How to Determine Fault in a Sideswipe Accident

Published on Jan 9, 2020 at 1:35 pm in Car Accidents.

Closeup of scraped front of white car

You might think determining fault after an accident is clean cut. But not all accidents provide enough proof of who caused the collision and exactly what happened leading up to the wreck. More specifically, sideswipe accidents work the same way.

When two cars travelling parallel to each other collide, it’s considered a sideswipe accident. Even though you might think in that scenario that one car was following all the rules and the other person created the accident, it might not be so obvious in the eyes of the law.

Sideswipe Liability in Maryland

Determining fault in a sideswipe crash is hard enough, which makes our state laws even more challenging. Maryland functions on the contributory negligence statute when it comes to personal injury cases. This means that a person cannot receive compensation for damages if they are found to be even the smallest bit at fault for the accident.

Maryland’s contributory negligence statute started in 1847 after Irwin v. Sprigg, and was almost overturned in 2013, but the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the decision of contributory negligence.

So even if you think fault is obvious in your sideswipe accident, it might not be. If you’ve experienced property and physical damages, you’ll want to maximize every chance you have at getting compensation. You need an experienced legal team who knows how to gather the information that proves you were not responsible for what happened.

What Causes Sideswipe Accidents?

Sideswipe collisions happen for a number of reasons. Usually, they happen when one car is in their own lane and another car wrongly comes into the lane, swiping the side of the initial vehicle. Here are some scenarios that cause sideswipe wrecks:

  • Switching lanes without checking blind spots
  • Merging into traffic without properly yielding
  • Distracted driving, such as texting
  • Reckless driving, such as speeding and weaving through traffic
  • Tired drivers who drift into another lane
  • Drunk driving
  • Driving in the wrong direction
  • Overcorrecting for something in the road, like an animal

Usually, these types of accidents don’t cause serious damage. Your car might sustain damage, but you probably won’t be critically injured. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), sideswipe accidents accounted for less than 3% of traffic fatalities in 2016.

If you do get injured from a sideswipe, you’re most likely to suffer a concussion, whiplash, shoulder and hip injuries, and cuts and bruises. Like any other accident, it’s important to get medical help immediately so you can get treated and have a record of any injuries caused by the accident.

Belsky & Horowitz, LLC Will Fight for You

After a car accident, you might feel helpless, especially after a sideswipe collision in Baltimore where it’s imperative you prove you weren’t at fault. If you’ve suffered property damage, physical injuries, and mental anguish, you deserve to be compensated. A car accident attorney from Belsky & Horowitz, LLC will fight for your rights and be your best asset in a difficult case. Contact us today so we can discuss your claim and start fighting for you.



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