Car accidents on Florida highways can cause serious, life-changing injuries and significant property damage. Sideswipe accidents can be especially severe.
Modern vehicles do not have substantial protection on the side, meaning those inside are more likely to sustain serious injuries if struck from the side.
If you are involved in a sideswipe accident or another accident on Florida highways, contact our experienced legal team at Fetterman & Associates, PA. We can help you file a claim to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
How Do Sideswipe Accidents Occur?
Sideswipe collisions occur when two or more vehicles traveling alongside each other collide.
In these situations, the impact can cause one or both vehicles to lose control, spin out, and collide with other vehicles or objects.
The main “crumple zones” in modern vehicles are located at the front and rear. The design means there is minimal protection on the sides of the cabin. If a sideswipe accident occurs, everyone in the vehicle will feel more of the impact.
Sideswipe accidents can occur in a few different ways. Drivers must check blind spots before switching lanes or moving into traffic. The risk of hitting another vehicle in the other lane is present if a driver only uses their side mirrors to check blind spots.
Drowsy or distracted drivers can drift out of their lane and cause a sideswipe collision. Accidents may also occur if a driver tries to move into a lane and the other driver steps up to keep them from doing this. If a driver must swerve to avoid hitting a cyclist, pedestrian, vehicle, or stationary object, they may hit another vehicle, even if trying to prevent an accident.
If one vehicle involved in a sideswipe collision spins out of control when struck, the potential for serious injuries is high. The momentum of the side impact can send the vehicle into the path of oncoming traffic, which can cause a chain-reaction accident.
Unsafe Lane Changes: Car Accident Laws in Florida
Florida has established two laws to prevent the occurrence of sideswipe accidents.
One law is that drivers can only pass on the left if the left lane is clear and visible. It is also required that there is sufficient time to pass without impacting the flow of traffic. If a driver attempts to pass a vehicle by moving into the oncoming traffic lane, they need plenty of time to overtake the vehicle safely.
The other law designed to help prevent sideswipe accidents states that drivers must use their turn signal when they pass a vehicle or move into another lane. Using the turn signal prevents sideswipe accidents because this provides a visual indication of the driver’s next move. It also warns other drivers of their intended action so they can respond accordingly and avoid an accident.
Accidents Caused by Unsafe Lane Changes in Florida
The Florida Department of Highways Safety and Motor Vehicles released a 2021 report that provided statistics on accidents, and this report highlights the prevalence of lane-change or sideswipe collisions.
For example, 8,430 accidents occurred due to a driver passing improperly, and 31,293 accidents occurred due to drivers not staying in their lane.
As you can see, these accidents are more common than you may realize across the state.
Determining Fault in a Sideswipe Accident
Determining fault in sideswipe collisions can be complicated. The at-fault part depends on the situation and facts.
The traffic laws in the Sunshine State explain the responsibilities of drivers when passing, changing lanes, or merging. When our car accident attorneys review the facts of your accident, we will use the evidence to see who did not follow the law or behaved carelessly.
Some evidence used to prove fault in sideswipe collisions includes medical records, police reports, eyewitness accounts, photos and videos from the scene, and testimony from expert witnesses.
Let Our Legal Team Help with Your West Palm Beach Sideswipe Accident Case
If you are involved in a Florida sideswipe accident case, our legal team can help. We take pride in representing accident victims and recovering compensation on their behalf.
The first step is to contact our Fetterman & Associates, PA, office to schedule a free initial consultation. We can discuss the facts of your claim and help create a plan to move forward to hold the at-fault party responsible for their negligent or careless actions.
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