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Sideswipe Auto Accidents - Who Is at Fault?

By Sean Burke on March 18, 2015

Crashed car with damaged sideBeing in a car accident can be physically, psychologically, and financially difficult, especially if you were not responsible for the crash. In some cases, it is clear which party was at fault for the accident, but some situations may be more challenging to assess. At the Law Offices of Sean M. Burke, we help our clients determine fault in auto accident cases and help them obtain just compensation for damages. Sideswipe accidents, in which the side of one car hits the side of another vehicle, can be some of the most confusing in terms of responsibility. If you’ve been in this type of collision, our experienced Orange County legal team can help you determine who is at fault for sideswipe auto accidents. Below, we explain some of the factors that can affect responsibility in these types of accidents.

What Exactly Is Fault?

The person or entity legally at fault is the party determined to be negligent and therefore responsible for the damages resulting from the accident. In auto accidents, the party at fault typically must cover car repair expenses and medical bills, if injury occurred.  

The Difference between Side Swipe and T-bone Accidents

There are two types of side-impact auto accidents. In a T-bone accident, the two cars form a “T” shape, with one crashing directly into the left or right side of the other. These usually occur in the middle of intersections. In most cases, the driver that crashed into the side of the other car is clearly at fault in a T-bone accident. However, sideswipe accidents are much more complex. In these situations, one car hits or “swipes” another car at an angle. These types of accidents most often result from unsafe lane changes.

Who Could Be at Fault?

In some cases, the other driver may be 100 percent at fault for your sideswipe accident, making him or her responsible for all damages. However, if both parties are deemed to be negligent, the fault might be split 50/50, 20/80, or some other combination. If you are determined to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, you will be responsible for 20 percent of the damages incurred. In rare cases, it is also possible that an outside entity could be responsible for your sideswipe accident. For example, if another driver swiped your car due to brake failure, the car’s manufacturer could be held accountable for the accident.

Factors that Influence Sideswipe Fault

A driver can exhibit a wide variety of negligent behaviors that could lead him or her to be considered at fault if they occurred during a sideswipe accident. Some are clear violations of traffic laws, such as:

  • Not using a turn signal when appropriate
  • Speeding
  • Crossing a solid line
  • Changing lanes without checking blind spots
  • Failing to yield
  • Weaving between cars
  • Not leaving enough space between cars to enter a lane
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

However, even if the other driver did not do any of the above, he or she may be considered negligent if he or she was driving while distracted by any of the following:

  • Texting, making a call, or even simply looking at a phone
  • Eating
  • Changing radio stations or adjusting air conditioning
  • Exhaustion or fatigue
  • Putting on make-up
  • Watching roadside events
  • Turning to look into the back seat

Proving Fault

Our experienced legal team understands how to gather evidence for auto accident cases. To prove fault, we can use police reports, witness testimony, medical reports, photographs of the vehicles involved, and more.  

Learn More about Sideswipe Auto Accidents

If you or a loved one suffered from a sideswipe accident, please contact the Law Offices of Sean M. Burke. We can help determine fault so you can get the compensation you deserve.

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