How Fault Is Determined During a Sideswipe Accident

Every type of car accident comes with its own set of complexities when trying to determine liability. Sideswipe accidents are no different. If you’re following the rules of the road and are hit on the side of your vehicle, you may think proving the other driver’s fault and receiving fair compensation will be easy. Unfortunately, these types of accidents can be difficult to prove because the wreckage doesn’t always paint a clear picture of what happened and why it happened.

In order to receive the compensation you deserve, it’s important to understand what a sideswipe accident is, why they happen, and how Ohio determines liability.

What Is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe crash occurs when two vehicles traveling in the same direction collide. The impact involves the right side of one vehicle striking the left side of another. These collisions can be incredibly dangerous, especially when traveling at high speeds on highways or interstates. This is because, in general, neither driver is aware a wreck is about to occur. The surprise of impact can quickly cause a dangerous chain of events involving other vehicles because of the loss of control the drivers are experiencing.

If you find you’ve been sideswiped, there are actions you can take to prevent serious injury or worse. While you only have mere seconds or less to react, do what you can to remain calm and try to regain control of your vehicle. Avoid jerking the wheel left or right. If you do, you risk changing lanes and striking other unsuspecting vehicles. Slow your vehicle down and move to the shoulder. Once all movement has stopped, evaluate yourself and anyone else in the vehicle for injuries and call 911.

After you’ve contacted emergency services, you’ll want to gather contact information from the other driver involved, take photos of the damage and scene, and find out if there are any witnesses willing to give their testimony as to what they saw. If you’ve sustained injuries or are worried about working with your insurance company, get in touch with an attorney from Bey & Associates. We can guide you through the legal process.

How Do Sideswipe Collisions Occur?

A vehicle could sideswipe another for a number of reasons; however, accidents like that mostly happen because another driver isn’t paying attention to their surroundings. Whether they’re distracted by something like their phone and don’t notice that they’re drifting, or they miss a vehicle in their blind spot, recognizing the causes of sideswipe collisions can help drivers be more aware of them and decrease the number of accidents.

The following list includes the most common reasons sideswipe crashes occur:

  • Drivers changing lanes without checking their blind spots
  • Drivers drifting out of their lane because of a distraction
  • Drunk drivers who are unable to stay in a single lane
  • Reckless drivers
  • Drivers experiencing road rage
  • Merging without checking the lane
  • Failing to signal a lane change
  • Multiple drivers merging into the same lane at the same time
  • Spinning or hydroplaning on icy or wet roads

Who Is Liable for a Sideswipe Wreck in Ohio?

As mentioned, determining fault for a sideswipe accident can be difficult; however, according to Ohio Revised Code Title 45, Chapter 4511.33, the following rules apply for driving in marked lanes:

  • A driver should not move from a single lane or line of traffic to another until they have absolutely determined it is safe.
  • When a roadway has been divided into three lanes and allows for two-way movement of traffic, a driver should not drive in the center lane except when passing another vehicle.
  • All drivers should obey official signs directing traffic to use designated lanes.
  • Official traffic controls can prohibit lane changes and drivers should obey the directions of these devices.

If, after an investigation, it is discovered one of the above rules was violated prior to a sideswipe accident occur, the guilty party can be held liable for the accident.

If you’ve been in a collision, it’s likely you’re facing medical bills, vehicle repair costs, and recovery. Working with insurance companies to determine fault and come to a settlement may be the last thing on your mind when dealing with physical and emotional pain.

That’s where we come in. Our lawyers are prepared to handle the legal burdens you’re dealing with, so you can focus on getting your life back in order. If you have questions about your claim or are worried you’ve been offered an unfair settlement, contact us to schedule a free consultation. We’ll review your case and help you determine how best to proceed.


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