Things You Should Know About Sideswipe Car Accident in Harrisonburg, VA
Sideswipe accidents can occur if a driver makes an improper lane change or gets distracted and drifts into another lane. A sideswipe collision may involve two vehicles traveling in the same direction or vehicles headed in opposite directions.
At the Kendall Law Firm, we take sideswipe accidents seriously. We have seen the impact these types of crashes can have on the lives and finances of accident victims in Virginia. We are committed to helping sideswipe accident victims fight for full and fair compensation for their injuries.
Harrisonburg Attorney David Kendall served as a Judge Advocate General in the U.S. Marine Corps and has more than 25 years of experience aggressively fighting to protect the rights of accident victims. He is a Virginia native. Kendall Law Firm is committed to representing the interests of injured people, not big businesses or insurance companies.
Have you been injured in a sideswipe accident caused by another driver? Are you ready to discuss your legal options and what steps you can take to seek compensation? Contact a Harrisonburg sideswipe accident lawyer at the Kendall Law Firm today for a free case review. Let’s talk about how we can help you move beyond a serious accident and get your life back on track.
Recent Sideswipe Accidents in Virginia
The Virginia Highway Safety Office estimates that 2.3 lives are lost each day on Virginia roadways due to traffic collisions. Those collisions also result in approximately 144 people being injured every day. More than 6,600 drivers involved in traffic accidents in Virginia in a recent year were cited for improper lane changes, according to Virginia Crash Facts. Improper lane changes are one of the most common causes of side-wipe accidents.
While many people regard sideswipe accidents as minor accidents, they can produce serious injuries. The sides of cars, particularly door panels, have less ability to absorb the impact of a collision.
Local news reports have documented numerous fatal sideswipe crashes in recent years. One such crash involved a 65-year-old man who was fatally injured when a Range Rover sideswiped his vehicle in McLean. The collision caused the man’s car to leave the road and come to rest in a ditch.
In a separate incident, a Virginia woman lost her life when she crossed the center line in Nokesville and sideswiped one car before hitting another car. The woman suffered fatal injuries and two people in another vehicle were hospitalized with injuries.
What Is a Sideswipe Collision?
A sideswipe accident occurs when two cars collide along the length of each car. Most often, these collisions happen when the vehicles are traveling in the same direction. However, serious side-wipe accidents can also occur when a vehicle crosses into an oncoming lane. These incidents tend to happen on two-lane roads or highways without medians.
Causes of Sideswipe Collisions
Sideswipe accidents typically occur because of driver error. Some of the most common causes of sideswipe accidents involve:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Intoxicated driving
- Unsafe lane changes
- Attempting to merge without using due caution
- Failing to check blindspot
- Failing to yield
- Aggressive driving
- Inclement weather conditions
Common Injuries as a Result of a Sideswipe Accident
Contrary to popular belief, sideswipe accidents are not always minor collisions. Sideswipe accidents can cause severe injuries. In a sideswipe crash, a driver can easily lose control of a vehicle, sending the vehicle on a collision course with other cars or stationary objects.
Sideswipe accidents can also result in rollovers. Common injuries that can result from sideswipe accidents may include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal injuries
What Is Virginia’s Law as to Unsafe Lane Changes?
All motorists must use due caution when it comes to operating a vehicle. Virginia laws prohibit drivers from making unsafe lane changes. A driver can be cited by law enforcement for the following unsafe driving practices:
- Failure to observe lanes marked for traffic
- Improperly driving in the center
- Changing lanes without ensuring it is safe
- Improperly crossing the solid driver’s lane
- Improperly crossing a double solid line
Violating this section of Virginia law can result in fines up to $100.00. Drivers need to use proper turn signals when attempting to change lanes or merge into traffic.
Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Car Accident?
Generally, the driver who leaves their designated lane may be to blame. However, the answer to who is at fault may not always be clear-cut. In some cases, two drivers in adjacent lanes attempt to switch lanes at the same time and hit each other. It may take a detailed investigation to determine who is at fault for causing a sideswipe accident.
Virginia is a rare state that follows a contributory negligence model for determining compensation in car accident cases. Under contributory negligence, anyone who played a role in causing a crash will be prohibited from recovering compensation. This rule applies to court decisions and strongly influences how insurance adjustors will value a claim.
If another driver is 100 percent at fault in a lane change collision, you may be able to pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, if you contributed to causing the accident in any way, your claim could be in jeopardy. Establishing fault for a Virginia sideswipe accident is critical. An experienced sideswipe accident attorney who knows the types of evidence to seek can offer the best chance of developing a persuasive case for compensation after a sideswipe accident.
What Can I Recover from a Sideswipe Collision Claim?
The amount of compensation you may recover after a sideswipe accident will largely depend on the nature of the crash and the severity of your injuries. Each case has a unique pattern of facts that influence the value of the claim.
Following a sideswipe accident, a victim may seek compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of current wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Property damage
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Many victims only consider their current medical expenses when reviewing a settlement offer. They may be inclined to accept a quick offer from the insurance company to cover their immediate expenses. The insurer is trying to limit its liability. If an injured person accepts the initial offer and then has future medical costs associated with the accident, the insurance company will not be financially responsible for the future costs.
Before you accept any offer, talk to a skilled Harrisonburg sideswipe accident attorney. An attorney at Kendall Law Firm can review your situation and give you a better understanding of the appropriate settlement amount that is reasonable to demand based on your injuries.
What to Do After a Sideswipe Accident
If you are involved in an accident, you should call the authorities, seek medical attention, and collect as much information at the scene as possible.
There are other important steps you need to take in the weeks and months after a crash that can affect your sideswipe accident claim.
After a significant sideswipe accident, consider the following:
- Contact a Harrisonburg attorney. As soon as you are able, get in touch with a skilled sideswipe accident attorney. An attorney can investigate the accident and manage communication between you and the insurer. An attorney will also be able to negotiate on your behalf for the money you deserve.
- Follow all medical advice. Medical documentation of your injuries is vital to building a compelling case. Keep all scheduled follow-up and rehabilitation appointments. Take your medication as prescribed and stick to your doctor’s treatment plan.
- Stay off social media. Do not talk about the accident or your injuries on social media. Typically, it is in your best interest to stay off social media until your case is fully resolved. Unfortunately, your words can potentially be used against you by insurers or opposing attorneys. Stay silent and encourage friends and family to do the same.
- Keep a paper trail. Keep all medical bills, property damage estimates, and receipts for out-of-pocket expenses. If it pertains to the accident, keep a record of it. These documents can help your attorney accurately estimate the value of your claim.
- Create a pain journal. Your mental health and the strength of your claim may be helped by keeping a pain journal. A pain journal is a document that you can use to record your recovery, the level of your pain, and how your injuries are impacting your everyday life.
Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Harrisonburg, VA Today
At the Kendall Law Firm, we strive to deliver positive results to our Virginia clients. We understand the difficulties many accident victims face as they cope with serious injuries. We want to help you recover the maximum compensation possible.
If you’ve been injured in a sideswipe accident that was someone else’s fault, reach out to our Harrisonburg car accident lawyer today. The initial consultation is free. We work on a contingency fee basis. We only get paid when you get paid. Contact us online, and let’s discuss your potential case.