The driver who failed to maintain their lane or otherwise violated traffic laws or driving best practices is generally the party legally at fault in a sideswipe crash. In the case of a sideswipe, this is often the driver who did not look before merging or moving into another lane.
When identifying who is responsible in a sideswipe accident, you must determine which driver acted negligently. Negligence forms the basis of all personal injury accidents, insurance claims, and civil litigation related to traffic accidents. This is possible through investigating and gathering evidence related to your case.
An Investigation Will Identify the Liable Party
To hold the at-fault motorist responsible for their actions and recover compensation, you will need to prove they were negligent. That is, you will need to show they were careless or reckless and that this behavior caused the crash. There are four things you will need to prove to show negligence:
- The other driver had a responsibility to maintain their lane and move over only when the next lane was clear.
- The driver failed to uphold their responsibility to drive safely and follow all traffic laws.
- Their actions caused them to sideswipe you.
- You suffered injuries, financial harm, and other damages.
When you document these four things, you can show that the other driver’s actions led directly to the crash, increasing your chances of holding them responsible. You may be able to use the evidence you gathered to support your insurance claim or litigation against them in civil court.
How do These Investigations Work?
While the police will conduct a cursory investigation into your accident and compile a report, as well as issue any necessary citations, the bulk of the evidence to support your case will come from your attorney. If you choose not to work with a law firm, you may need to handle many of these tasks on your own.
The steps required to investigate a sideswipe traffic accident include:
- Obtaining the accident report, your relevant medical records, and other documents
- Surveying the accident scene
- Searching for any video or photographs of the crash
- Canvassing for witnesses
- Interviewing witnesses
- Working with accident reconstruction teams
- Enlisting experts’ help
- Analyzing physical evidence
- Documenting and valuing the damages you suffered
An attorney at our firm will handle this process using our own resources and network. Without access to these, you may need to take other steps to gather the same evidence or secure help with your case from experts.
For a free legal consultation, call (800) 537-8185
How Can I Recover Compensation for My Injuries?
Once you have evidence to show who is at fault for your sideswipe collision and injuries, you have two options for seeking compensation in most states:
- An insurance claim based on their auto liability coverage
- A personal injury lawsuit in civil court
Most of these cases never go to trial. They settle based on negotiations with the insurance company, with the at-fault motorist’s insurer agreeing to a fair payout based on the evidence the victim and their lawyer presented.
Do I Have to Sue the At-Fault Driver Who Caused My Sideswipe Accident?
Sideswipe accident victims do not always have to file a civil lawsuit against the driver who hit them. Most never reach this step. Even for those who do, it may be possible to reach an agreement before the case goes to trial. Most car accident victims never need to go before a judge and jury to recover compensation.
That said, sometimes litigation is necessary or beneficial to a case. If your attorney believes you may need to sue the other driver, they will discuss why and explain your options to you. There are time limits for filing a lawsuit. There are exceptions, so you could have more or less time than it seems like the law allows. In general, you have:
- One year to begin a lawsuit in Louisiana (La. Civ. Code Art. 3492)
- Two years to file the initial paperwork in Alabama (Ala. Code § 6-2-38)
- Three years to get started in Arkansas (Ark. Code Ann. § 16-56-105)
- Three years in Mississippi to sue the at-fault driver (Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49)
If you miss the applicable deadline in your case, the court could bar you from suing to recover compensation. If this occurs, the insurer will know you have no leverage to negotiate and may not offer a just payout, either.
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Speak with a Team Member About Your Sideswipe Collision for Free Today
You can meet with someone from the Morris Bart law office near you today for free. Our team is ready to answer your questions and explain your legal options. We have 15 locations to serve all residents in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
You can get started with a complimentary consultation today by calling (800) 537-8185. We are a contingency fee firm with no upfront fees for collision victims.
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