Sideswipe Collisions

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 242,000 sideswipe crashes occur every year in the United States. Those collisions cause approximately 27,000 injuries and more than 2,500 fatalities.

Common but often frustrating because the other driver doesn’t stop and continues on because they are not aware that they just hit a car or because the car they hit is parked and unoccupied. Sometimes, the sideswiping vehicle is much larger like a truck, and the driver is unaware that they struck your vehicle because of the size of the vehicle they are driving.

Sideswipe collisions also occur on two lane or more highways when a driver attempts to move into an adjacent lane when that lane is occupied by another vehicle. Here, a dispute can arise over who moved into whose lane. What makes this type of claim a challenge is the lack of independent eyewitnesses. In that event, an expert is often required to be consulted to establish the other driver’s fault.

There are three kinds of sideswipe collisions:

  • The side of a moving vehicle hits the side of a parked/stationary vehicle;
  • The sides of two vehicles traveling in opposite directions hit each other; or
  • The sides of two vehicles traveling in the same direction hit each other

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, there are four times more opposite-direction sideswipe crashes than same-direction crashes.

Sideswipe collisions can also lead to loss of control by the struck vehicle, causing that vehicle to drift into oncoming traffic resulting in a second, more violent head-on collision or run off the roadway and strike stationary objects such as utility poles or trees, the results of which can be devastating. Likewise, on highways, a sideswipe collision caused by a driver moving into another’s lane of travel can cause rollovers, the results of which are often catastrophic leading to death or severe injuries.

Driver inattention due to distraction such as cell phone use, intoxicated or impaired driving, speeding, reckless driving and failing to properly set mirror position are all causes of these types of crashes.

Because many of these types of collisions do not cause major vehicle damage, the other driver’s insurance company may likely try to minimize the severity of the collision and dispute the causation of the claimed injuries.

Even the typical sideswipe collision, resulting in relatively “minor” vehicle damage such as dented doors or damaged side-view mirrors can lead to serious injuries due to the unexpected side-to-side jerking motion that such a collision causes.

Injuries caused by sideswipe collisions can be severe. Cars are generally designed to give the most protection against front or rear-end collisions. The front and rear of a car have bumpers to absorb the force of an impact. But in a sideswipe crash, there is little space between the side of the car where the impact occurs and the passengers inside. What’s more, airbags are usually not deployed in these types of collisions further reducing occupant protection, or side curtain airbags deploy and can cause serious head or neck injuries due to the violent nature of their rapid deployment.

In Pennsylvania, every driver is required to be on the lookout for all vehicles around his or her vehicle. Also, it is illegal for more than 1 vehicle to occupy a given lane at the same time, while it is illegal for a driver to move from one lane to another without first checking to be sure the maneuver can be made safely.

Don’t let the other driver’s insurance company minimize or deny you compensation just because the other driver claims they were doing everything appropriately. Experienced attorneys will look at all of the statements offered by drivers involved, any witnesses and the damage to the vehicles involved to help determine fault. We will work with appropriate experts to prove that the other driver broke the rules of the road. We will fight the other driver’s insurance company and get you the compensation you deserve for your damages.