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Involved in a Sideswipe Accident in Stockton? A Guide to Your Rights 

Motor vehicle collisions happen every day. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that more than 5 million people in the United States are injured in car accidents each year. Sideswipe accidents are one of the most common types of multi-vehicle collisions. If you were involved in this type of collision, it is crucial that you know what to do. Here, our Stockton auto accident lawyer provides a comprehensive guide to sideswipe accident claims in California. 

What is a Sideswipe Accident?

A sideswipe accident occurs when the sides of two vehicles collide with each other. As you likely suspect, this type of crash most often happens when both vehicles are moving in the same direction and one vehicle veers into the lane of another. However, sideswipe accidents can also happen when two vehicles are moving in opposite directions and one crosses the centerline. Sideswipe accidents can be particularly dangerous on highways where vehicles are traveling at higher rates of speed. These collisions happen for a wide range of different reasons. Some of the leading causes include: 

  • Inadvertent Lane Departures: Sideswipes can happen when drivers unintentionally drift from their lane or otherwise fail to maintain proper control of the vehicle.
  • Unsafe Merging: Failure to merge properly onto highways or into traffic can lead to sideswipe accidents—especially if drivers misjudge the available gap in traffic.
  • Not Checking Blind Spots: Too many motorists fail to check their blind spots when changing lanes. It can cause a sideswipe accident. 
  • Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Distractions—such as cell phones—are often the root cause of sideswipe accidents.  
  • Reckless/Aggressive Driving: Motorists engaging in reckless behaviors—from abrupt lane changes to speeding to not signaling—can increase the risk of a sideswipe collision. 

Four Steps to Take After a Sideswipe Crash With Another Vehicle in Stockton

The aftermath of a motor vehicle collision can be stressful. Knowing what to do can make the difference. Here are four steps to take after a sideswipe collision in Stockton: 

  1. Stop Your Car and Report the Sideswipe Crash: Immediately following a sideswipe crash, stop your vehicle in a safe location and exchange information with the other driver. Your accident should be reported to the Stockton Police Department or another agency. 
  2. Seek Prompt Medical Care for Any Injuries: All motor vehicle accident injuries should be checked out by a qualified doctor. Getting care is crucial for your health and safety—and it is a required step in the legal claims process. 
  3. Document Your Sideswipe Collision: Take photographs of the damage to both vehicles and the surrounding area, and collect contact information from any witnesses. The more details you have, the easier it will be to bring a successful legal claim for a sideswipe crash. 
  4. Consult With a Lawyer Before an Insurance Adjuster: Sideswipe accidents can lead to disputes over fault and liability. Before you give any statement to an insurance company, you should consult with an experienced Stockton auto accident attorney. 

Understanding Liability for a Sideswipe Accident in California

California is a fault-based motor vehicle crash state. Liability for a sideswipe crash is based on negligence. The party—typically one of the drivers—who is found to be at fault for causing the accident is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries resulting from the crash. Fault is based on negligence. If a driver’s unsafe actions or inactions contributed to a sideswipe collision, he or she can be held responsible for the damages. 

Of course, not every sideswipe crash is purely the fault of one party. Our state uses a comparative negligence system to apportion liability. Under this system, a driver can be partially responsible for the sideswipe accident and still recover damages. However, their compensation will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, if you are found to be 25 percent at fault for a side-end crash in Stockton, you will be legally responsible for 25 percent of your own damages. 

The Bottom Line: Every sideswipe accident requires a thorough, detail-focused investigation. If you were involved in a sideswipe crash in Stockton, you need to know exactly what happened and why. A lawyer can investigate the crash, gather relevant evidence, and take action to help you prove fault. 

Know the Statute of Limitations for Sideswipe Accidents

You do not have an unlimited amount of time to file a claim after a sideswipe collision in Stockton. Indeed, the sooner you take legal action, the better positioned that you will be to get justice and financial compensation. In California, there is a two-year statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including those arising from motor vehicle collisions. Do not wait to get started with your case: Consult with a Stockton sideswipe accident lawyer as soon as possible. 

How Much Compensation Can You Recover for a Sideswipe Accident?

Hurt in a sideswipe collision in Stockton? You may have questions about what you can expect to recover through a settlement. The short answer is that California law allows injured car accident victims to pursue compensation for economic and non-economic damages. In other words, your settlement or verdict will vary based on your damages. Insurance companies want to settle these cases for less. You need an attorney with experience handling sideswipe crash claims. Depending on the nature and severity of the crash and your injuries, you may be able to recover money damages: 

  • Automobile repairs or automobile replacement; 
  • Ambulance costs and other emergency room services; 
  • Hospital bills and medical expenses; 
  • Loss of income and diminished earning potential; 
  • Pain and suffering and/or emotional distress; 
  • Permanent disability or disfigurement; and
  • Wrongful death of a family member. 

Speak to a Stockton, CA Auto Accident Attorney in Stockton

At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockton auto accident lawyers have the skills and experience to handle sideswipe accident claims. If you or your loved one was involved in a sideswipe crash, we are here as a legal resource. Contact our personal injury firm today to set up your free case review. With a law office in Stockton, our firm handles the full range of auto accident claims in San Joaquin County throughout the surrounding area in Central California.