Car accidents, no matter what kind, can be scary and have severe and fatal outcomes. In 2019, there were nearly 1,000 deaths in Michigan alone as a result of car accidents. Though sideswipe accidents tend to result in more minor damages and injuries, it simply depends on the situation and can still be traumatizing for the victims involved.
From the same report above, of all fatal car accidents in the U.S. in 2019, 913 deaths specifically resulted from sideswipe collisions. When injuries happen that are not fatal in nature, recovery can still be a challenge. Medical treatments can be expensive, not to mention the emotional pain and suffering that can follow.
If you have suffered an injury due to a sideswipe accident in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, or anywhere else in Michigan, the Lee Steinberg Law Firm can help you seek appropriate and full financial compensation. You have the right to have your medical bills, lost wages, and other benefits paid for by the car insurance company. In addition, you can seek compensation for pain and suffering and emotional distress against the driver who was responsible for the accident.
The Most Common Causes of Michigan Sideswipe Accidents
Driver error and negligence are to blame for most car accidents that occur in the United States. Sideswipe collisions happen when the sides of two vehicles traveling in the same or opposite direction come into contact. These specific types of accidents can happen for many reasons, including:
- Failure to yield the right of way when merging: When two cars are merging into the same lane, if one does not yield to the other according to traffic signs, they are likely to collide.
- Improper lane changes: When cars change lanes without paying attention or when they try to get over and cut someone off, they may end up sideswiping the other car, or the other car may end up sideswiping them.
- Failure to use a turn signal: When a driver fails to use a turn signal before getting over into another lane, the car(s) that is already in that lane may not realize that they want to merge leading to a sideswipe collision.
- Blind spots: Blind spots are a primary reason for cars sideswiping one another because the driver changing lanes or merging can’t actually see that there is another car in the way.
- Distracted driving: When drivers are talking with other passengers, looking in their mirror, or on their phone, they can easily veer into another lane and sideswipe another vehicle.
- Driving under the influence: People who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs are known for losing control of their vehicle and veering into other lanes which is a common cause of sideswipe collisions.
- Inclement weather: In some situations, negligent driving may not be the cause, but poor road conditions instead. If the roads are wet or icy, a car may slide accidentally into another car. However, speeding during times of inclement weather is more likely to lead to this occurrence.
Common Sideswipe Accident Injuries
Sideswipe collisions often happen unexpectedly, leaving victims with little time to react or prepare themselves for impact. While the front and rear ends of vehicles are made to withstand impact, the sides of vehicles don’t have as many safety features to protect passengers.
Some sideswipe collisions are minor and involve just a bit of scraping, but some can be severe and cause more of an impact. The more severe the impact, the more severe the injuries will be. In some situations, a sideswipe can even cause a car to lose control and run off of the road into another object, which can result in further damage and injuries.
Common injuries sustained in sideswipe accidents include:
- Fractured bones
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Shoulder, hip, and knee injuries
- Spinal cord injury
The severity of sideswipe accident injuries can vary, with some resolving fairly quickly and others becoming permanent and lifelong. The accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm are experts in explaining to the court and insurance companies exactly how car accident injuries can impact someone, their lifestyle, and their family to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Seeking Compensation For Injuries After a Sideswipe Accident
If another negligent driver caused the accident which resulted in your injuries, you have a right to pursue a personal injury claim or even a lawsuit for compensation. Even if you were partially at fault, Michigan is a comparative negligence state which means you can still file a claim so long as you are no more than 51% at fault for causing the accident. The compensation amount you receive will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. However, if another party or parties are fully responsible, they will be held liable and must pay all of the compensation themselves. Typically, damages are awarded through the guilty party’s insurance company.
Unfortunately, it is common with personal injury cases for insurance companies to do whatever they can to reduce claim amounts. This can include denying their client’s fault, trying to blame the victim for causing the accident, or even calling the victim to get information they can use against them, such as past medical history. However, if you work with a personal injury attorney, they can guide you through the process and help you fight against the insurance company to ensure all damages are fully awarded.
Michigan No-Fault Law
Another option for victims of sideswipe collisions is to seek benefits through their no-fault insurance coverage. No-fault insurance coverage is required by law in Michigan and every car owner must purchase a certain level of coverage to obtain license plates. This coverage offers benefits to those injured in accidents regardless of who was at fault.
After a crash occurred, a no-fault insurance claim can cover medical costs, lost wages, and replacement or repair to property that was damaged. However, no-fault insurance doesn’t generally cover car repairs.
In Michigan, any basic no-fault insurance policy consists of three parts:
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP protection pays for all reasonably necessary medical expenses. If you lost wages due to the accident, PIP covers up to 85% of that income for up to three years. It also provides a value for household chores you can no longer do, reimbursement of out-of-pocket costs, and other benefits.
- Personal Property Protection (PPI): PPI pays up to $1 million in damage someone does to another person’s property, including buildings and surroundings like fences and landscaping. It also covers damage to parked vehicles, but no other car damage.
- Residual Liability Insurance: Residual liability insurance protects the driver if they caused the crash. This is the insurance protection in case you injured someone in an auto accident. The minimum coverage generally covers up to $50,000 for a person who is hurt or killed and $100,000 for multiple victims.
Wrongful Death Benefits
When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include costs for funeral and burial, medical bills, lost wages, loss of companionship for the survivors, and pain and suffering.
What Damages Are Available in a Sideswipe Accident Case?
The damages you are awarded will depend on your individual situation, such as the cost of your medical expenses, how much you are suffering, and the wages you miss out on if you have days off of work while recovering. Generally, your total damages will include a sum of your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the monetary value of the costs you incurred from the accident. Although car repairs aren’t typically covered in Michigan, other economic damages usually are. Go through your bills and carefully calculate the value of economic damages with the help of your car accident lawyer.
Economic damages may include things like:
- Medical bills
- Therapy bills
- Other property damage
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Your non-economic damages are non-monetary, intangible things like the extent of your suffering. While these damages can be harder to calculate and prove, they’re often a large portion of your claim.
Non-economic damages can include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental suffering
While your economic damages are easier to prove, your non-economic damages will be harder to explain, which is why it is necessary to work with an attorney in these cases. An attorney will have experience proving the extent of a client’s non-economic damages and can ensure you get the full amount of compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering.
What Should I Do After a Michigan Sideswipe Accident?
Following a sideswipe accident, your health and safety should be your number one priority. Before doing anything else, be sure that you are out of harm’s way and that emergency medical responders have been contacted to address your injuries.
Even if you feel fine, you should always seek immediate medical attention and follow up with your primary care provider. Often traumatic injuries resulting from car accidents can manifest within a few hours or days of the crash. That’s why you need to seek medical treatment as soon as possible and establish an early baseline for your injuries.
Once you have attended to your medical needs, the following are the steps you should take following the accident:
- While you’re still at the accident scene, make sure to exchange information with the other driver and work calmly with the police to provide the basic information they need. However, don’t get into extended conversations or arguments. If someone asks detailed questions, these questions can be referred to your lawyer. Be sure to request a copy of their police report.
- If you can, take photographs and video of the accident scene yourself. In addition to the vehicles, make sure you photograph any skid marks, debris, and property damage, as well as the damage to your vehicle. Make notes about the weather, road signs, debris, and anything else that could relate to your accident. Also, take photos of the license plates of the other vehicles involved and the vehicle damage to those cars as well.
- Next, you should contact an experienced and aggressive Michigan car accident attorney to help file a lawsuit. Insurance companies often send out their accident experts to investigate the crash scene and gather witness statements as quickly as possible. They’ll also pester you for a statement, but don’t give one without talking to your lawyer.
When you’re confused and stressed about what to do next after your accident, turn to your lawyer for advice. It’s the best way to avoid making mistakes and ensure the period after your accident goes as smoothly as possible.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm Can Help
For over 40 years, The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has helped injured victims win their cases to collect the compensation that they need and deserve. We care about the health and wellbeing of our clients. Recovering from a sideswipe collision can take time and can result in many financial burdens. Let us help you get the benefits that you need to recover in peace. Please call Lee Steinberg and the Michigan sideswipe accident lawyers at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form so we can answer any questions you may have about your accident. You pay nothing until we settle your Michigan personal injury case.