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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

Who Is at Fault in a Side Swipe Car Accident in Indiana?

In Indiana, determining fault in a sideswipe car accident can be like putting together puzzle pieces. They happen when two vehicles traveling parallel to each other make contact. These incidents are common, but figuring out who's at fault isn't always straightforward.

Sideswipe accidents can leave victims dealing with more than just dented fenders. Injuries, medical bills, and the stress of navigating the aftermath can be overwhelming.

What Does the Law Say About Sideswipe Accident Cases?

What Does the Law Say About Sideswipe Accident Cases?

A car accident lawyer in Indianapolis will typically determine fault in a sideswipe collision by examining both drivers' actions. While it might be tempting to point fingers immediately, it's essential to consider the circumstances leading up to the accident.

Did one motorist fail to check their blind spot before changing lanes? Did the other driver fail to yield the right of way?  Indiana law focuses on negligence. If a driver fails to exercise reasonable care and that failure results in harm, the court may deem them negligent.

Negligence is a key factor when establishing responsibility in a sideswipe accident. This can include actions like distracted driving, speeding, or improper lane changes.

Seeking help from a personal injury lawyer becomes crucial. They can determine why and how the accident occurred in the first place. Qualified attorneys can also make the other driver and their insurance company pay for the sideswipe accident injuries. They can also help explain who is at fault in a head-on car accident in Indiana.

Plaintiffs must remember that Indiana follows a modified comparative fault system. This means that even if they are partially (50%) at fault for the sideswipe accident, they may still be able to recover compensation.

However, the court may reduce the amount the victim can recover based on their level of fault. Drivers who are more than 51% liable cannot file a claim.

Determining Liability for a Sideswipe Car Accident Scene

A thorough examination of the facts surrounding the sideswipe car accident is at the heart of determining liability. This includes analyzing the sequence of events leading up to the collision. It also includes checking traffic violations and the behavior of all motorists if there is more than one driver involved.

Evidence Collection

Violations such as improper lane changes, failure to yield, or distracted driving can contribute to assigning fault to one or all parties. Gathering witness statements and collecting evidence from the accident scene can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of the collision.

Eyewitness accounts and tangible evidence, such as skid marks or vehicle damage, can contribute to building a complete picture of what happened.

Official Statement

Also, the official police report can serve as a critical document in determining liability. It outlines violations, statements from involved parties, and the officer's scene assessment.


In some cases, more than one driver may share a degree of responsibility for the accident. This makes it difficult to file an insurance claim and recover compensation. Attorneys specializing in car accident cases will delve into the case's specifics. They can interview all parties and negotiate with their respective insurance agencies. They can help with who is at fault in a low speed car accident in Indiana too.

The Five Most Common Causes of Sideswipe Accidents

Sideswipe accidents, while common, can be more than just unexpected brushes between vehicles. Understanding the root causes behind these incidents is crucial for every driver sharing the roads in Indiana.

Distracted Driving

One prevalent cause of an Indiana car accident is the ever-growing issue of distracted driving. When drivers divert their attention from the road—whether to answer a text or glance at their GPS—they increase the risk of drifting into another lane. This results in a sideswipe collision.

Not Checking Blind Spots

Failing to check blind spots before changing lanes is another significant contributor to a sideswipe accident. When motorists neglect this crucial step, they may unknowingly merge into an occupied lane. This sets the stage for a collision with the other driver traveling alongside them.


Excessive speed not only reduces reaction time but also amplifies the impact of any collision. Speeding drivers may find it challenging to maneuver in tight traffic situations.

Impaired Driving

Driving under the influence of substances greatly impairs a motorist’s coordination and judgement. Impaired automobilists struggle to maintain their lane, leading to sideswipe collisions as they veer into adjacent traffic.

Extra Factors

Adverse weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog can decrease visibility and make roads slippery. On the other hand, fatigue can also slow reaction times and impair decision-making. Drowsy driving poses a risk to all the vehicles involved on the road.

Common Injuries from a Sideswipe Collision

Common Injuries from a Sideswipe Collision

In the aftermath of a sideswipe accident, the impact isn't always limited to crumpled metal and damaged vehicles.

  • Whiplash

A frequent injury in sideswipe collisions is whiplash. This happens when the head suddenly jerks backward and forward, causing strain on the neck muscles. Even a seemingly minor sideswipe accident can lead to whiplash, resulting in pain, stiffness, and reduced neck mobility.

  • Soft Tissue Injuries

Sideswipe crashes can cause various soft tissue injuries, including bruises, strains, and sprains. The impact's blunt force can damage muscles, ligaments, and tendons, leading to pain and discomfort. Thus, the victim should clearly describe all injuries in a personal injury claim, even if they aren't visible.

  • Concussions and Head Injuries

The sudden jolt in a sideswipe accident can cause head injuries, ranging from mild concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Even with the protection of seat belts and airbags, the head can be vulnerable to injury during the impact. Treatment for TBI can cause towering medical bills.

  • Fractures and Broken Bones

The impact when a sideswipe accident occurs may lead to fractures in the arms, legs, ribs, or other bones. Such injuries need immediate medical attention and possibly surgical intervention.

Final Words

Negligent drivers are more likely to cause sideswipe car accidents in Indiana. Whether it's distracted driving or a simple lapse in judgment, these actions can tip the scales toward a collision.

Although the state follows a modified comparative fault system, proving responsibility in such lawsuits begs the help of a qualified lawyer. Experts from Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys know how to gather evidence for their clients. Stating, "We Go to War for You," the firm's legal team can pave the way for informed decisions and a sense of justice.


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