Who Is Liable in a Sideswipe Accident?

March 20, 2023

Understanding liability after an accident occurs is crucial, particularly for those who need to recover compensation for their injuries or property damage expenses. However, figuring out liability after a sideswipe accident can be challenging due to the nature of the incident. There are various ways that these accidents occur, and a thorough investigation needs to be conducted into each incident in order to figure out who should be responsible for paying compensation.

What are Sideswipe Accidents?

Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles traveling next to each other and going in the same direction make contact. Typically, the damage from these types of incidents occurs along the sides of the vehicles involved.

Sideswipe accidents in West Virginia are more likely to occur in situations where two lanes merge into one, such as a highway on-ramp. However, these incidents can also occur on other types of roadways. Some of the most common causes of sideswipe accidents include:

  • Drivers who are not paying attention to the roadway or those who fail to use proper turn signals to indicate their direction.
  • Drivers distracted by using mobile devices, talking on the phone, or talking to passengers.
  • Drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.
  • Objects or animals on the roadway or some other type of roadway obstruction that causes drivers to abruptly swerve.
  • Malfunctioning vehicles that cause a driver to lose control.
  • Vehicles operating in the blind spot of another vehicle. This is more likely to occur with larger vehicles, such as commercial trucks or buses.

How Liability is Determined

Determining liability for a sideswipe accident in West Virginia can be challenging, but it’s certainly not impossible. Any driver who failed to keep their vehicle in a single lane of travel will be at fault for the incident. If the driver swerved into another lane for any reason and caused a collision, they will be the one to be at fault for the incident.

In situations where two lanes merge into one singular lane, there will always be one driver who has to yield the right of way to another. The driver who fails to yield the right of way will be at fault for the sideswipe incident.

However, as easy as it sounds written down, actually determining liability will be more challenging. There will need to be an investigation into the incident, and law enforcement officials need to come to the scene of all sideswipe accidents. The police report will likely indicate which driver caused the incident, but other evidence, such as photos taken at the scene of the incident, video surveillance footage, and statements from eyewitnesses, can help determine liability.

Will Working With an Attorney Help?

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a sideswipe accident caused by the negligence of another driver, we do encourage you to reach out to an attorney for help. An experienced auto accident attorney in Martinsburg can use their resources to investigate the case, and they will handle all communication with the insurance carriers. A lawyer will work diligently to help recover the compensation you need for injuries or property damage expenses.


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