If you’ve been driving on Texas roads long enough, you’ve likely seen cars with scrapes, dents, and missing trim all along the side. Chances are, these cars were involved in some type of sideswipe accident.
In any kind of accident, your life is disrupted immediately. Houston roads are home to thousands of accidents each day. While there are countless factors and conditions that may lead to a Houston wreck, many are related to one common problem: negligence. More so, serious car accidents often result in severe injuries or deaths, leaving victims wondering who bears the costs.
At Sutliff & Stout, our Houston legal team has extensive experience with sideswipe accidents – they are among the most common types of auto collisions we litigate on behalf of our clients. Our lawyers can assist you with your sideswipe accident in our city and help you pursue all appropriate forms of recovery. The best way to get guidance on your specific case is to contact us today.
What is a Sideswipe Accident?
Sideswipe accidents occur when the sides of two vehicles – which are traveling in the same or opposite direction – make impact.
The two vehicles make contact, usually when one driver tries to make a lane change and doesn’t see that there’s another car in his blind spot.
Sideswipes are often referred to as “blind spot accidents.”
Other times, sideswipe accidents occur when a distracted, tired, or careless driver drifts into another lane and hits the other car.
What causes sideswipe car accidents?
Sideswipe accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common scenarios include:
- Distracted driver texting, playing with his phone, stereo or navigation system
- Distracted driving eating on the road
- Distracted driving applying makeup or grooming their hair
- Distracted driver on the phone that doesn’t look for their blind spot when making a lane change
- Tired driver who temporarily falls asleep at the wheel, veering into the other lane
- High-clearance vehicle that fails to look for smaller vehicle next to them during a lane change
- Intoxicated driver that fails to maintain their lane
- Angry driver who purposefully sideswipes another car in a fit of road rage
- Merging sideswipe, when a car merges onto another road or highway and fails to yield
While many sideswipe accidents only cause property damage, including unsightly scratches and jammed doors, many other sideswipe accidents can be deadly, especially those when the cars are both traveling at a high rate of speed.
Sideswipe Collisions Can be Dangerous and Even Deadly
Sideswipe accidents on an interstate highway can be deadly, because the reaction of many drivers is to immediately correct their action or move away from the car that is impacting them.
Often, this knee-jerk reaction causes the driver to jerk the wheel and lose control, causing head-on or rear-end collisions, and in the worst scenarios, the car to flip over.
These types of accidents are notorious for making drivers collide with other objects, too. When trying to get away from the vehicle that’s impacting them, they often crash against other vehicles, guardrails, trees, road signs, barriers, barrels, and light posts.
Typically, the person who failed to look for their blind spot or who veers into the other driver’s lane is to blame for the accident.
But because many of these accidents take place at high rates of speed, on the highway or other two-lane roads, it can be difficult to determine blame if the two drivers give conflicting accounts of who drifted into the other person’s lane.
This is when it becomes critical to have a seasoned accident investigator or legal professional to look carefully at all of the evidence involved in the crash to assign blame.
In Texas, all traffic accidents resulting in personal injury, death, and property damage in excess of $1,000 are required to go through an accident investigation process and for official traffic accident reports.
Because sideswipe accidents often appear to cause minimal damages, police officers oftentimes don’t go through the entire investigation process.
Likewise, insurance companies can find it easy to dispute a claim in a sideswipe accident due to the lack evidence to substantiate the claim.
An experienced Houston car accident lawyer can help you reconstruct your accident and formulate an argument that can get you the compensation you deserve.
Five more interesting things to know about sideswipe accidents
- Over-steering and under-steering while going around steep curves can also cause a sideswipe accident.
- According to data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), 242,000 sideswipe crashes occur every year.
- Sideswipe accidents cause about 27,000 injuries and more than 2,500 fatalities each year.
- Sideswipe accidents can be both “same direction” or “opposite direction.”
- Opposite direction sideswipes occur more frequently than same direction sideswipes.
Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries
A sideswipe accident occurs unexpectedly and is especially dangerous because of its unpredictable nature. The severity of the injuries will often depend on the location of the collision on the vehicle and the specific vehicles involved.
Aside from the doors, the sides of vehicles have few safety features to add protection and prevent injury. During a frontal crash, the engine and airbags absorb the impact to some extent, while in a rear-end crash, the trunk acts as a barrier between occupants and a vehicle striking from behind. However, the sides of the vehicle always remain exposed. Due to this, passenger vehicle occupants seated on the side of impact often endure the worst impact.
Furthermore, sideswiping can cause a vehicle to collide with an object or another car on or beside the road.
The severity of injuries may also be increased if there is a significant size difference between the vehicles involved. For instance, if a truck sideswipes a small car, the passenger car’s occupants will likely suffer severe injuries due to the size and weight differences. Sideswipe accidents can result in the following injuries:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal cord injury
- Internal injuries
Don’t Forget to Take These Steps After a Sideswipe Accident
If you are involved in a side-swipe car accident in Houston, take the following steps:
- Call emergency services (911). If you believe that you were not injured in your car accident, you should still keep a record of the facts. Police officers will generate a police report containing important details of what happened, including the information they gathered from all parties and eyewitnesses involved in the accident. Reports can even include an officer’s opinion of fault, and while this is not necessarily conclusive, you can use their opinions to help prove fault or liability if you proceed to trial.
- Seek medical attention immediately. If you’re severely injured, wait for emergency personnel to transport you to the nearest hospital. If not, you need to go to a qualified healthcare professional for a thorough examination right away. In the beginning, you may not feel pain, but you can still suffer injuries. Documentation of your injuries will be helpful when seeking compensation and determining the extent and nature of your injuries, treatment, and recovery.
- Document the accident scene. It is recommended that you try to document anything and everything connected to the accident, including taking pictures at the scene. Obtain photos of vehicle damage, the area around the vehicles, and any paperwork exchanged between parties. With these photos, your attorney can acquire clearer details about the accident and better argue your case with the insurance companies or in court.
- Find out whether you are eligible to file a personal injury claim by contacting a car accident attorney. A reputable injury law firm can help you ensure that you are receiving the proper amount of compensation and that you are made aware of your options for recovering that compensation.
Damages to Fight for in Your Personal Injury Claim
After a sideswipe accident, your sole focus should be on your recovery. At Sutliff & Stout, we will strive to get you compensation for the following losses:
- Loss of current and future wages
- Past, present, and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Most clients tend to underestimate the cost of even minor injuries. You’ll accumulate medical bills quickly, and insurance companies recognize that you’re feeling vulnerable. They will exploit this by offering you a settlement that is much lower than you deserve. By accepting the insurance company’s low-ball offer, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for excess costs and relinquish your right to sue the insurer for additional compensation in the future.
Although you may be able to cover your current medical bills, their offer is unlikely to cover future medical expenses. This is why you should always speak with a qualified personal injury attorney in Houston, Texas in advance. At Sutliff & Stout, we believe that it’s our job to ensure that you are not forced to pay for your recovery out of your own pocket. Because you were not at fault in the accident, you should not have to shoulder the resulting financial burden.
Call Sutliff & Stout to Speak with a Sideswipe Accident Lawyer
If you or someone you love is injured in a sideswipe collision, you deserve a successful personal injury attorney on your side, guiding you toward a favorable outcome. When you partner with Sutliff & Stout, we review your claim, investigate your accident, interview witnesses, negotiate with insurance companies, and defend your rights, both outside and inside the courtroom if necessary. We take care of all this for free and only get paid if you win.
It often takes a trusted and seasoned injury attorney to ensure you are properly compensated after being hurt due to someone else’s negligence. You can reach us by calling (713) 987-7111 or completing our online contact form to determine if you qualify for compensation for your injuries from a sideswipe accident.