You Need a Lawyer After a Phoenix Sideswipe Collision

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: November 16, 2021

Sideswipe collisions are exactly as their name implies – each vehicle in the crash makes contact with the side of the other vehicle. It can happen when the vehicles are traveling in the same or opposite directions.

Such accidents are common on some of Phoenix’s busiest roads, including:

  • I-10
  • I-17
  • North Central Avenue
  • East Camelback Road
  • East or West Bell Road
  • North Black Canyon Highway
  • North 7th Street
  • West Thomas Road

While this type of crash sounds like it may only cause property damage and fewer physical injuries, the reality is often far different. The problem might be what happens after the two cars make contact, as one car might go into a different lane and be in a chain reaction crash.

Regardless, any kind of impact when the drivers are going at higher speeds can cause injury. When you suffer injuries in a sideswipe collision, our lawyers can help you recover financially for your injuries.

Sideswipe Collision Statistics

There are nearly a quarter of a million sideswipe accidents each year. In 2019, there were 913 fatalities across the country from sideswipe crashes. This accounted for 2.7 percent of the total motor vehicle fatalities.

Though other accidents have a higher fatality rate, do not assume that sideswipe accidents are not serious. In fact, they can be quite dangerous, depending on the impact. In terms of the value of your case, it depends on how badly your injuries are.

Drivers are not expecting sideswipe accidents to happen. Often, they simply cannot see into a blind spot, and there is a car where they do not think one will be in their path. There is no preparation possible for the impact, so they often cannot control their car after the crash.

Causes of Sideswipe Accidents in Phoenix

Here are the common causes of sideswipe accidents:

  • Drivers cannot see into their blind spots before they make a lane change.
  • Drivers are distracted when they do something like sending a text because they do not see properly when changing lanes.
  • Aggressive driving may mean that the driver is quickly weaving in and out of lanes.
  • Inexperienced drivers do not know how to change lanes.
  • A driver does not activate their turn signal when changing lanes.
  • One driver moves to avoid another road hazard and goes into an oncoming lane.
  • Tired drivers may get lazy or not have all of their senses, and they can drift out of their lanes.
  • A driver makes a mistake and over or understeers at a curve.

Lanes exist on roads for a reason, and drivers must stay within them. In addition, when changing lanes, drivers must signal and carefully look into their blind spots. Unfortunately, not all drivers do what is safe behind the wheel. You can find yourself injured when you are doing nothing but traveling securely in your lane because of something that another driver did. All it takes is for one driver to lose focus for whatever reason and drift into your lane to cause a major accident, and there is little that you can do to avoid it.

Sideswipe Collisions May Seem Minor, But They Aren’t

Sideswipe accidents are not always minor, no matter what people think. The problem is that it is difficult to maintain control of a vehicle after it comes into contact with another car. The initial impact is often the least of a driver’s concerns. Drivers are often shocked by the initial impact and cannot react quickly enough to avoid further harm.

When they collide with another car, the following can happen:

  • A vehicle can spin out into oncoming traffic and another car can hit it
  • The car can end up off the road
  • A car can hit a retainer wall or concrete barrier

The higher the speed at which the cars are traveling, the greater the likelihood of serious injury. Even low-speed crashes can cause injury, depending on where the impact on the car occurred. When the sideswipe happens between two cars heading in the opposite direction, there is a greater chance of injury.

Injuries in Sideswipe Collisions

Here are some common injuries that people suffer in sideswipe accidents:

Side airbags may deploy, depending on the angle of the sideswipe crash. This can increase the possibility of injury.

What to Do After a Sideswipe Accident

There are two things that you must do after a sideswipe accident:

  • See a doctor to have your injuries treated and diagnosed
  • Contact a lawyer to review your case for whether you can obtain compensation

Whiplash is one injury that may sound benign, but it is anything but harmless. This can result in delayed symptoms, such as a head or neck injury, which can also include traumatic brain injuries and concussions. This is why you get medical attention after the accident if you have not already received a diagnosis right after the crash. Even if you do not think that you were seriously hurt, it always helps to see a doctor. They can give you their opinion about your injuries and the documentation that you will need to include with your claim.

Proving Legal Responsibility for a Sideswipe Accident

Sideswipe accidents are not the easiest ones in which to prove fault. Often, the insurance companies will try to blame both drivers for the accident, finding neither one at fault. After all, both cars struck each other on the side. The burden of proof is on you to show that this is not the case. This is where you need an advocate to tell your side of the story and prove it. The main question in any sideswipe accident case is who hit who. In some cases, both drivers tried to change lanes at the same time. However, most sideswipe accidents are one driver’s fault because they went where they were not supposed to go.

How a Lawyer Helps You After a Sideswipe Crash

We know exactly what to do when you need to show who was responsible for your car accident.

We will do the following to investigate and help establish the cause of your crash:

  • Our lawyers will speak with and interview witnesses who saw the crash
  • We will review the police report of the accident
  • We can analyze the damage on the car to figure out who hit who and where
  • We can work with experts who can recreate the car accident

There are things that you do not have the expertise or physical capacity to do on your own after the accident. At the same time, you may be getting calls from the other driver’s insurance company, pressuring you to give a statement or asking what seem to be harmless questions. All it takes is one offhand comment in an unguarded moment to undercut your claim. If you receive a call from the insurance company, you should not talk to them. Instead, refer them to your lawyer. If you do not have an attorney, it is time to get one.

How an Insurance Company Views a Sideswipe Crash

The insurance company will often use simple rules to help determine liability in a sideswipe crash. For example, you have the right of way if you are firmly in your lane. If someone else veers into your lane while you are there, they will be the one at fault for the crash. Usually, the car that makes contact is the one who is at fault, unless there is proof that the driver who got hit forced the other driver into making contact by something that they did.

One of the major issues that you are contending with when you are filing a claim for a sideswipe accident is the perception that they are minor. The insurance company can hide behind this impression in denying your claim or trying to pay you far less than you deserve. Even though you may have injuries, it is very easy for the insurance company to question your injuries. It does not cost them anything to make your life more difficult.

Any Car Accident Can Cause You Considerable Damages

Even if all you suffered is a sprain in what the insurance company claims is a minor accident, you can still face large medical bills. Anytime that you need any treatment, you can expect medical bills to reach well into the thousands of dollars. There is almost no such thing as an emergency room bill that does not extend into the thousands.

The average ER visit in Arizona nears $2,300, and it is even more expensive in a large city like Phoenix. If your injuries are more serious, you can count on a larger settlement. Medical injuries can also cause you to miss time from work, and the accident itself can result in emotional distress and trauma. This is especially true because sideswipe collisions happen when you least expect them.

What May Happen with Your Sideswipe Accident Claim

When the insurance company views your claim as minor, as they may in a sideswipe crash, several things may happen:

  • The insurance company may deny your claim in its entirety.
  • The insurance company may try to pressure you to settle the claim quickly for less than it is worth, so they can save money and clear the claim off the books.

You can expect either scenario to happen, as they commonly do. Even if you do not think that your accident was serious or your claim is worth a lot of money, there is no downside at all to hiring a lawyer. First, just because the insurance company thinks that your claim is small does not mean that it really is. Second, your lawyer will not allow the insurance company to take any liberties with your legal rights.

Rest assured that the insurance company is not the final authority after your car accident. They are just an intermediary for the defendant, paying for the damages that their policyholder caused. You can always have a lawyer stand up for your legal rights in civil court. However, it often benefits you to settle your case at the claims stage because it lessens your risk and gives you the money you need more quickly. Your lawyer will advise you of the best course of action that works for you.

Let a Car Accident Lawyer Assess Your Rights No Matter What

Arizona law entitles you to full legal compensation based on the percentage of fault in your case. Do not let the insurance company pay you a fraction of what you deserve by overstating your role in the crash. The facts speak for themselves, regardless of how the insurance company tries to interpret them.

If the result of your claim is not satisfactory, you have every legal right to challenge it. An experienced car accident lawyer will have no problem taking on the big insurance companies. It is why we get up and come into the office every day. We know how to play hardball with those who seek to deny you what you legally deserve.

In Arizona, the law allows you to obtain financial compensation when both drivers are equally at fault for the crash. So long as you are anything less than 100 percent to blame for the sideswipe accident, you can always recover something. Your recovery will simply decrease by the amount you were at fault.

Never assume that financial compensation is off the table after your crash. You should always take the opportunity to have a free consultation with a lawyer about your case. Let your lawyer review your case and tell you whether they think you have a viable claim for your damages.

Phoenix Car Accident Lawyers Helping Injured Clients

The right law firm will treat all claims with the same level of diligence and seriousness, no matter their size. For your part, you just need to reach out to a car accident lawyer near you for your free consultation. Reputable car accident attorneys work for you on a contingency basis, meaning that you owe nothing unless they can help you recover financially for your injuries.

Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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