A sideswipe collision (sometimes called a side collision) in Idaho can be a scary event for anyone, no matter what circumstances led to it. If you were involved in an accident, you should know how the law defines the crash and how fault is determined.

What Is a Sideswipe Collision?

A sideswipe collision is defined as any contact that occurs when two vehicles are driving next to each other. Even if the accident occurs if the vehicles are not driving perfectly parallel (e.g., one is much further in front), the crash would still fall under the same umbrella. Sideswiped car accidents typically occur when both cars are headed in the same direction, though not always.  An Idaho car accident lawyer can explain more about how officials respond to different types of sideswipe conditions.

The Nature of Sideswipes in Idaho

When we think about accidents, we tend to think about them as coming directly from the front or behind. So, this is different from being rear-ended, not only due to the site of the property damage but also the nature of the crash.

Common Circumstances in Which Sideswipes Occur

Sideswipes often happen on highways with several lanes. For instance, if there are three lines with two drivers on the outside and no one in the middle, the two vehicles may crash if they both attempt to merge at the exact same time. Or a driver that’s attempting to merge into traffic from a freeway on-ramp may hit a parallel driver in the far right lane if they’re not paying attention.

Highways and Side Streets

A car accident lawyer Idaho may also see suits where one vehicle was trying to pass another on a two-lane street without the proper clearance. These are more straightforward cases because it’s the passing driver’s responsibility to ensure they have plenty of time to safely merge in and out of the lanes.

Finally, you may see sideswipes if two vehicles attempt to get into the same turning lane from opposite sides of the road or if one driver swerves into oncoming traffic due to a hazard in their lane. For instance, a driver in one lane going west hits a deer that’s standing in their lane. If the collision with the deer forces the car over into the other lane only to crash with the car headed east, this would be a sideswipe.

Distracted Driving 

For the most part, sideswipe accidents occur because people aren’t paying attention. You’re more likely to see this happen because of a distracted driver or a driver under the influence than a driver who was caught between a rock and a hard place.

What to Do After a Collision

There are a few steps that you should take to ensure that this ends in your favor:

  • Get the police involved. You want them to see the evidence before everything is cleared away. Never take a driver’s word for it that they’re going to follow up with you or the police in the future. (An Idaho accident lawyer can tell you not to rely on photos taken at the scene, as they can be easily modified.)
  • Take photos of the damage and the scene. Whether it’s you taking photos in front of the police or the cops taking the photos themselves, you may be able to prove who caused the crash based on the damage of the collision. Investigators will need to see this before they can accurately rule who was at fault.
  • Try to track down any eyewitnesses to get their names and contact information. Cops are supposed to get this information, but a car accident lawyer Idaho can tell you that they’re often tied up with other matters.
  • Seek medical attention. Remember that even mild whiplash can develop into chronic neck pain over time. Don’t assume you’re fine until you have a qualified medical provider assess all of your injuries.

Am I Entitled to Compensation?

You are likely entitled to compensation, though car accident lawyers Boise Idaho can tell you that these accidents can be complicated.

Determining Fault in a Sideswipe Collision

Sideswipes may be the fault of both drivers. If both of you weren’t paying attention on the outer lanes at the exact time you chose to merge into an interior lane, this may be a 50/50 split. However, most accidents will have one party more at fault than the other. After the accident, it becomes a matter of trying to get everyone to agree on a situation that could be read in several ways.

Benefits of Hiring an Idaho Car Accident Lawyer

Because sideswiped collisions can be an endless pointing of fingers — especially if the photos only reveal that a crash occurred and not who was at fault — an attorney could be the difference between receiving damages and receiving nothing. They will not only prepare your case, which will mean tracking down information that an injured party may not have the wherewithal or time to do, but they’ll also help you understand what you can expect from the outcome.

Contact Craig Swapp & Associates

If you’re looking for car accident lawyers in Boise, Idaho, Craig Swapp & Associates have handled plenty of cases. If you’re looking for an Idaho accident lawyer that will fight for fair compensation, particularly if you’ve been injured due to the crash, we won’t stop until justice is served.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp