Determining Legal Liability for Damages in a Sideswipe Collision

damaged rearview mirror on a vehicle Sideswipe collisions happen all too often on Wisconsin roads. These collisions can occur when two vehicles are traveling in the same direction or when two vehicles are traveling in the opposite direction.

Even at slower speeds, a sideswipe collision can cause a driver to lose control, spin out and hit another vehicle. Common injuries include broken bones, back and spinal cord injuries and brain trauma.

If you have been injured in a sideswipe collision, determining who is legally liable for the collision is important if you are looking to pursue compensation for your injuries and damages. It may be in your best interest to work with an experienced lawyer to help you obtain a recovery from the responsible party.

At Sigman Janssen, we are ready to review your situation and discuss your available legal options in a free initial consultation. This meeting comes with no obligation to hire our firm. If we determine that you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, there are zero upfront fees to use our services.

Get started by calling (920) 328-0699 today.

What Are Common Causes of Sideswipe Collisions?

Sideswipe collisions can occur for several reasons. However, most of them involve driver error. A driver may fail to pay attention to his or her surroundings. Some common causes of sideswipe collisions are:

  • Drivers not checking their blind spots before changing lanes
  • Drivers traveling at high speeds and losing control of their vehicles
  • Distracted or drowsy drivers veering into other lanes of traffic
  • Intoxicated drivers weaving in and out of traffic lanes
  • Drivers failing to yield the right of way or signal a lane change
  • Drivers hydroplaning on wet or icy roadway conditions
  • Two drivers changing into the same lane at the same time

Other scenarios that can lead to a sideswipe collision are when drivers try to cut in front of another vehicle or misjudge the distance between two vehicles. If a driver fails to safely move over going past a previous crash or an emergency vehicle, he or she may sideswipe a vehicle on the shoulder of the road.

A sudden, unrelated collision or even a near-miss may cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle and enter another lane of traffic. A driver may sideswipe a parked vehicle on a narrow one-lane road or narrow one-way street. A vehicle leaving a parking space may also be sideswiped by a driver passing by.

What Should You Do When You Get Sideswiped?

After a collision, you may be in pain, confused and unsure about what to do next. To protect yourself and your right to compensation under the law, we recommend taking the following actions:

  • Seek medical careGet medical care as soon as you can, even if you feel that you were not injured or that your injuries are minor. Injuries sustained in a sideswipe collision can be quite severe and cause symptoms that may not show up for days or even weeks. Delaying treatment may worsen your injuries. Your medical records can help connect your injuries to the collision.
  • Call 9-1-1 and remain at the scene – Be sure to wait until police have arrived. The police report can provide useful information about the sideswipe collision and who may be liable.
  • Take photos of the scene – If you are physically capable, take photos of your injuries, damage to vehicles, as well as any debris, skid marks, or traffic signs or signals. These photos may help an accident reconstructionist determine the direction of the impact and who was at fault.
  • Gather contact information – Write down the name and contact information of all parties involved in the sideswipe collision. This includes anyone who may have seen what happened.
  • Contact a lawyer sooner rather than later – If you have been injured in a sideswipe collision, there is only so much time to file a claim for compensation. A lawyer can thoroughly investigate the collision and gather supportive evidence to build a strong case on your behalf.

Who is Legally liable for a Sideswipe Collision?

Wisconsin drivers are required to remain in their lane of travel unless they are turning or making a lane change. When making a lane change, drivers must check for blind spots, assess the traffic, and use the proper turn signal. If a driver decides to change lanes without ensuring that it is safe to do so and sideswipes another vehicle, he or she may be legally liable for the collision.

To prove liability in a sideswipe, you must be able to show that:

  • The other party owed you a duty of care to drive in a safe and responsible manner
  • The liable party breached this duty of care by failing to pay attention to the road and violated your right of way
  • This breach of duty directly resulted in your injuries/damages
  • In some cases, there could be more than one driver at fault for a sideswipe collision. Two drivers may share responsibility for damages if two vehicles were changing lanes at the same time.

What Types of Damages Could I Recover?

While each sideswipe collision is unique, the types of damages you may be able to recover include:

  • Medical expenses you incurred to treat your injuries, which may include hospitalization, surgery, doctor visits, physical therapy, medical equipment and medication
  • Other expenses required due to your injuries, such as in-home care or transportation services
  • Lost wages from missing work, being unable to return to your previous job, or not working at all
  • Pain and suffering, both physical and mental, that you have experienced from the collision.

Reach Out to Our Firm for Trusted Legal Help

If you have been injured in a sideswipe collision, we recommend reaching out to a licensed auto accident attorney in Green Bay who can help you understand your options. Our firm has helped many different victims of collisions over the years obtain fair and just compensation for their losses.

An initial consultation comes at no cost or obligation to you. Our legal services are provided on contingency, which means that we do not get paid unless we help you obtain a recovery.

Free case review 24/7. Ph: (920) 328-0699