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Florida Sideswipe Accidents

The term “sideswipe accident” brings to mind a minor driving mishap and the inconvenience of a scratched paint job, but when sideswipe accidents in Florida or elsewhere occur at high speed on the roadway, the results may be serious or even catastrophic. Sideswipes may begin with a minor collision point between two vehicles rather than the full-impact crash of a T-bone accident, rear-end collision, or head-on collision, but the glancing blow of a sideswipe accident commonly causes one or both drivers to lose control of their vehicle, sometimes resulting in devastating accidents and sometimes in multi-vehicle crashes.

aerial view of Florida coast and highway with the caption: "the justice we pursue is yours"

What Is a Sideswipe Accident?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes sideswipe accidents as an accident occurring when a striking vehicle “closes in on an adjacent vehicle” while executing a lane change. When one vehicle’s side or a corner of the vehicle hits the side of another vehicle while both cars are moving in the same direction it’s a sideswipe accident. Dangers from sideswipes are twofold, causing loss of vehicle control and sometimes injuring occupants in one or both vehicles due to the thinner vehicle components on the side of the car compared to the “buffers” of the front and back portions of the vehicle.

What Causes Sideswipe Accidents in Florida?

Driver error or recklessness is the most common cause of sideswipe accidents in Florida and elsewhere. This type of accident commonly results from the following:

  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Improper merging
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Improper passing
  • Distracted driving
  • Drunk driving
  • Swerving to avoid a collision
  • Dangerous weaving and aggressive driving

Florida is one of only a handful of no-fault insurance states in the U.S. This type of system requires accident victims to file claims against their own insurance policies regardless of who causes an accident; however, there are some exceptions that allow an injury victim to file claims against an at-fault driver. Catastrophic injuries that result in disability, limb loss, or permanent scarring or disfigurement allow victims to file claims or lawsuits against a liable party in a Florida sideswipe accident.

Common Injuries in Florida Sideswipe Accidents

Because there are many accident scenarios associated with sideswipe accidents, many types of injuries result including the following:

  • Head injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fractures
  • Shoulder injuries
  • Knee injuries
  • Soft-tissue injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ damage
  • Facial injuries
  • Cuts, bruises, and abrasions

Injuries from sideswipe accidents can quickly cause financial hardship due to medical bills and lost work days. In some cases, sideswipe accidents in Florida result in catastrophic injury or death.

Liability in Florida Sideswipe Accidents

In most cases, an at-fault driver who made an unsafe lane change or merged unsafely into traffic is liable for an accident with catastrophic injuries. According to Florida Statute 316.089:

“A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from such lane until the driver has first ascertained that such movement can be made with safety.”

This statute presumes that liability lies with the driver who failed to stay in their lane or move safely into the other lane and caused a sideswipe accident with another vehicle.

Should I Hire a Florida Car Accident Attorney After a Sideswipe Accident?

Florida’s no-fault insurance laws are meant to simplify the process but they often make obtaining compensation complex, especially for catastrophic damages that exceed the limits of the injury victim’s insurance coverage. After a sideswipe accident, an experienced Florida car accident attorney can guide you through your options and the best strategy for obtaining compensation. Contact the Bradenton car accident attorneys and Sarasota car accident attorneys at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann to handle your sideswipe case. We offer free consultations. Reach out online or call (941) 954-4000 today