Sideswipe accident – what is it and who is at fault? Gainesville and Ocala personal injury lawyer (accident attorney), Jeffrey Meldon, answers these questions and gives common causes and possible ways to avoid being sideswiped or involved in a lane departure crash.
What is a Sideswipe Crash?
A sideswipe accident occurs when a car changes lanes or drifts into an adjacent vehicle that is traveling in the same direction; traveling the opposite way; or may even be parked on the side of the road. A sideswipe may also be described as a “lane departure” accident-when one car leaves their lane, hitting another nearby car. A car may intentionally change lanes, not seeing the other vehicle, or may accidentally drift into a nearby car when distracted, drowsy, drunk, or generally inattentive.
Who is at fault?
In a sideswipe accident, fault may be extremely clear or very difficult to determine.
A victim of a sideswipe may not have done anything wrong-an unattended car may be parked legally on the side of the road in a designated parking space. Remember, if you sideswipe an unattended parked car, it’s important to try and locate the owner or leave a visible note with the driver’s name, address, and vehicle registration number. If you don’t, you may be cited for “hit and run.” See., Florida Statutes §316.063(2010).
More than often, fault is difficult to pinpoint in a sideswipe crash, especially if both vehicles are traveling the same direction. Fault may involve careful analysis of who departed from which lane, based on eye-witness accounts, the police report, and expert crash investigation.
Common Causes of a Sideswipe crash:
Some causes of a sideswipe or “lane departure” accident may be:
- 1. Driver inattention, such as texting, eating, or talking on a cell;
- 2. Failing to check the “blind spot” before intentionally changing lanes;
- 3. Driver incapacitation, such as drowsiness or intoxication;
- 4. Excessive speed and/or loss of directional control on a wet or icy roadway;
- 5. Traveling too close and too quickly to adjacent parked cars;
- 6. Evasive maneuvering, like swerving to avoid debris.
Possible ways to avoid a Sideswipe accident:
Sideswipe accidents may be caused by a variety of factors. I recommend the following to avoid falling victim to and causing a sideswipe.
- 1. Stay far right from large trucks traveling in the opposite direction to avoid wind drafts.
- 2. Travel at a safe speed, check your blind spot, and use the turn signal before changing lanes.
- 3. Park in a protected, designated lot, away from the roadway to avoid high traffic areas.
- 4. Eliminate distractions, like texting, loud music, eating, and talking on the cell phone.
- 5. Avoid driving while tired, “drugged,” or under the influence of alcohol.
- 6. Purchase a car with a Collision Avoidance System or Lane departure warning system.
We at Meldon Law strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of an accident or in the recovery from one.
We are experienced personal injury attorneys, trial lawyers, negotiators, litigators, paralegals, and staff that have been proudly working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years in Gainesville, Ocala, Lake City, Inverness, and the rest of North Central Florida and North Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, and motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents, dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.
Based on Jeffrey Meldon’s, founder of Meldon Law, over 40 years of helping accident victims get justice and a fair shake from the insurance companies, he has written the consumer guide book, Seven Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Florida Accident Case. You can request your free, no obligation copy right now, or contact our office for your complimentary copy sent to you today.
Contact Meldon Law at (800) 373-8000 or (352) 373-8000 immediately if you have been involved in a serious auto, truck, or motorcycle accident. We are in your community, have the experience and resources required to work towards obtaining a fair settlement for you – we are here to help you.