In Las Vegas and across the country, sideswipe collisions constitute some of the most common types of accidents plaguing drivers. Sideswipe collisions can prove severe and may leave victims with debilitating injuries. Understanding the facts about sideswipe crashes and the typical causes of sideswipes may help you better avoid this type of accident in the future.
All drivers must take the time to ensure that they have space before entering a new lane to prevent potential harm to others. When drivers don’t exercise enough caution on the road and cause a sideswipe collision, they may bear liability for any injuries and other damages that result. The potential impact of these kinds of accidents provides a good reminder to always remain aware of your surroundings when driving.
About Sideswipe Collisions
A sideswipe collision is a type of crash that involves the side of one vehicle impacting the side of another vehicle. This type of accident generally occurs between two vehicles traveling in the same direction and usually involves the right side of one vehicle colliding with the left side of another driver’s car.
However, a sideswipe collision can happen between two vehicles traveling in opposite directions as well.
The Dangers of Sideswipe Collisions
It’s a common misconception that all sideswipe collisions are minor accidents that don’t lead to serious injuries or significant property damage. While it’s true that some sideswipe collisions only result in minor injuries, perhaps only leading to cosmetic damage, this isn’t the case for all sideswipes.
Like other types of accidents, sideswipe collisions have the potential to prove incredibly dangerous and potentially deadly. When sideswipe crashes happen in certain circumstances, like at higher speeds on the freeway, the outcome is often devastating. All drivers should remain aware of the potential risks of this type of accident and never underestimate the damage that such an accident can cause.
Sideswipe Accidents Occur Frequently
Sideswipe collisions constitute one of the more common types of accidents involving two moving vehicles. According to a National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) report, 9 percent of all police-reported vehicle crashes for the survey year resulted from lane-change collisions. As many sideswipe crashes occur during a lane-changing event, it’s not hard to connect the information to determine that sideswipe accidents happen frequently.
Additionally, the Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that sideswipe collisions make up 2.7 percent of fatal crashes involving a moving vehicle. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimates that around 23 percent of passenger vehicle occupant deaths result from side-impact accidents, like broadside and sideswipe collisions.
Sideswipe Accidents Are on the Rise in Las Vegas
According to the United States Migration Report from Updater analyzing nearly 300,000 moves across the United States for the survey year, Las Vegas ranked as one of the most moved-to states in the country. As the city continues to grow, so does congestion on the roadways and the risk for accidents, including sideswipe accidents. Additionally, the frequent road construction that Las Vegas is known for is also a contributing factor in why sideswipe accidents occur so frequently in the city.
The Nevada Department of Public Safety estimates that Clark County has seen an increase of nearly 24 percent in traffic fatalities. According to crash data from the Nevada Department of Transportation, a common place for accidents in Las Vegas was on Interstate 15, especially near Downtown Las Vegas in an area known as the Spaghetti Bowl due to chaotic traffic. Accidents, including sideswipe collisions, are also common on the other two major highways in the city, U.S. Route 95 and Interstate 215.
What Causes Sideswipe Collisions?
The NHTSA estimates that driver error causes approximately 94 percent of all accidents. Sideswipe collisions are no different, and many result from driver inattention.
Some of the most common causes of sideswipe collisions include:
- Unsafe lane changes: Sideswipe accidents can happen when drivers do not take the time to check blind spots or signal their intent to change lanes before making a lane change.
- Inattentive or distracted driving: Certain behaviors, such as texting while driving, putting on makeup in the car, changing the radio station, and even eating can lead to sideswipe accidents.
- Driver fatigue: When drivers don’t receive adequate rest before taking to the road, especially for truck drivers, these accidents are common.
- Driving under the influence: When drivers under the influence of alcohol and drugs cannot focus on the road, and substances reduce reaction times, sideswipe collisions happen.
- Aggressive or impatient driving: Some drivers make unsafe moves on the road when frustrated with other drivers or trying to arrive at their destination quicker, causing less care on the road, leading to the possibility of sideswipes.
- Not merging in time: Some roads don’t leave enough time for drivers to merge safely, and some drivers prefer to wait until the last minute to merge with traffic, which can cause a sideswipe impact.
- Two drivers entering a lane simultaneously: When two drivers decide to enter a single lane of travel at the same time without noticing the other driver doing the same, they may have a sideswipe accident.
- Trying to avoid an object in the road: A driver may swerve into another lane of travel if they notice debris, a pedestrian, an animal, or another object in the lane of travel.
- Excessive speed: If drivers go too fast for the road and the conditions, they may lose control of their vehicles and enter another driver’s lane of travel.
- Attempting to overcorrect: Sometimes, when a driver starts to drift into another lane of travel, the driver may try to correct the problem by pulling the wheel to the other direction too quickly, causing a sideswipe collision.
- Failure to yield: If a driver does not correctly observe the right-of-way on any given road, the driver may not see that the lane is already occupied, leading to a sideswipe accident.
Most Sideswipe Collisions Are Preventable
Considering many sideswipe accidents result from driver error or inattention, driving safely can prevent many instances of this type of crash.
Common ways to avoid a sideswipe accident include:
- Always check your rearview and side mirrors before changing lanes.
- Be aware of the specific blind spots on your vehicle, and check them before changing lanes.
- Watch for semi-trucks that may have decreased visibility and struggle to see your vehicle.
- Merge early and only do so when the lane appears clear and safe.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Ensure that you have enough rest before driving, and take breaks if you feel yourself getting tired on a long drive.
- Focus on the road and never do other activities while driving.
- Be aware of the drivers around you on the road.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you to ensure you are not forced to quickly change lanes if the other driver brakes hard.
- Have a plan for what you will do if a driver suddenly enters your lane of travel.
- Try to make sure other drivers remain aware of where you are at all times.
Although you can’t always avoid sideswipes and other accidents, you can protect yourself by practicing defensive driving techniques and staying alert while driving. Taking adequate precautions will help reduce your chances of sustaining injuries in a sideswipe collision.
Who Bears Liability for a Sideswipe Collision?
Generally, the vehicle that leaves a lane of travel will face responsibility for ensuring that it’s safe to do first, and thus will bear liability if it causes a sideswipe accident. However, determining fault may prove more complicated in sideswipe accidents.
The drivers changing lanes or merging will bear liability if an accident results in the following scenarios:
- When they don’t check the other lane before leaving their lane of travel.
- When they don’t check their blind spots.
- If they are speeding, driving under the influence, or engaging in any other dangerous driving behaviors, like texting while driving.
- When they don’t use their turn signal to alert other drivers of their next move.
- Any other situation where the driver didn’t ensure it was safe to switch lanes.
- Merging onto the road too fast or too slow.
- Failing to check for other merging vehicles.
There are also situations where the driver of the vehicle that isn’t changing lanes or merging may bear liability for a sideswipe collision, including:
- If the driver is driving under the influence, speeding, or driving distracted.
- If the driver speeds up as the other vehicle attempts to complete an otherwise safe lane change.
- Refusing to allow a driver in another lane to enter the lane of travel.
- Not adjusting the speed of the vehicle to accommodate for merging traffic.
- Following the driver in front too closely to allow enough room for another driver to merge safely.
While both drivers can bear liability in a sideswipe accident, generally, the person entering traffic or another lane of travel will be considered at fault.
You May Qualify To Recover Compensation After a Sideswipe Accident
Depending on the facts of your case, you may qualify to file a claim for compensation against the other driver. For example, if the other driver acted negligently or failed to exercise adequate care while driving, causing the sideswipe accident, you will likely qualify to pursue a claim.
Victims of Las Vegas sideswipe accidents can recover compensation for a wide range of damages after a crash. Damages available include:
Economic damages, which involves financial compensation for all of your tangible, verifiable losses due to the injury, including:
- Past, present, and future medical costs related to the accident, such as those for surgery, medical devices, specialist visits, and mobility aids.
- Lost wages if you have to miss work because of your injuries, as well as future lost wages and lost earning potential if you have to change careers
- Assistive services, such as an in-home nursing aide, house cleaning services, and child care services
- Property damage, including damage to your vehicle or other personal items that you may have had in your car during the sideswipe crash.
Non-economic damages, which constitute financial compensation for the more subjective ways you may endure suffering because of the accident, include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress or anguish;
- Loss of consortium;
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression;
- Loss of enjoyment; and
- Physical disfigurement or scarring.
Do I Need a Lawyer for My Sideswipe Accident Case?
While the law doesn’t require you to retain an accident lawyer in a car accident case, it is typically best to employ an attorney. A lawyer can help you in several different ways. The primary benefit of working with a lawyer on your sideswipe case is that he or she can help you determine the most accurate and adequate case value, depending on the facts of your case. Including a complete case valuation in your demand offer will prove crucial to ensure that you recover the compensation you need to cover all of your losses.
Another benefit of working with a lawyer is that he or she can manage your case while you focus on recovering physically from your injuries. Additionally, a car accident attorney will be well-versed in the common tactics used by insurance companies to reduce liability, and can help you avoid the common pitfalls of negotiating with insurers. Lastly, your car accident lawyer can help ensure that you meet the statute of limitations or time limit to file a claim, so you don’t miss your opportunity to file a compensation claim. So, while it’s true that you don’t legally have to retain a lawyer, there are several benefits of doing so that may help you reach a favorable outcome.
Contact an Experienced Las Vegas Lawyer Today
If you suffered injuries in a sideswipe collision in Las Vegas, you should reach out to an experienced attorney today. An attorney can work with you to determine the best legal option for recovery available to you under Nevada Law. You can get answers to your questions, and a lawyer can explain how to build a plan to prove that the other driver bears liability for your injuries and other losses.
Contact an experienced Las Vegas sideswipe collision lawyer online today to request a free case review.