Car accidents can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. And trying to establish who is at fault for a crash often makes things even more difficult. This is especially true when it comes to side swipe accident cases.

If you were in a side swipe accident, an Orange County car accident lawyer at Russell & Lazarus APC can help. Below, we explain what factors affect side swipe collision fault, and how an attorney can help ensure you receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our firm today to learn more.

What Is the Difference Between Side Swipe Accidents and T-Bone Crashes?

Side swipe car accidents often occur when two vehicles are traveling in the same direction on a roadway, and one vehicle’s right side hits the left side of the other motor vehicle. In many cases, this occurs when one of the vehicles attempts to make a lane change.

A side swipe accident differs from a T-bone crash in that it is not a direct hit to the middle of the vehicle. In a side swipe crash, the impact occurs at an angle. In general, T-bone accidents happen at intersections, and they result in one vehicle’s front end striking another directly in the middle. When the two vehicles impact, they look like a “T.”

In most T-bone accidents, the driver of the vehicle that strikes the other vehicle is considered the at-fault party. Establishing side swipe collision fault, however is much more complex.

What Factors Influence Side Swipe Collision Fault?

A driver could be at fault for the accident if they engaged in the following types of behaviors:

  • Moving into another lane of travel without checking blind spots
  • Weaving between two lanes of travel
  • Failing to use a turn signal, as required
  • Speeding
  • Racing
  • Aggressive driving
  • Driving over a solid line
  • Failing to yield
  • Driving while using drugs or alcohol
  • Failing to leave enough room between vehicles

If a driver did not violate any of the traffic laws, they may still be at fault if the person was engaged in distracted driving. Distracted driving is when a motorist does something other than drive and pay attention to the road. Examples of distracted driving include:

  • Texting, making a call, or reading news on a smartphone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Changing radio stations, using a GPS device, or adjusting the air conditioning
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Putting on make-up
  • Watching an accident or something else happening on the road
  • Talking to a passenger

Sometimes, a vehicle defect, such as brake failure, can lead to a side swipe accident as well. If a car’s brakes failed while a driver attempted to change lanes, fault could fall on the vehicle manufacturer. Manufacturers or repair shops also could be at fault if the accident occurred due to faulty suspensions or if one of the vehicle’s tires blew out due to its treads separating.

Understanding Side Swipe Collision Fault With Examples

Determining fault in a car accident is crucial because the person responsible is the one who is responsible for paying for damages. In some cases, one driver is 100% at fault. In other cases, fault may be split 50/50 between the two parties.

Let’s say one person is responsible for 75%, and the other responsible for 25%. The driver who is 75% at fault would be responsible for 75% of the damages, and the other driver would be responsible for the rest. Since California is a comparative negligence state, drivers can recover damages from another motorist even if the person is responsible for a small percentage of fault for the collision.

For example, if a driver crossed a center line and sideswipes a vehicle that is traveling legally, the striking vehicle would be at fault. If both vehicles were trying to changes lanes at the same time and didn’t check their blind spots and they collided, both drivers would share the blame.

However, side swipe collision fault is often confusing, which is why the legal knowledge of an experienced car accident attorney can prove invaluable. A lawyer can guide you through the process, offer support, and help gather evidence that supports your case.

Contact an Orange County Car Accident Attorney Today

To learn more about how to determine side swipe collision fault, contact a car accident lawyer at Russell & Lazarus APC today.