Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

May 7, 2022
Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident? Any driver who doesn't maintain a single lane of travel or deviates from their lane when it is unsafe to do so can be at fault in a sideswipe accident. However, there might be more than one driver at fault in some cases. This is because other factors can force a driver to deviate from the lane. Sideswipe accidents can be more complicated than a simple scrape and can have more serious damages and injuries. To deal with this, you will need to hold the responsible party accountable and have them cover your damages. A car accident lawyer can help you gather evidence to determine who is at fault in a sideswipe accident and help you recover damages from it.

What Is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when two vehicles are going in the same direction the scrape each other from the side. There are various instances when this can happen, including two cars trying to merge onto the same ramp at the same time. Sideswipe accidents also often occur on the highway when drivers maneuver from one lane to the next. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that about 94 percent of traffic accidents result from human error, which is the case in most sideswipe accidents. Not surprisingly, sideswipe accidents are most often the direct result of driver error when merging lanes. While a sideswipe isn't always as catastrophic as a head-on collision, you can still sustain a variety of injuries and property damage from this type of accident. Establishing fault in a sideswipe accident can influence how much compensation you may receive. However, it can be difficult to prove which driver is liable for the accident.

How Do You Determine Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

It can be easy to determine fault when there is a clear picture of who changed lanes when unsafe. However, it is not always easy to determine which car did so first, especially with evidence that can vary from eyewitness and driver accounts. The driver changing lanes is often the liable party in a sideswipe accident This is because they have a duty to ensure the road is clear and safe before changing lanes. Some of the reasons that can make this driver at fault include:
  • They drift into another lane without checking blind spots or ensuring there is enough room
  • They drive too fast for the weather or the road conditions
  • They are distracted or under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • They intentionally cut another car off
  • They failed to use turn signals
In most cases, the driver merging is at fault, as they don't have the right of way. If the merging driver fails to give right of way to the vehicle already in the lane, they are typically at fault.

Can the Driver Who doesn't Change Lanes Be at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

Believe it or not, the driver staying in their lane can also carry some of the fault for a sideswipe accident. This mainly occurs when they fail to fulfill driving obligations, such as speeding or driving recklessly. Essentially, this driver can be at fault if there was a way that they could have prevented the accident. A driver who fails to do this can bear some or all of the fault if an accident occurs while the other driver changes lanes. Some of the conditions under which the driver who doesn't change lanes can be at fault include:
  • Failure to adjust their speed to accommodate the merging driver
  • Refusing to give way for the other car to enter the lane
  • Distracted driving, such as texting or talking on the phone
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Speeding or intentionally driving recklessly

How an Attorney Can Help Determine Fault in a Sideswipe Accident

Determining fault in sideswipe accidents can be difficult. Fortunately, you won't have to worry about what to do next with a Dolman Law Group lawyer. Our lawyers can help you collect evidence and help establish who is liable for your accident. Call us today and let us help you establish fault in your sideswipe accident.