The Legal Rights of Victims In Sideswipe Collisions: Can I Seek Compensation For My Injuries?

If you have been in a sideswipe collision, you may have questions about what to do next. Read our blog below about sideswipe collisions and how we can help.

What is a Sideswipe Collision?

A sideswipe collision occurs when the sides of two vehicles come into contact while they are moving, potentially causing damage to both vehicles and injuries to their occupants. These types of accidents are common on highways with multiple lanes going in the same direction and can be caused by driver error or negligence, such as not paying attention to the road, being distracted by something in the vehicle, or failing to use a turn signal. Victims of sideswipe accidents may suffer serious injuries that require medical treatment and care. If the accident was caused by another driver’s negligence, the victim may have legal rights to seek compensation for their injuries and damages.

Common Causes of Sideswipe Collisions

Sideswipe collisions are often caused by driver error or negligence. These types of accidents can be the result of various forms of negligence, such as violating traffic laws, driving while intoxicated or impaired, and distracted driving. Drivers who engage in these risky behaviours put themselves and others on the road at risk of being involved in a sideswipe collision.

1.) Disregarding Traffic Laws/Regulations

Traffic laws and regulations are in place to promote safety on the roads. However, when drivers disregard these laws and engage in risky behaviors, they put themselves and others at risk of being involved in a sideswipe collision. Some common traffic law violations that can lead to sideswipe accidents include aggressively weaving in and out of traffic, failing to use a turn signal, and speeding. For example, a driver who abruptly weaves in and out of traffic may accidentally collide with the side of another vehicle while trying to change lanes.

2.)  Intoxication – DUI/DWI

Intoxicated driving is a common cause of sideswipe collisions. In most jurisdictions, a driver who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered intoxicated under the law. This means that a police officer can arrest the driver for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), depending on the specific laws in the region. In addition, a police officer may be able to arrest a driver for impaired driving based on their behaviour and mannerisms, such as having bloodshot eyes or slurred speech.

For those who haven’t gotten the message yet, please do not drink and drive. Drinking alcohol can significantly impair a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Alcohol can distort a driver’s vision, impair judgment, and delay reaction time. This can lead to a driver not being able to stop their vehicle in time to avoid a collision with another vehicle or pedestrian or even failing to see a vehicle in an adjacent lane and drifting over, causing a sideswipe collision. It is important to never drink and drive, as the risks to yourself and others on the road are too high.

An intoxicated driver who causes an accident due to their negligence can potentially face criminal penalties for DUI or DWI and civil liability for any injuries or damages resulting from the accident.

3.) Distracted Driving

Lastly (for the purposes of this blog), distracted driving has, unsurprisingly, become a leading cause of sideswipe collisions. In the age of cellphones, easily accessible internet and visual advertising pollution, distracted driving is a leading cause of sideswipe collisions.

Distracted driving occurs when a driver’s attention is diverted from the road by something in or out of their vehicle, such as using a cell phone, disciplining children in the back seat, reaching for something in another part of the car, listening to loud music, or rubbernecking a nearby accident or arrest. These distractions can take a driver’s focus away from the road and cause them to veer into another lane, potentially leading to a sideswipe collision and resulting in serious property damage and personal injuries. It is essential for drivers to avoid distractions while driving and stay focused on the road to prevent accidents.

Common Injuries Resulting from Sideswipe Collisions

The type and severity of the injuries an accident victim can suffer in a sideswipe collision will depend on various factors, including the force of the impact and how the accident occurred.

Common injuries in these types of accidents include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries,
  • Soft tissue contusions,
  • Spinal cord injuries,
  • Broken bones, and
  • Psychological traumas.

It is important to seek medical treatment after a sideswipe collision to determine the severity of your injuries and receive appropriate care. Failing to do so can raise suspicion about the seriousness of your injuries and potentially impact your ability to file a car accident claim or lawsuit.

It is advisable to have a knowledgeable injury lawyer on your side to assist with the claims process and negotiate a fair settlement offer while you focus on recovering from your injuries.

The Burden of Proof in a Car Accident Claim

Short answer: the victim.

In a car accident claim, the victim has the legal burden of proving that the other driver was at fault, that they suffered injuries in the collision, and that those injuries were directly caused by the accident. If the victim can demonstrate these elements, they may be able to pursue monetary compensation for their injuries.

In some cases, the claim may be resolved through settlement negotiations, but it may take multiple rounds of negotiation with the at-fault driver’s insurance company to reach a favourable resolution. If the insurance company is unreasonable and refuses to offer full and fair compensation, the victim’s lawyer may need to file a lawsuit. Even during litigation, the parties may still be able to resolve the case through settlement. If not, the case may go to trial or an alternative dispute resolution proceeding, such as arbitration or mediation. A car accident lawyer can advise the victim on the best course of action to take to recover monetary compensation.

How Much is a Sideswipe Collision Case Worth?

Short answer: it depends.

Monetary compensation in a sideswipe collision case refers to the financial damages that a victim may be able to recover for their injuries and other losses; this can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, and other out-of-pocket costs. It may also include noneconomic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and emotional distress.

The amount of monetary compensation that a victim of a sideswipe collision may be able to receive will depend on 1.) the severity of their injuries and 2.) the extent of their medical treatment.

In cases where the at-fault driver’s behaviour was particularly reckless, the victim may also be able to recover punitive damages. These damages are meant to punish the driver and deter similar behaviour in the future.


In summary, if you were injured in a sideswipe car accident that was not your fault, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages. This can include compensation for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages. If the other driver acted in a particularly reckless or negligent manner, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. To learn more about your legal rights and options after a sideswipe car accident, it is a good idea to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer who can assess your case and advise you on the best course of action to take.

James H. Brown and Associates is Here For You

Have you been injured in a sideswipe collision and are unsure what to do next? Contact James H. Brown and Associates. Our team of precedent-setting injury lawyers has over 250 years of combined injury law experience. We understand this area of law, and can ensure you get the settlement you deserve.

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