Many sideswipe accidents lead to a loss of control and subsequent accidents, causing severe injuries and tragic outcomes like hospitalization or even death. A car accident lawyer with experience handling sideswipe car accident cases can review your claim and help you include every damage available to you.
This is why it’s a good idea to have an attorney look everything over before you file. While you can file your claim by yourself, doing so means that the insurance company has an advantage over you. So before you agree to any settlement, it’s best to get the opinion of a lawyer first.
Understanding Sideswipe Car Accidents
Most sideswipe accidents happen between two vehicles driving in the same direction next to each other. One of the vehicles moves into the other’s lane or line of travel and collides with the side of the other vehicle. This first collision may be as minor as a brush of one side against the other, but it’s often what happens after that becomes more serious.
After a sideswipe, the second driver can react by turning their wheel quickly to swerve away from the first driver. This can result in hitting other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians, moving into oncoming traffic, or the car rolling over. These actions can cause serious or fatal injuries and damage.
Legally, victims of a sideswipe accident have the same rights as other car accident victims. However, these cases present some legal challenges that may make them harder to approve. These challenges determine how an experienced attorney will approach a sideswipe car accident case.
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How a Car Accident Lawyer Would Handle a Sideswipe Case
While every sideswipe case is unique in its own way, our lawyers have a set standard of steps on how to approach sideswipe cases for our clients. Here is a basic outline of what we do.
Establishing negligence is vital because filing a claim without knowing how your sideswipe happened wouldn’t result in anything. The Official Code of Georgia Annotated (OCGA) §51-1-6 allows you to recover compensation only when the other party fails to uphold their duty of care. Thus, our lawyers will first look at how the sideswipe accident occurred.
Often, sideswipe car accidents are the result of a distracted driver. Our modern world has a seemingly endless number of objects that can distract someone on the road, like:
- Texting or talking on a cellphone while driving
- Looking at a GPS for directions
- Changing stations on the radio or songs on a phone
- Using Snapchat, Instagram stories, or other social media
The driver could also be tired, upset with road rage, driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs, failing to check lanes, blind spots, or using a signal before merging into another lane. All of these reasons are enough for you to file a claim against the negligent driver.
Determining Fault After a Sideswipe Accident
Sideswipe cases can also be more challenging than other car accident cases because it can be harder to determine who is at fault. For example, the first driver might drift into the second driver’s lane and sideswipe them. In that case, the first driver is at fault for leaving their lane. But what if the second driver swerves and hits a third vehicle, causing further damage and injuries?
Proving that the first driver initially caused the accident can be difficult, especially if they deny responsibility, hit and run, or if the insurance company tries to say the second driver is partly to blame. In the state of Georgia, a victim of a sideswipe accident can recover money only if they were less than 50% at fault under OCGA §51-12-33.
If the victim believes they were not at fault in any way, proving it can be difficult without legal representation. This is why the victim of a car accident caused by a sideswipe needs to work with a car accident attorney experienced in this type of claim. They will look at the facts and pursue a settlement that is fair to you, not just what the insurer is offering.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
While these might sound straightforward, insurance companies are also more likely to dispute claims for sideswipe accident-related injuries because the damage or injuries may seem less severe.
For example, sideswipes often happen when there’s a small amount of space between the sides of each car in the accident, so that damage can include scrapes, broken side-view mirrors, and dents on doors. In addition, injuries can result from jerking motions like whiplash and neck or shoulder pain.
While these types of injuries can actually cause a lot of suffering and become more serious, insurance companies may try to downplay them. This is where our lawyers will negotiate for a fair settlement and ensure that they don’t try to cheat you out of the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Most Cases Settle Out of Court
Almost all of the sideswipe cases our lawyers deal with settle out of court. However, there are certain times when it’s necessary to go to trial to secure the maximum amount of compensation for your claim. In these cases, many law firms tend to withdraw their services because they don’t want to go through a long legal battle.
Our lawyers will never do this. If negotiations fall through and nothing gets resolved, we won’t simply throw up our hands and give up. Any experienced attorney will do whatever it takes and try as hard as possible to get you financial compensation.
Don’t Wait to File Your Claim
Sideswipe accident claims have a statute of limitations of two years in Georgia. No matter how experienced a lawyer may be, if you wait until the last minute to file your claim, your chances of getting a reasonable settlement drastically decrease. If you pass the deadline to file, there’s next to nothing you can do to recover a full settlement.
It’s always best to take action immediately while the accident is still fresh and evidence is still present. Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do or how to get started. Through a free consultation, you can learn precisely what the next steps are and how you can fight for compensation.
Contact a Sideswipe Car Accident Attorney Today
Sideswipe accident cases can be complicated and confusing for victims seeking financial recovery for injuries or damages. Don’t suffer through the process alone or miss out on receiving what you deserve to fully recover from the accident.
At John Foy & Associates, we know how to approach car accidents that began with a sideswipe, and we never take the insurance company’s side. To start your free consultation, call us today or complete the form to your right.