Sideswipe accidents, also known as sideswipes, are a common type of car accident that occurs when two vehicles traveling in the same direction collide with each other. In Missouri, sideswipe collisions account for a significant portion of all crashes annually. If you have been involved in a Missouri sideswipe wreck, it’s important to understand what to expect in the aftermath.
What is a Sideswipe Accident?
Sideswipe collisions occur when two vehicles traveling in adjacent lanes going the same direction crash into one another. The most common causes of sideswipe wrecks include unsafe lane changes, drifting over the line, failure to yield when merging, and failure to check blind spots before moving laterally. Sideswipes also frequently occur when a driver attempts to unsafely pass a slower vehicle by shifting into the next lane without enough clearance. Congested highways, poor weather conditions, distracted driving, speeding, and drowsy driving can all increase the chances of a dangerous sideswipe situation arising. Staying alert, avoiding distractions, signaling properly, and driving defensively are key to preventing these collisions.
The First Steps to Take
After a sideswipe accident occurs, the first thing you’ll need to do is pull over and make sure everyone involved is uninjured. If there are any injuries or major vehicle damage, call 911 immediately. All sideswipe accidents in Missouri must be reported to the police, even if they seem minor. An officer will come to the scene to take statements, gather evidence, and complete a crash report. Make sure to provide your account of what happened and cooperate fully with the investigative process.
Obtain a Police Report
The police report will be a crucial piece of evidence when it comes time to determine fault and file insurance claims after a Missouri sideswipe. The majority of sideswipe wrecks are caused by unsafe lane changes, failure to yield, or drifting out of a lane. Based on the accounts of the drivers and passengers as well as information at the scene, the officer will cite one or more motorists with violations like careless driving, failure to signal, or improper lane use.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
Once the police investigation is complete, the next step is to contact your auto insurance provider to start a claim. In sideswipe crashes, each driver’s insurance generally covers their own vehicle repairs, medical bills, and other costs. However, fault plays a role in how much you will pay out-of-pocket. If the other driver is cited in the police report, their insurer should cover your expenses. But if you are deemed partially or fully at-fault, your rates could be impacted. Discuss your policy and options with your insurance agent.
Missouri follows traditional at-fault laws for financial liability in sideswipe wrecks. The negligent driver who caused the accident through improper driving can be sued directly by the not-at-fault driver(s) to recoup damages like medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and car repairs not covered sufficiently by insurance. For extreme cases caused by reckless driving or DUI, additional damages may be awarded.
It’s important to consult with us to determine fault and the best path forward. Our attorneys can review the police report, gather additional evidence like dash cam video or surveillance footage, interview witnesses, and negotiate with the insurance companies involved. They will fight to prove your innocence and make sure you receive fair compensation.
The Recovery Process
Recovering from a sideswipe collision takes time, especially if there were any injuries. Seek medical treatment as soon as possible and follow all doctors’ orders. Keep records of all medical expenses, missed work, therapy appointments, medication costs and anything else related to the accident. Photos documenting vehicle damage, scrapes and bruises to your body, and recovery progress can serve as helpful evidence too.
Mentally and emotionally recovering from a sideswipe wreck also takes time. Many accident victims experience anxiety, stress, difficulty concentrating, and trouble sleeping after a traumatic collision. Speaking with a counselor or therapist can be beneficial. Support groups can also provide coping strategies and help car crash survivors connect with others who understand their experience.
While sideswipe accidents are common, they can wreak havoc on your life, health, vehicle, and finances. Knowing what to expect after a Missouri sideswipe collision in terms of insurance claims, fault disputes, compensation, and emotional recovery can help you take the necessary steps to advocate for yourself, protect your rights, and get back on the road to healing. With patience and the help of our experienced attorneys, your life can return to normalcy.
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