How to Tell Who Sideswiped Who

blue car involved in car accident

Sideswipe accidents can be frustrating and stressful for all parties involved. Like other types of vehicle collisions, sideswipe accidents can cause serious damage to the vehicles involved, as well as result in long-term injuries or death to the vehicular passengers.

While sideswiping may not seem as severe as other accidents, such as head-on collisions or T-boning at intersections, sideswipes can be traumatic for the parties involved, damaging to the vehicles, and costly to repair.

What is a sideswipe accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when the sides of two vehicles strike one another. Since a sideswipe involves the sides of the vehicles, these types of accidents typically occur when at least one of the vehicles is moving between lanes – merging lanes, changing lanes, or trying to weave between traffic. Similar to most vehicular accidents, distracted driving, intoxication, falling asleep at the wheel, and reckless driving are some of the most common causes of unsafe lane changes resulting in a sideswipe incident. Sideswipe accidents can happen on any road while traveling at any velocity, so it is important to pay attention to your driving habits and the other drivers on the road. 

Who is at fault in a sideswipe accident?

Sideswipe collisions usually occur as a result of one driver’s negligence while on the road. In order to avoid causing a sideswipe accident, it’s imperative to remain alert while driving and be sure to be aware of your surroundings. When changing lanes, you should always put on your blinker, check your blind spots and rearview mirrors, and ensure it is safe before attempting to leave your current lane. 

Sometimes drivers ignore these steps and abruptly change lanes, causing them to sideswipe any vehicles that may be coming up or are already next to the driver. Other times, both drivers may be at fault in a sideswipe collision. These situations typically occur when two drivers attempt to merge into one lane at the same time.  

It is also important for drivers to make sure to remain an appropriate distance away from other vehicles on the road. Sideswipes often occur when vehicles are too close to one another. Regardless of whether you are the one who negligently changes lanes, maintaining a safe distance may help you avoid a driver who is prone to such careless driving.

How do I know if I am at fault in a sideswipe accident?

There are many factors to consider when determining whether you are at fault in a sideswipe accident. If you were driving cautiously and were paying attention to the road when someone else sideswiped you, then it is likely that the other driver’s negligence will be deemed the cause of a sideswipe accident. 

What to do after a car accident when your car is sideswiped?

It is important to follow the proper steps after getting sideswiped to ensure you are properly compensated, and the incident is appropriately settled. Since sideswipe collisions are no different than other accidents, adhering to the same protocol is essential. Four steps that should be followed after experiencing a car accident include:

Following these steps will allow you to be compensated for any injuries or damage to your vehicle.

How to Prove Fault in a Sideswipe Accident

The party who will be legally at fault for the sideswipe collision is the one who neglected to remain in their lane or participated in reckless driving practice. Given the type of damage that occurs in a sideswipe accident, it can be difficult to prove who is at fault. Usually, both vehicles will suffer from damage to the side where the impact occurred, so it is necessary to look at the incident in its entirety when determining fault in these types of accidents. Some factors that are taken into account when determining fault include the location of the damage, the type of damage, and any statements made by eyewitnesses.

In order to prove fault in a sideswipe accident, consulting with an attorney who is familiar with the sideswipe collision investigation process is essential. Attorneys that specialize in car accident cases will be able to guide you through this complicated process.


Sideswipe Truck Accidents. (2022)

Best Practice Guide – Sideswipes | eDriving. (2022)

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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