Sideswipe collisions can be just as catastrophic as head-on or rear-end collisions because they often happen at high speeds. But how is sideswipe collision fault determined? And how does New Hampshire’s comparative fault system work?
If you’ve been in a sideswipe accident, an experienced Manchester NH car accident lawyer can help you recover damages. At the Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC, we pride ourselves on our experience, client service, and professionalism. Contact us today for a free consultation.
How Do Sideswipe Collisions Happen?
Sideswipe collisions most commonly involve two cars moving in the same direction that crash into each other. They often occur at high speeds after one driver changes lanes when it’s not safe to do so. Typically, the right side of one car and the left side of the other car will be damaged.
The most common causes of sideswipe accidents are drunk or distracted driving and changing lanes without signaling or carefully checking blind spots. This type of collision can also occur when two drivers move into the same lane at the same time.
Who Is at Fault in a Sideswipe Collision?
Drivers in New Hampshire have a duty to maintain a single lane of travel. If you change lanes, you must do so only when it’s safe to do so. So a driver who leaves their lane and sideswipes another car is considered at fault. If two drivers changed into the same lane at the same time before sideswiping each other, both may be at fault.
Fault is usually determined in the accident report completed by the responding police officer, but this is not the final determination. If there is disagreement regarding who is responsible for a crash, ultimately it is a jury that gets to make the decision about how much fault to give each driver. An experienced personal injury attorney can carefully review all the facts and help evaluate what a jury might decide in any given case.
Because New Hampshire is a comparative negligence state, you can pursue a personal injury claim against the other at-fault driver. However, you can only recover if you were 50% or less at fault. If you were 51% or more at fault, you will receive no compensation for your injuries. If you were 50% or less at fault, your recovery will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
What Should You Do If You Are Sideswiped?
Anytime you are in an accident, you should, first and foremost, tend to your own safety and the safety of others at the scene. Prevent the occurrence or worsening of any injuries by calmly regaining control of your car. Move over to the side of the road without suddenly changing lanes.
If you feel you’re not at-fault, you should take action to protect your rights. Here are five things you should do to preserve the evidence about what happened:
- Call the Police.Once you’ve safely moved over to the side of the road, call the police and request medical assistance if needed. Do not let the other driver convince you not to call the police. You will need the police to create an accident report and gather all the proper information about who is at the scene and what happened.
- Take Pictures.While you’re waiting for the police to arrive and if you are safely able to, take photos of damage to your and the other driver’s cars and any debris or skid marks on the road. Also, take photos of the accident scene and any injuries you may have suffered. Photos can help prove who changed lanes and caused the sideswipe collision.
- Gather Witnesses.If there are witnesses to the accident, write down their names, phone numbers, and email addresses. Their testimony will be valuable to proving the other driver’s negligence.
- Get a Copy of the Accident Report.After a day or so, go to the police station to request a copy of the accident report.
- Speak With a Lawyer.Even if you don’t have serious injuries from the sideswipe collision, you may need an experienced New Hampshire lawyer. A good car accident lawyer can help you understand the process, gather additional evidence you will need for your case, and protect your rights.
Learn More About Sideswipe Collision Fault
If you’ve been in a sideswipe collision, don’t delay. Learn more about how sideswipe collision fault is determined in New Hampshire and whether you can recover compensation for your losses. Contact the experienced Manchester NH car accident attorneys at Law Office of Manning & Zimmerman PLLC at (603) 671-3156 for more information.
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