state court system, they can still settle your case with the insurance company adjuster. In fact, due to the increased litigation costs, most car accident claims settle at some point along the way without going to trial.
However, while your case is in litigation, you will need to actively participate in the various stages of the process. Those stages may include answering written interrogatories, exchanging additional documents, testifying at a discovery deposition, and attending a free trial or settlement conference with the court.
If your case has not reached a resolution by the end of litigation, your attorney can represent you at a civil jury trial. In a trial, your lawyer can introduce evidence on your behalf, make arguments, and work to convince the jury that they should compensate you fairly for your injuries. The jury will then decide what, if any, monetary award to award you.
Instead of taking your case to a civil jury trial, your lawyer can pursue various types of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). For example, your lawyer can take your case to a binding arbitration hearing and present evidence on your behalf.
After an arbitration hearing, the arbitrator, rather than a jury, will decide the amount of monetary damages to award you. Your lawyer can also pursue mediation when a neutral mediator helps the parties facilitate and narrow their settlement discussions.
Recovering Favorable Monetary Damages Following a Sideswipe Car Crash
If you can satisfy the legal elements of proof in your case, you may be eligible to recover various types of monetary damages. The size and scope of your financial settlement, jury verdict, or arbitration award will likely depend on the seriousness of your injuries, the specific medical treatment you underwent, and the total cost.
Victims of sideswipe car accidents can recover monetary compensation for all the following: past and anticipated medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, lost income, physical pain and suffering, mental distress, inconvenience, lifetime or long-term care costs, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of use of a body part, lost quality of life, and loss of spousal companionship and consortium.
Your attorney will do everything possible to maximize your total monetary award, ensuring you receive the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Local Car Accident Lawyer Today for More Information
If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe car crash, time is of the essence. Accident victims only have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit for monetary damages, starting on the date of their accident.
Filing a lawsuit belatedly almost guarantees that you will not recover any monetary damages for your injuries. Therefore, you need to involve a skilled car accident attorney in your case as quickly as possible.
Once a lawyer enters an appearance in your case, they can begin fighting for your legal rights and pursuing the compensation you deserve. Your attorney can also represent you at all legal proceedings in your case, including your discovery deposition, jury trial, or ADR proceeding, and work to maximize the compensation you recover.
Once you hire the right attorney, they will remove all the stress of the legal process from your shoulders. You can focus on healing from your injuries while they protect your legal rights after a sideswipe crash.