female driver holding head after sideswipe car accident

Very few sideswipe collisions occur by “accident.” In most cases, sideswipe wrecks happen because of improper lane changes, the failure to signal, or some other dangerously negligent behavior.

If you sustained injuries from getting sideswiped by a distracted, impaired, aggressive, or otherwise careless driver, you could be entitled to compensation for the harm you suffered.

At Olson Personal Injury Lawyers™, our dedicated Denver sideswipe car accident attorneys are here to help you demand the money and justice you deserve. We have secured millions of dollars in fair compensation for injured Coloradans just like you. We’re eager to make a difference in your case.

Contact us today to learn more in a free initial case review.

What Is a Sideswipe Collision?

A sideswipe collision occurs when the side of one vehicle crashes into the side of another car traveling in the same or opposite direction.

While many sideswipe collisions are relatively minor, others result in severe injuries, especially at high speeds. In some sideswipe wrecks, the initial jolt of impact can even deflect one or both vehicles at an angle, causing additional collisions with other cars nearby.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

In one recent year, 863,000 sideswipe accidents occurred across the United States.
Sideswipe accidents accounted for more than 1 in 8 motor vehicle accidents nationwide that year.
Among all of the sideswipe accidents that year, 129,000 resulted in reported injuries, and 909 resulted in fatalities.

Common Causes of Sideswipe Car Accidents in Denver

Like most car accidents, most sideswipe accidents are due to someone’s negligence. Sideswipe wrecks frequently occur when one or both drivers move out of their designated lanes when it isn’t safe to do so. This type of negligent maneuver commonly results from:

  • Driver distraction – When drivers are absorbed in texting, eating, talking, or other distractions, they are more likely to lose focus and drift into neighboring lanes.
  • Driver impairment – Drivers who are drunk, high, or severely fatigued often struggle with spatial awareness, depth perception, and reaction time, making it difficult to remain within designated lanes.
  • Reckless driving – When drivers act recklessly or aggressively behind the wheel, they are apt to make unsafe lane changes and passing maneuvers that lead to sideswipe collisions.
  • Driving errors – Drivers who are inexperienced, impaired, or confused are more likely to commit driving errors that lead to sideswipe wrecks. Common examples include the failure to yield, use turn signals, or monitor blind spots.
  • Vehicle defects – The failure of critical car components such as brakes, airbags, or tires due to manufacturing defects or poor maintenance can contribute to loss of driver control and subsequent sideswipe collisions.
  • Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions such as large potholes, slick surfaces from inadequate drainage, or missing road signs may lead to driver confusion or loss of control, contributing to sideswipe wrecks.

Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries

A sideswipe accident can result in severe injuries. Occupants sitting on the same side of the vehicle as the point of impact are especially vulnerable to blunt-force trauma or crushing injuries.

Some of the most common sideswipe accident injuries include:

  • Head injuries and traumatic brain injuries
  • Facial injuries and dental trauma
  • Scarring and permanent disfigurement
  • Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
  • Partial or total paralysis
  • Shoulder, arm, elbow, wrist, and hand injuries
  • Dislocated or broken bones
  • Traumatic amputation and loss of limbs
  • Bruises, burns, lacerations, and puncture wounds
  • Abdominal injuries and internal bleeding
  • Hip, leg, knee, ankle, and foot injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Other psychological and emotional injuries

How Is Fault Determined for a Sideswipe Accident in Denver?

Any driver who fails to remain safely within their designated lane or moves out of that lane when it’s unsafe to do so may be considered at fault for a Denver sideswipe accident case. Under § 42-4-1003 and § 42-4-1007 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, Denver drivers are expected to:

  • Drive entirely and “as nearly as practicable” within a single traffic lane
  • Remain within the designated lane until making sure that it is safe to move out of that lane and into another
  • Refrain from moving back to the right-hand side of the road until it is safe to do so after passing another vehicle on the left
  • Refrain from increasing speed to prevent other motorists from passing in front

If the evidence suggests that one party violated any of these traffic laws, investigators will likely determine they were at fault for the resulting sideswipe accident.

Who Pays If Both Parties Caused the Sideswipe Collision?

In some cases, both parties could be at least partially at fault for a sideswipe collision. When this occurs, Colorado’s modified comparative negligence doctrine comes into play.

Under this system, the amount of compensation you can recover may be reduced based on the portion of fault you are assigned for the accident. So, for instance, if you were 30 percent at fault and you suffered $100,000 in losses, the most you could recover would be $70,000.

Remember that you can recover compensation only if you are less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. A knowledgeable car accident lawyer can determine how comparative negligence laws could impact your injury case and vigorously argue to reduce the amount of fault you are assessed.

What Losses Can Be Recovered After Injuries from a Sideswipe Car Accident?

Depending on the circumstances, you could be entitled to compensation for any of the following losses after a sideswipe crash in Denver:

  • Medical expenses associated with the treatment of crash-related injuries
  • Lost wages from any time you missed at work as the result of your injuries
  • Projected losses in your future earning potential if your injuries left you disabled
  • Crash-related pain, suffering, and lost quality of life
  • Incidental costs, such as the costs of travel to medical appointments

Contact a Denver Sideswipe Car Accident Lawyer Today for a Free Consultation

If you have been injured in a Denver sideswipe accident, don’t hesitate to contact Olson Personal Injury Lawyers™. We can answer your questions and evaluate your case for free during an initial consultation session.