Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Accident?

Car accidents are a frightening experience, no matter how they happen. Even a simple sideswipe can leave someone entirely unsure of their next steps. In fact, it’s often hard to determine who is at fault.

How to Determine Who Is at Fault?

Most sideswipe accidents happen when a driver wants to change lanes or merge. Cars should remain in their lane and leave only when it’s safe to do so. Therefore, if a car makes an unsafe lane change and causes an accident, the fault lies with that driver. However, determining which driver left his lane illegally can sometimes be difficult. That’s why eyewitness accounts are often key factors for determining fault in a sideswipe accident.

Car Accidents Caused by Changing Lanes

In the majority of sideswipe cases, the driver who made the attempted lane change is at fault. The driver has the obligation to make sure that the lane is clear before attempting a lane change. These drivers should also check their mirrors keeping in mind that mirrors have blind spots. In addition, they are required to use turn signals before changing lanes.

It’s important to point out, however, even a driver that did not change lanes can be the cause of an accident. Failing to pay attention to the movement of the other cars will sometimes result in a sideswipe accident. 

Car Accidents Caused by Merging

Merging happens when the lane is about to end and the driver must enter another lane that continues forward. The driver who is not merging has the right of way, meaning that in most cases, they are not at fault for sideswipes. In fact, the merging vehicle needs to yield the right of way and failing to do so can result in an accident. Merging too fast, too slow, and hesitation are also common causes of sideswipe accidents.

It’s important to note that the non-merging driver should anticipate that drivers will want to merge with their lane. As a result, they should avoid speeding up or slowing down too suddenly, or else they may be at fault for the accident.

Accidents Caused by Two Cars Switching Lanes

This type of accident occurs when there are three or more lanes of travel in the same direction. In most cases, both cars are probably at fault in a sideswipe accident. Attempting to switch multiple lanes at once is the common cause of sideswipe accidents.

Final Thoughts

It can be difficult to determine who is at fault when it comes to sideswipe car accidents. Conflicting reports and statements have the ability to hinder the process. Our Accident & Injury Law Division is well-versed in this arena, so you can rest assured you’re in good hands. 

If you are dealing with a sideswipe accident or any other type of car accident, don’t hesitate to contact Scott & Wallace. If you have questions about how we can help, please give us a call to receive a free consultation. Our goal is to protect you and your rights.