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Sideswipe Collision & Sideswipe Accident


A sideswipe collision occurs when two vehicles are traveling beside each other in the same direction, and contact happens between them.

This type of collision can occur between two cars heading in the same direction or the opposite direction. Sideswipes in the opposite direction are four times more common than in the same direction sideswiped.

According to the Nation Safety Commission, over 242,000 sideswipe collisions happen on US roadways annually. If you’ve been injured in a sideswipe collision, you may need to pursue compensation to recover your damages. Let’s discuss sideswipe accidents, how they happen, and how fault is determined.

car that has been sideswiped

How a Sideswipe Collision Occurs

A typical sideswipe accident involves one driver trying to change lanes without first checking to ensure no other car is in their path. This causes the vehicle to collide with the other on the side. If the driver was rapidly making the lane change, the impact could be forceful enough to push the car sideways, potentially into the line of other traffic.

Drifting across lanes can also cause a sideswipe accident. These types of slow-moving accidents are generally the result of driving while fatigued, under the influence or texting and driving. No matter the cause, the damage to the vehicle and injuries sustained could be severe.

Top causes of sideswipe collisions

According to our St Louis car crash attorneys, the top causes of highway vehicle sideswipe collisions include:

  • Distraction – Being distracted is one of the top reasons why drivers veer out of their lane without even realizing that they are doing it.
  • Speeding can cause loss of vehicle control
  • Failing to yield or not paying attention when trying to merge lanes
  • Drugs or alcohol – Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs can impair drivers thought processes and hinder concentration, making them more likely to leave their lane without due care and attention.
  • Tiredness – Being tired can really affect concentration, and it can also be a leading cause of sideswipes on our highways.
  • Overcorrecting due to hazard avoidance – Avoiding a collision or impact with a hazard in the road can cause a vehicle to sideswipe a vehicle that has been traveling alongside it.
  • Not looking for other vehicles – Not looking hard enough for other vehicles on the road around you is a big cause of sideswipes. As we’ve already mentioned, there is also the issue of a vehicle being in your blind spot.

In general, sideswipes are caused by carelessness and lack of attention. These incidents can have some significant consequences. Typical damage to vehicles during a sideswipe collision includes damage to doors, windows, and mirrors, as well as the scraping of the quarter panels. These types of accidents can result in severe injuries and even death.

Injuries From a Sideswipe Car Accident

In most cars, the majority of protection for the driver and passengers is located at the front and rear of the vehicle, where impacts are more likely to occur. In a sideswipe accident, the car that collides with yours ends up just inches away from your body. Even with side-impact airbags, there is still the possibility of damage to the legs, internal organs, and head.

When high speed is involved, a car can be pushed into another lane of traffic or off the road, causing a front- or rear-end collision. Depending on the severity of the crash, your injury could far exceed what you can afford to pay in medical bills. You may need the help of a St. Louis car accident attorney to determine the cause of the accident, show fault, and compel the other driver’s insurance company to provide you with compensation for the damages you incurred.

What Types of Injuries Can Occur?

Who Is at Fault in a St. Louis Sideswipe Accident?

sideswipe injury attorney

When Is the Driver Changing Lanes at Fault?

To avoid causing an accident, every driver should watch for other vehicles before changing lanes. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. A driver changing lanes may be held liable for a sideswiping accident if they were:

  • Distracted and drifted into your lane
  • Failed to check whether there’s room to make a lane change
  • Didn’t check their blind spot 
  • Cut you off due to aggressive driving
  • Driving too fast on wet roads and spin into your lane

When May the Driver Who Did Not Change Lanes Be at Fault?

In most cases, the driver changing lanes is at fault in a sideswipe accident. However, a driver who sticks to one lane can also be to blame. Here are scenarios where the driver who did not change lanes can be held liable:

  • They slowed down and failed to yield the right of the way to drivers behind
  • They sped up when the driver in front was about to make a lane change
  • They denied a way to a driver looking to join their lane

What if Both Drivers Change Lanes?

Generally, you are not supposed to make a lane change before the center lane is clear. Therefore, if you go for the center lane and collide with another driver going for the same lane, chances are you will collide and damage your car or, worse, suffer injuries. In such a case, both drivers will likely share fault as none had the right of way.

What should I do if I am involved in a sideswipe collision?

If you are involved in a sideswipe collision, it is crucial to remain calm and follow these steps:

  • Safety first: Move to a safe location if possible and turn on your hazard lights.
  • Call the police: Even if the accident appears minor, a police report can be essential for insurance claims and legal purposes.
  • Exchange information: Obtain the other driver’s contact, vehicle, and insurance information.
  • Document the scene: Take photographs of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, and any visible damage.
  • Seek medical attention: Sometimes, injuries caused by accidents become apparent only hours or days later.
  • Consult a St. Louis car accident lawyer: Contact a lawyer who specializes in car accidents to discuss your rights and potential compensation, especially if the accident was not your fault.

Can I receive compensation after a sideswipe accident?

Yes, if you are not at fault, you may be entitled to compensation for damages including medical expenses, vehicle repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The specifics of what you can claim depend on the accident details and your state’s laws. A skilled car accident attorney can help you navigate the claims process and ensure that you receive the full compensation you deserve.

Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

Updated: April 26, 2024