Sideswipe collisions are not the first kind of accident that comes to mind when we think about bad car accidents. We usually think of a sideswipe accident as causing minor damage to the car, but they cause nearly 3 percent of all fatal crashes. Still, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports nearly a quarter of a million of them each year, resulting in about 27,000 injuries and 2,500 fatalities.
If you were one of the thousands of people injured by a sideswipe accident, a lawyer can help you recover compensation.
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So what is a sideswipe collision? A sideswipe accident happens when one vehicle hits or scrapes the side of another vehicle, usually but not always going in opposite directions. Both vehicles may move in a sideswipe, or the sideswiped vehicle may be stationary.
The vast majority of car crashes involve driver error in one way or another. That said, particular kinds of driver error are more common in sideswipe accidents than others.
These common causes of sideswipe accidents include:
This kind of fatigue can result from simply being awake for too many hours, not getting enough sleep for several days, sleep disorders or medications, and the impact of your body’s daily sleep/wake cycle.
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After an accident, you probably aren’t focusing on what steps you should take to protect yourself and your rights. You probably aren’t capable of taking some of those steps right then.
However, you should be sure that you or someone acting for you (like a personal injury lawyer) does the following soon after your accident:
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Injuries in a sideswipe depend on several issues. The severity varies based on the relative sizes of the vehicle, the speed both were going, whether one vehicle was stationary, the force of the impact. Even a minor sideswipe can cause one or both drivers to lose control of their vehicles and cause further accidents with more severe injuries.
All that considered, common injuries in sideswipe accidents include:
Like most personal injuries and car accidents, a sideswipe usually results from someone’s careless or reckless behavior on the roads. Recovery from this is based on the legal theory of negligence.
To recover in a negligence action, you must allege and prove that:
By asking if you can afford to sue, you mean: Can I afford a lawyer? And the answer is yes. Virtually all lawyers take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee arrangement means you will pay attorney’s fees only if the case ends in your favor, through a settlement or a verdict. If so, the attorney will receive a portion of your award; if not, the attorney receives no fees.
A contingency fee agreement must be in writing, must specify the percentage the attorney will receive, and state whether case fees and expenses will be net or gross of the fee. Contingency fee arrangements make it much easier for injured parties to seek compensation.
Some states have no-fault insurance laws that allow you to sue for damages if (1) your damages exceed your coverage under your policy or (2) if death or serious injury resulted from the accident.
Under the no-fault law, a serious injury results in:
State laws vary, but New York generally allows three years from the date of an accident for filing a lawsuit to recover damages. This period may seem like a long time, but the gathering and reviewing of evidence and building your case can be time-consuming. Further, there are circumstances where New York imposes a shorter statute. In fact, it can be as little as 90 days.
The law allows for three general classes of damages in personal injury cases.
A car accident lawyer can help you with most of these tasks and can begin to negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf, leaving you free to focus on healing mentally and physically.
Contact an experienced sideswipe accident lawyer for a usually free initial consultation and case evaluation. Let them advocate for your cause.
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