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Who is Liable For a Sideswipe Accident in Philadelphia?

By: Anapol Weiss

Navigating the aftermath of a sideswipe accident in Philadelphia can be complex and challenging, especially when determining liability and pursuing rightful compensation. Sideswipe collisions, where two vehicles traveling in the same or opposite directions make side-to-side contact, often result in significant vehicle damage and personal injuries. Understanding who is at fault in such scenarios is crucial for affected individuals. This guide will help clarify liability issues and outline the legal options available to you in Pennsylvania after a car accident.

Understanding Sideswipe Accidents

Common Causes of Sideswipe Collisions

Sideswipe accidents in Philadelphia typically occur due to several common factors:

  • Lane Changing: This is perhaps the most common cause, where a driver fails to check their blind spot or signal when changing lanes, colliding with a vehicle traveling parallel to them.
  • Drifting Between Lanes: Distraction, inattention, or impairment can lead a driver to drift into another lane, striking another car.
  • Merging Errors: On highways or at junctions, improper merging can lead to sideswipe collisions if drivers do not accurately gauge the flow of traffic or the space available.
  • Aggressive Driving: Actions such as speeding, performing aggressive maneuvers, or engaging in road rage can lead a driver to make unsafe lane changes, resulting in a sideswipe.

Determining Fault

Determining who is liable for a sideswipe accident in Philadelphia involves identifying which party acted negligently or violated traffic laws. Fault is generally assessed through:

  • Traffic Violations: If a driver was violating traffic laws—like changing lanes without signaling or speeding—their actions would likely deem them at fault.
  • Driver Statements and Witness Accounts: These can provide essential details that help determine who deviated from standard driving practices.
  • Physical Evidence: The location and extent of damage on the vehicles can indicate the point of impact and, consequently, who likely drifted out of their lane.
  • Video Footage: Surveillance or dashcam footage can be instrumental in displaying the events before and during the collision, providing clear evidence of fault.

Impact on Insurance Claims

Pennsylvania's no-fault insurance system means that your insurance will cover medical expenses and other out-of-pocket losses regardless of who caused the accident. However, determining liability is still crucial for several reasons:

  • Severe Injuries: If injuries surpass the "serious injury" threshold, victims may pursue claims against the at-fault driver to cover additional losses and pain and suffering.
  • Property Damage: Liability insurance is essential for covering vehicle repairs or replacement, making it vital to establish the other party's fault in the accident.

Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim

To pursue a personal injury lawsuit for a sideswipe accident, the injured party must prove negligence by demonstrating:

  • Duty of Care: The other driver had a duty to operate their vehicle safely.
  • Breach of Duty: The driver breached that duty through negligent actions.
  • Causation: The driver’s negligence directly caused the accident and the resulting damages.
  • Damages: Tangible evidence of damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering, must be presented.

The steps involved in handling the aftermath of a sideswipe accident are critical:

Immediate Actions

  • Seek medical attention immediately for any injuries, ensuring they are documented.
  • Report the accident to the police and your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Collect evidence at the scene, including photos of the accident, the vehicles, and the surrounding area, as well as contact information of any witnesses.

Legal Consultation

  • Consult with a specialized car accident lawyer to discuss the specifics of your case. This is crucial for understanding your rights and the potential for compensation beyond what is provided by insurance.
  • Prepare a detailed claim that includes all necessary documentation of damages and injuries. This preparation is essential for a strong legal stance.

Contact Anapol Weiss Today to Schedule a Free Consultation About Your Car Accident Case

If you've been involved in a sideswipe accident in Philadelphia, the path to recovery can feel overwhelming. That's where Anapol Weiss steps in. With decades of experience in personal injury law and a dedicated team of skilled attorneys, we are prepared to fight for your rights and secure the compensation you deserve. We understand the complexities of Pennsylvania traffic laws and are committed to providing you with clear, effective legal representation.

Don't navigate this challenging time alone. Reach out to us today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Let us help you move forward.