While sideswipe collisions are not the most common type of accident, they can be more challenging to deal with when they do occur. In other types of collisions, like head-on or rear-end, it can be easier to determine which driver was the one at fault. But with sideswipe collisions, how to tell who sideswiped who is not as straightforward.
In some cases, more than one driver could be at fault. This can be an issue in Maryland because Maryland is a contributory negligence state. This means that if you share any of the blame for the collision you will be barred from recovering compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
For this reason, victims of sideswipe collisions in Maryland must work with an attorney. If you were injured and intend to file a compensation claim, you will need to work with an attorney who can help prove that another party was entirely at fault.
At Zirkin & Schmerling, our Maryland accident attorneys handle a wide range of cases, including those involving sideswipe collisions. If you need assistance with a claim or lawsuit, we are here to help.
The basic concept of a sideswipe collision is that one vehicle collides or swipes alongside another. However, there are many different ways that this can happen. It can happen when two vehicles headed in the same direction swipe alongside each other, when two vehicles swipe together when headed in opposite directions, or it can happen when one car is in motion and another vehicle is stationary—such as a moving car swiping the side of a parked car.
There are also many different reasons why a sideswipe collision might occur, but some of the most common causes include the following:
- Two vehicles merging into the same lane at the same time
- One car merging into another lane and failing to yield the right of way to a vehicle already in that lane
- A driver merging and failing to see another car in their way due to blind spots
- Distracted driving causing a driver to swerve and swipe alongside another vehicle
- A fatigued driver drifting into another lane and swiping against another car
- Bad weather causing a car to slide or skid on the road and slide into another vehicle
Though sideswipe collisions can be minor, statistics show that these types of accidents can also result in fatalities. Generally speaking, any type of accident can lead to severe damages and injuries, especially if one or both of the vehicles involved were traveling at high speeds—and sideswipe collisions are no exception.
In 2020, 950 fatal sideswipe collisions were reported, and the numbers are even higher for those accidents where there were injuries but no fatalities.
As for the specific types of injuries a person can sustain in a sideswipe collision, they can vary greatly. Several factors can play a role in how badly someone is injured. However, some of the most common injuries listed for sideswipe collisions tend to include:
- Bruising and lacerations
- Head injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Back injuries
- Knee injuries
With sideswipe collisions, the at-fault driver is generally going to be the driver that did not have the right of way when the collision occurred or the driver that drove into another car. For example,if one driver is merging onto a highway and they sideswipe an oncoming vehicle, it would technically be the merging driver’s fault as they are required by law to yield to oncoming traffic.
But what happens when two drivers collide at the same time? Such as when two cars both go to change lanes at the same time. Determining liability in a situation like this can be more challenging.
In these scenarios, fault is determined by closely evaluating the evidence provided, such as photos from the accident scene, police reports, eyewitness statements, video surveillance footage, dash cam footage, and even accident reconstruction reports. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon in these situations for both drivers to share in the liability for what happened.
If liability is shared, then neither driver will be able to file a claim against the other. This means that if you were involved in an accident like this, you would have to rely on your own non-fault PIP car insurance coverage.
If you are involved in a sideswipe collision and believe you are not at fault and want to recover compensation from the other driver, our team of Maryland sideswipe collision lawyers at Zirkin & Schmerling can help.
We understand how complex sideswipe cases can be, and we know what it takes to obtain the evidence needed to prove that the other party was at fault.
Contact us or call us at 410-753-4611 to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys today.