When a vehicle is driving beside you in the next lane you may think there’s no cause for concern. After all, you’re both going the same direction and there are designated boundaries between the two of you (painted lines or Botts’ dots, or both). In fact, this position makes you extremely vulnerable, particularly at higher speeds. 


What is a Sideswipe Collision? 

It’s never a great idea to be driving in a side-by-side position, whether you are starting from a green light or on a packed freeway going the speed limit. Your vehicle could be in another driver’s blind spot, or someone else could be in yours. If they are texting or otherwise momentarily distracted it can easily cause them to drift into your lane.  

By definition, a sideswipe collision occurs when the side of one vehicle strikes the side of another while traveling in adjacent lanes. The impact is that of a sweeping blow, scraping the sides of both vehicles. Structural damage and physical injuries may range from minor to extensive, depending on the speed at the time of impact and the drivers’ ability to maintain control.

Sideswipe Collision: Who’s at fault?

‘Maintaining your lane’ is every driver’s responsibility. Your best chance for abiding by this regulation is to drive at a safe rate of speed with situational awareness. If another vehicle jumps in front of you, it shouldn’t automatically cause you to veer into the next lane. Keeping a safe distance at all times will allow you to take conservative and appropriate actions. 

Florida is a ‘no-fault’ state and requires that all drivers carry personal injury coverage (PIP) with a minimum limit of $10k. Regardless of fault, each driver can apply their PIP to personal medical expenses, loss of income, and repair or replacement costs of their vehicle. However, this mandatory insurance only covers a percentage of recovery for the insured — and liability coverage is not included.

Sideswipe Collision: Legal Advocacy

Leaving the scene without an investigating officer response means that you have no official record of the incident. A call to 9-1-1 accomplishes several things. Initially, the determination of jurisdiction is made; which could be highway patrol, city police, or the county sheriff. Next, the operator will dispatch the law enforcement officer. Additionally, they will alert fire and medical responders as indicated by your description of the incident. The officer will file a police report with their narrative along with the involved parties’ information, and other data as available. Having these records to fall back on may prove essential to filing an effective claim.  

Keep in mind that a serious sideswipe collision should prompt a call to a local personal injury attorney. You have everything to gain, and nothing to lose by making this move. There are no consultation fees or out-of-pocket costs — and the overall benefit of having an expert advocate in your corner could be priceless.

More questions? We are here to help.

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