How Do You Determine Fault In A Sideswipe Accident?

By January 27, 2020Car Accident

Sideswipe accidents occur when two vehicles parallel to each other collide. Typically, a failure to yield the right of way is to blame, but there is often a question as to who had the right of way, to begin with. Generally, the vehicle that hits the other is legally liable, though this is not always true. Also, it can be difficult to determine who hit who in a sideswipe.

Sideswipe accidents happen in a variety of situations:

  • A vehicle tries to change lanes when there is not adequate room
  • A vehicle changes lanes when it has been prohibited by law
  • A motorist tries to pass but pulls into the lane too quickly because of oncoming traffic
  • A careless driver drifts into an adjoining lane on the freeway
  • Inclement weather causes a driver to lose control, leading to a sideswipe

At MG Law, our car accident lawyers are skilled at building cases for compensation, and determining fault is essential in a state like Georgia. Under our laws, the driver at fault for the accident pays compensation to those injured in the crash. If you were not at fault, you should not be required to pay compensation or to shoulder the full financial costs of the accident. Below, we highlight what is usually the most helpful evidence we use when establishing fault for a sideswipe accident.

Eyewitness Testimony

Eyewitnesses can establish who had the right of way. For example, if you were hit by someone who aggressively merged into traffic, then you can testify to that fact. Of course, the other driver might claim that he had the right of way, so there can be dueling and conflicting testimony.

This is where third party testimony is helpful. The passengers in your vehicle who saw the accident can offer their perspective, as can other people in other vehicles or bystanders on the sidewalk. Testimony from objective third parties is often very persuasive.

The other driver might also make key admissions that can be used in a lawsuit. For example, he or she could apologize for failing to yield or admit that they drove carelessly. Getting a driver to admit fault like this is rare but sometimes happens. Drivers might also blurt out something at the scene of the accident, so write down carefully what the other driver says to you because it could prove helpful.

Surveillance Video

Some videos might have captured the accident. For example, we can look for the following:

  • Dashcam video from any vehicle nearby that recorded the accident. Video is often quite clear at establishing who is to blame for a sideswipe collision.
  • Surveillance video from nearby establishments, like gas stations or restaurants. Many businesses have video cameras pointed toward the street, so sometimes they capture accidents.
  • Government cameras. Some municipalities use cameras to help them capture criminals or those breaking the law. It might be possible to find this video and use it in your case.

Video is not available in all cases and is not essential to winning a case. But where it exists—and you would be surprised how often a video is available—it can be very helpful.

Physical Evidence At The Scene Of The Crash

Evidence left at the scene can also help establish fault for a sideswipe accident. For example, you might have swerved out of the way in an attempt to avoid getting hit. There might be skid marks on the road or in the grass which we can match to your vehicle. This is some evidence that you tried to get out of the way and therefore are not to blame for the sideswipe collision.

Other physical evidence can include debris knocked off your car, as well as paint that transfers from one car to the other at the point of impact.

Accident Reconstruction Expert

In some situations, we need to lean on the talents of a reconstruction expert to help analyze all the evidence and recreate how the accident unfolded. A reconstruction expert can also create a 3-D or computer model that helps bring the accident alive for a jury.

Contact A Conyers Sideswipe Accident Lawyer Today

Sideswipe accidents cause considerable damage to vehicles, which must be fixed. Motorists can also suffer serious injuries, including concussions, fractures, and back injuries that require tens of thousands of dollars in medical care.

At MG Law, we fight to get our clients the maximum compensation they are entitled to under the law. Reach out to us today to schedule your free consultation with a member of our team.

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