The majority of accidents that make the news are head-on collisions or rear-end collisions. People often don’t think about side-swipe accidents, even though they are just as common and just and dangerous – potentially even more so – than other types of crashes. Side-swipe accidents, even at slow speeds, can cause vehicles to crash into other vehicles or permanent structures, and the force may be enough to cause a rollover.
What is a side-swipe accident?
A side-swipe accident (sometimes called a “clipping” accident) occurs when two vehicles strike each other on the sides of the vehicles. The vehicles can be traveling in opposite directions, the same direction or one of the vehicles could be stopped. A side-swipe accident doesn’t have to include a serious impact. One vehicle could slightly graze another at a slow rate of speed, therefore causing a side-swipe accident.
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) provides the following data regarding side-swipe collisions:
- 242,000 sideswipe accidents occur every year.
- More than 2,500 people die every year in side-swipe crashes.
- An estimated 27,000 injuries are caused by side-swipe accidents annually.
- Side-swipe accidents account for 2.7 percent of fatal crashes of all accident types.
Common causes of side-swipe accidents
A side-swipe accident can occur anywhere vehicles are driven or parked, but they most often occur in intersections and on highways. The most common causes of this type of Chattanooga car accident include the following:
- Impaired driving: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol causes drivers to have slower reaction times. It also causes drivers to veer out of their lanes and to swerve for no reason.
- Distracted driving: The majority of accidents these days are caused by distracted driving. Whether drivers are using mobile phones, changing radio stations, talking to a passenger, reading a billboard, applying makeup, eating, shaving, or doing anything else unrelated to the task of driving; distractions are everywhere when behind the wheel.
- Aggressive driving: Aggressive driving actions include speeding, tailgating, frequent lane changes, cutting off vehicles, changing lanes illegally, running drivers off the road, and other dangerous actions.
- Fatigued driving: Fatigued driving has often been compared to impaired driving by the National Safety Council (NSC). Fatigued or drowsy driving often causes drivers to veer into oncoming traffic, into the lane next to them, or off the road altogether.
- Road defects/ road design: Broken or inadequate signage and lighting can lead to a sideswipe accident. Drivers may also be at risk if they are not given enough space to turn into parking lots, or to exit lots.
Common injuries caused by clipping accidents
The injuries suffered in a side-swipe crash will depend on the types of vehicles involved, their size, and the speed of both vehicles. For example, you are likely to suffer more serious injuries if you were in a two-door car that was side-swiped by a tractor-trailer that was traveling at highway speeds.
Common injuries caused by side-swipe accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI): A TBI caused by a car accident can lead to serious physical and psychological injuries. TBI injuries also cause significant financial harm to an individual or a family.
- Internal injuries: Victims of side-swipe crashes can suffer internal bleeding, broken ribs, brain bleeds, and damage to the organs.
- Bruising and contusions: Victims of these accidents often suffer bone contusions, bruising, and other types of contusions that can be very painful.
- Crushed or amputated limbs: A victim of a side-swipe accident might also suffer a crushed or amputated limb if the victim becomes pinned in the vehicle.
- Spinal cord injuries: The nerves in the spinal cord help with the movement of the body. If you suffer a spinal cord injury in an accident you could suffer from partial or complete paralysis.
- Whiplash: You don’t have to be hit from behind in a motor vehicle accident to suffer whiplash. If the neck is forcefully moved back and forth, you can suffer from whiplash.
- Orthopedic injuries: Broken bones are the most common type of injury suffered in a side-swipe accident. They can take months to heal, and you might require years of physical therapy before you are back to normal physical activity.
- Burns: A burn can lead to an infection if not treated immediately. A burn injury can also lead to permanent scarring.
Who can be held liable for a side-swipe accident?
There are multiple parties who can be held liable for a side-swipe accident, including the drivers, vehicle manufacturers (if a defective auto part if the cause), and even government agencies.
What damages can I recover in a side-swipe accident?
In able to obtain full compensation for the injuries suffered in a side-swipe crash, you will need to show the impact the crash has had on your life and how much you have lost in terms of money spent on medical bills and lost wages from not being able to work. You can sue for compensation for:
- Medical expenses, including ambulatory services, surgeries, medications, medical equipment, hospital stays, doctor appointments, tests, long-term care, and more
- Non-medical expenses, such as those for childcare, transportation, daily living, and more.
- Pain and suffering, including physical pain, emotional stress, reduced quality of life, damaged relationships, and loss of consortium.
- Lost wages, including loss of earning potential.
- Punitive damages, under certain circumstances. If the accident was deemed intentional, the court could punish the driver who caused it by assigning them punitive damages paid to you. These are very rare.
Have you been injured in a side-swipe collision in Chattanooga? Are you unsure about your rights since the accident was not head-on or rear-end? You can still seek compensation from the other driver involved in the accident. The compassionate team of car accident attorneys at Wagner & Wagner represent clients injured in side-swipe crashes and all other types of car accidents. Call us today at 423-756-7923, or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation. We serve Chattanooga, Cleveland, and the surrounding areas, including North Georgia.
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