Have you or a loved one recently been involved in a sideswipe accident in the state of Florida? Do you worry that the other side will try to frame you as the guilty party? If so, then you need to learn all that you can about how fault is determined in a sideswipe case.
Doing so can help you understand the legal process. You’ll get a better grasp on how fault is determined and who is at fault in a sideswipe accident.
See below for an in-depth guide on sideswipe collisions, what they are, who’s involved, and how fault is determined.
What Is a Sideswipe Accident?
Perhaps you were hit by a car that was trying to merge into your lane. Maybe the other vehicle did damage to your car while swerving to get back in their lane. Scenarios like this are what’s referred to as a sideswipe accident.
Sideswipe accidents, also known as sideswipe collisions, occur when two vehicles are moving in the same direction and make contact with the side of each other’s car. The most common cause of this is when one car is trying to merge into the lane of the other car without properly indicating their intent to switch lanes.
This can also apply to scenarios in which a driver hits the side of a car that’s parked on the street, although the fault is less murky in those instances.
If you’ve been in a sideswipe car accident, then the first step is to hire a car accident lawyer for your case. Even if the other side is clearly at fault, you need legal representation to build your case.
Otherwise, you could be blindsided when the opposition’s lawyer points the finger at you as the guilty party. Be sure to hire an experienced car accident attorney for your case.
How Is Fault Determined in a Sideswipe Accident?
For some of you, the fault might be a bit more difficult to place. For example, if both cars went to switch lanes at the same time, then it’s harder to claim one person as more guilty than the other.
Considering that sideswipe accidents are already hard to get a read on, you’ll want to know the key factors that are used to determine fault. See below for more information.
The first thing that any judge will look at is whether or not there are signs of unsafe driving by either side. If there is, then it can be the determining factor in who gets tacked with fault.
For example, let’s say that two vehicles go to merge into the same lane at the same time. They collide with each other, then both swerve back into their previous lanes. Who was at fault?
That’s when certain questions are asked. Did one of the drivers merge without using their turn signal? Was one of the drivers merging illegally? Did one driver merge too quickly or without checking their blind spots?
Generally, you would use eye-witnesses of the accident to get a feel for who was at fault. Even if both parties used unsafe driving techniques, there’s usually one driver that’s more at fault.
One of the most common sideswipe accident causes occurs when one lane ends and the driver in that lane goes to make a quick merge. Sadly, most drivers don’t realize that the car that’s not merging has the right of way. The car that is merging is required to yield to oncoming traffic.
If a sideswipe collision ensues, then the merging vehicle is almost always at fault. Granted, the non-merging vehicle should maintain the same speed (not slowing down or speeding up) to lower the risk of an accident and becoming the at-fault driver for the accident.
Any time that you’re merging, remember that it’s better to come to a complete stop before merging when the coast is clear than merge too quickly and cause a wreck.
Eye Witness Stories
This is the key to determining fault in any sideswipe. Unless visual evidence is present (such as a street camera), eyewitnesses are the primary piece to the puzzle.
If you’ve been involved in a sideswipe accident, be sure to use witnesses to your advantage. Pullover on the side of the road, then take the time to connect with each witness that stayed behind.
Be sure to ask for their name, number, email address, and a summary of what they saw. This information can be used later by your attorney to build your case.
Hire a Car Accident Lawyer
We alluded to it a few times already, but it bears worth repeating: make sure to hire a trusted car accident lawyer for your case.
Car accident attorneys will help you ensure that the fault is given to the right person. They’ll listen to your story, then get right to work on building your case using their network and immense resources.
Without a car attorney present, you’ll be swimming with sharks. The other side is sure to lawyer up, and if they do, the entire case can be turned on its head.
Invest in an Attorney for Your Sideswipe Accident
Now that you have seen how fault is determined during a sideswipe accident, be sure to use this information to your advantage.
First, be sure to read this article for more information on everything you need to do after you’ve been involved in a car accident.
For more inquiries, please feel free to reach out via our contact page to schedule a free consultation. We’ll be happy to assist you further.