Sideswipe Car Accidents

Sideswipe Car Accidents

Have you been unlucky enough to have been in a sideswipe collision or accident? If you have, then you know how dangerous they can be. When an entirely unsuspecting driver is hit from the side, it is not uncommon for the driver to lose complete control of his vehicle. Whether reacting to the impact of a sideswipe or swerving to avoid one, the consequences are often deadly.

This article will address:

  • The Risks of Injuries and Fatalities in Sideswipe Accidents
  • When Are Sideswipe Crashes the Most Severe?
  • Who Pays the Verdicts and Settlements in These Cases?
  • How Much Are the Verdicts and Settlements Typically Awarded in Cases Involving Sideswipe Accidents? 
The Dangers of Sideswipe Collisions

Sideswipe accidents happen when two vehicles are driving next to one another in the same direction, and the sides of the two vehicles collide with one another. Every year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there are over 242,000 sideswipe accidents. These accidents annually cause 27,000 injuries and, sadly, more than 2,500 fatalities.

Sideswipe accidents are often caused by sudden lane changes as well as unintended “drifting,” which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines as occurring “when a vehicle is moving in a generally straight line but at a slight angle to the adjacent lane.” When this happens, the “drifting” driver may “drift” into the side of an adjacent car, or worse, attempt at the last minute to correct the “drifting” and, in doing that, swerve and cause more collisions. Consider the following examples of dangerous sideswipe crashes. 

What Kind of Serious Injury Sideswipe Crashes Do We Typically See?
  • A driver drifts into an adjacent lane and collides with the side of a vehicle in an adjacent lane.
  • A driver, realizing the car has drifted into an adjacent lane, jerks the wheel back into his lane and sideswipes a vehicle in that lane.
  • A driver changes lanes, failing to check his rearview mirror or his blind spot, and collides with the side of a vehicle in the adjacent lane.
Illustrative Sideswipe Sample Lawsuit Facts

It is a Friday afternoon at 5;00 p.m. on the Baltimore Beltway and there are cars lined up for miles.As usual during  rush hour, the Beltway is like multi-lane parking lot. Everything is at a standstill. Robert is one of many motorists letting out a collective groan of frustration at the pace of traffic this afternoon as he sits in his Honda Accord. Horns are honking, and brake lights light up the sky as frustrated drivers do what they can to make progress and get home.

Sideswipe Auto Accidents

Although Robert is a careful driver and remains patient behind the wheel, he notices that some other drivers are trying to weave into the faster-moving lanes when their lanes become jammed. He notices that the Nissan Pathfinder in the lane to his right is one of those vehicles. Behind the wheel of the Pathfinder, Devin sits impatiently, looking for any angle to enter into an adjacent lane when his lane stops moving. As Devin’s lane slows to a halt, he sees what he thinks is the perfect opportunity to cut into Robert’s lane.

Devin steps on the gas to accelerate into Robert’s lane, but he fails to notice Robert traveling alongside him. The left side of Devin’s Pathfinder swipes into the right side of Robert’s Honda, causing the smaller Honda to spin into the far left lane, colliding with the concrete divider. Robert suffers broken vertebrae in his back and will have to undergo significant physical therapy. The accident and Robert’s injuries were the result of Devin’s negligent driving maneuvers, and Devin’s insurance should be made to compensate Robert.

Who Pays Verdicts and Settlements in Sideswipe Accident Cases?

Victims of accidents first ask if they have a claim and, if so, how much that claim is worth. The answer is always this: it depends.

Whenever any accident occurs, including a sideswipe crash, the most important question to ask is: Who is at fault? If it occurred because another driver was negligent in drifting lanes or otherwise causing a sideswipe collision, then you may have a claim. If the accident is partly your fault, however, you cannot recover in Maryland due to what is known as contributory negligence. 

Car Accidents

The next and most obvious question is: How much is my claim worth? If the victim of the accident is not the one at fault, the amount of money awarded depends on what injuries were suffered. How serious were they? How much medical care was required? Surgeries? How much pain have you been in? Are you missing work as a result of your injuries? More severe injuries require more expensive medical care, more time off from work, and cause more conscious pain and suffering. So, as you would expect, the payouts in those cases are going to be higher. The legal system is fair in theory in this regard. The battle is in getting that system to bring justice for you that is the challenge that requires a great fight.

These verdicts and settlements almost always get paid by the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.

Actual Settlements and Verdicts in Recreational Vehicle Accident Cases
  • Maryland: $716,672.00 Verdict. Plaintiff was driving his automobile in the second lane on the Beltway, which had four lanes in plaintiff's direction of travel. The driver of a truck owned by the defendant was allegedly speeding and playing ‘tag‘ with another truck. Plaintiff alleged that defendant's driver sped up behind a gray vehicle traveling in the third lane, honked his horn and flashed his lights. The driver of the vehicle did not move, so defendant's driver negligently swerved into plaintiff's lane and sideswiped plaintiff's vehicle, turning it sideways into the path of the truck and pushing it approximately 150 feet before stopping.
  • Maryland: $216,000.00 Verdict. Our client, a very nice woman, was driving her vehicle on the Baltimore Beltway. The defendant who was operating a vehicle, reportedly lost consciousness while driving and sideswiped plaintiff's vehicle. The accident occurred just after the defendant had left St. Agnes, where he had been treated for pain, for which he had been given Oxycontin. Plaintiff alleged that the defendant, after being given Oxycontin at the hospital, had been advised by hospital staff not to drive. Plaintiff alleged that she suffered a shoulder injury and lumbar disc bulges as a result of the accident requiring multiple surgeries. This verdict exceeds State Farm's policy limits. But they were willing to pay over the policy limits to resolve any potential bad faith claim.
  • Maryland: $173,272.00 Verdict. A plaintiff alleged that he suffered carpal tunnel syndrome, cervical strain, and emotional distress when he was involved in a sideswipe accident with another vehicle. The defendant denied liability, disputed the extent of the plaintiff's injuries, and contended that the plaintiff was contributorily negligent and assumed the risk of injury. The plaintiff successfully contended that the defendant was negligent in failing to keep a proper lookout.
Call Our Law Firm If You Have Been Badly Hurt in a Side Swipe Collision

The attorneys at Miller & Zois are experienced at handling the often, "he said/she said" problems in a sideswipe accident case. Let us assist you in getting you what you deserve without the hassle of dealing with the insurance company. Please call us today at 800-553-8082 or get a free case evaluation online.

More Information
  • Learn about Maryland motor vehicle accident claims. The article discusses the landscape in Maryland.
  • Broadside crashes: the umbrella of cases that includes side swipe wrecks

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