Most people associate sideswipe accidents with inconsequential damage to the vehicle, synch as dents and scrapes, and comparatively minor, if any, injuries. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to realize just how catastrophic and potentially deadly a Virginia sideswipe accident can be.
When contact is made between the sides of two vehicles, it can result in horrendous accidents that leave victims with severe or fatal injuries. It is important for you to know how to protect your rights if you are ever involved in one.
The Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have a well-earned reputation for helping their personal injury clients collect the maximum amount of compensation for their injuries. Schedule your free consultation by calling (833) 997-1774 or through the contact form on our website.
Causes of Sideswipe Collisions
The National Highway Safety Administration reported that, due to blind spots alone, over 840,000 sideswipe collisions take place every year in the United States.
While blind spots certainly play a prevalent role in sideswipe crashes, other common causes include:
- Driver Distraction: Most Virginians have seen drivers who are not paying attention to the roadway but instead are sending texts, making phone calls, changing the radio station, or eating behind the wheel. Drivers who are distracted are prone to drifting into other lanes, increasing the chances of a sideswipe accident.
- Road Rage: Aggressive drivers put themselves and those around them in harm’s way when they let their anger control their decisions. Many of the unpredictable and unsafe driving behaviors that accompany road rage, such as unlawful passing, speeding, tailgating, and deliberately running a vehicle off the roadway can result in serious sideswipe accidents.
- Drunk Drivers: Alcohol and drugs slow reaction times and can cause an intoxicated driver to make dangerous choices. For example, an intoxicated driver could misjudge how close they are to another vehicle or struggle to maintain their lane and cause a sideswipe accident.
- Merging Without Caution: Failing to yield the right of way is a major contributor to sideswipe accidents, especially where roadways converge. This mistake is most commonly made when drivers are distracted, acting aggressively, or fail to check their blind spots.
- Fatigued Driving: Long-haul truckers, third-shift workers, and other drivers who have not had enough restful sleep are in danger of nodding off behind the wheel. A drowsy driver can leave their lane and sideswipe another vehicle in a matter of seconds.
No matter what causes a sideswipe accident, victims can endure severe injuries that impact their lives. An experienced car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp can help you secure the financial compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver.
Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries
A sideswipe accident is any impact between the sides of two vehicles. Depending on the size and speed of the vehicles involved, that impact can lead to serious property damage and injuries to the vehicle occupants.
Sometimes, the initial impact is nothing more than a graze that causes only minor damage to the vehicles but forces one or both drivers to lose control. Following the preliminary sideswipe, the vehicles might swerve or spin out of their lanes and wind up involved in a secondary accident. These secondary accidents are the biggest danger caused by sideswipes and often result in worse injuries.
These injuries may include:
- Back Injuries/Spinal Cord Injuries: Spinal cord injuries can cause chronic pain, decreased mobility, and paralysis, and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat over the course of the victim’s lifetime.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries can inflict emotional, cognitive, and physical impairments, any of which could defy current medical treatments and take a heavy emotional toll on the injured victim and their family.
- Crushed Limbs/Traumatic Amputations: These injuries are often the result of a limb being pinned inside or underneath a vehicle involved in a secondary accident.
- Burn Injuries: Burn injuries cause excruciating pain, have a high risk of severe infection, and often leave accident victims with disfiguring scars.
- Broken Bones/Orthopedic Injuries: Although broken bones and similar injuries will eventually mend, they leave victims unable to work for the duration and can cause long-term physical handicaps.
These are just a few of the possible injuries that the victim of a sideswipe accident could endure. Regardless of what type of injury your Virginia sideswipe accident caused, an experienced car accident attorney from Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will fight to ensure you recover full financial compensation for your injuries and other damages.
Determining Liability In a Virginia Sideswipe Accident
The victims of sideswipe collisions usually assume that the driver of the striking vehicle should bear the financial liability for their injuries and damages. In most cases, they are correct. That assumption, however, does not necessarily paint a complete picture. In fact, multiple parties could be held legally liable for your sideswipe accident, including:
- Drivers: Drivers could be held liable if their unsafe actions led to a sideswipe accident.
- Employers: If the accident involved a work vehicle, the driver’s employer could be responsible.
- Auto Manufacturers: If a faulty or dangerous product contributed to the cause of a sideswipe crash, the manufacturer or distributor might be liable.
- State and Local Government Contractors or Agencies: If an unreasonably hazardous road condition led to a preventable sideswipe accident, then the entity responsible for maintaining, building, or designing safe roadways could be held accountable.
An experienced sideswipe accident lawyer will fully investigate your collision in order to identify each party whose negligent actions played a role. The more people who shoulder the economic responsibility for your injuries, the better your chances of recovering the financial compensation you are entitled to.
Speak With a Virginia Sideswipe Accident Lawyer Today
If you have decided to pursue legal action for your Virginia sideswipe accident injuries, our lawyers can help. Call the Virginia Beach car accident lawyers at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp at (833) 997-1774 and schedule your free consultation.
After you sign with our law firm, we will review the details of your case, figure out what damages you might be entitled to, and file a claim against the negligent driver and their insurance company. Our experienced lawyers will also conduct a thorough investigation into your accident and gather important evidence that draws a clear and compelling connection between the at-fault driver’s actions and your injuries.