A side-swipe accident may seem less severe than a head-on collision but can be surprisingly hazardous. When two vehicles traveling parallel collide with one another, it often results in more than just paint scratches. The damage can extend to the wheels, mirrors, or other car parts, impacting the vehicle’s safety and performance.

Even more concerning, these accidents can lead to injuries, some of which may not be apparent immediately. Understanding the potential risks of side-swipe accidents is crucial for every driver, whether you’ve experienced one or are just seeking to be more informed on the road.

What is a Side-Swipe Accident?

A side-swipe accident is a type of collision that occurs when two vehicles traveling in the same direction brush or collide with each other’s sides. This can happen when one car drifts out of its lane or when two vehicles attempt to merge into the same lane simultaneously. The damage in a side-swipe car accident can vary, ranging from minor scratches to significant structural damage to the vehicle.

Unlike other types of collisions, often, side-swipe accidents occur at lower speeds, but that doesn’t diminish their potential danger. The sudden and unexpected contact can cause drivers to lose control, leading to a more serious car accident with other vehicles or obstacles on the road.

A sideswipe accident requires prompt attention in addressing the immediate aftermath. Whether you’re a seasoned driver or just starting out, awareness of sideswipe car accidents and their potential impact is valuable to safe driving.

How Dangerous are Sideswipe Collisions?

According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), side-swipe collisions accounted for a significant portion of motor vehicle accidents in 2021. While often perceived as less severe compared to other types of accidents, the data highlights the real risks associated with sideswipe collisions.

In 2021, sideswipe accidents accounted for approximately 2.7% of all fatal crashes in the United States. Additionally, these collisions led to numerous injuries requiring medical attention and ongoing care.

The statistics underscore the importance of understanding and avoiding sideswipe collisions whenever possible. They may seem like minor accidents, but the potential for serious damage to vehicles and harm to occupants is very real. Severe injuries can occur, and medical expenses may be more than you bargained for.

Even serious injuries can occur, such as:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Other serious injuries

Awareness, proper lane discipline, and defensive driving practices are vital in minimizing the risk of sideswipe accidents and ensuring safety on the road. Often, drivers recover compensation for lost income, medical bills, fair compensation for suffered injuries, and more.

Side-Swipe Car Accidents: Who is at Fault?

Determining fault in a sideswipe collision can be complex, and in North Carolina, it often requires careful examination of the specific circumstances of the accident. According to our state’s contributory negligence laws, if a party is even slightly at fault for the accident, they may be barred from recovering damages.

In the case of sideswipe collisions, the fault may be assigned to one or both drivers depending on various factors, including the following:

Failure to Maintain Lane Position

If a driver drifts out of their lane without a legitimate reason, such as avoiding an obstacle, they might be at fault for the sideswipe accident.

Improper Merging

If a driver attempts to merge into a lane without ensuring it is clear and safe, they could be held responsible for a resulting sideswipe collision.

Distracted Driving

Utilizing a mobile device, eating, or distracting driving activities can lead to sideswipe accidents. In such cases, the distracted driver is typically held accountable.

In North Carolina, assessing fault in a sideswipe collision often requires a careful examination of evidence, witness testimony, and sometimes even expert analysis. Consulting with a legal professional who understands the state’s traffic laws and regulations can help ensure that fault is appropriately determined and that the rights of all involved parties are protected.

What Causes a Side-Swipe Accident?

There is a multitude of reasons other drivers face the legal liability of causing property damage and bodily injury in a side sipe collision. Failure to maintain driving in your own lane can come from these common problems:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Negligent driver (crash involves drinking or drugs, reckless driving)
  • No paying attention
  • Driver fatigue
  • Not checking blind spot

While a car collision is a literal and often physical pain, making an accident report can help hold an at-fault driver accountable. You can often find compensation for accidents caused by negligent drivers by making insurance claims. Traffic accidents involving a police report can help everyone understand more clearly what happened.

Potential AutoBody Damage in a Side-Swipe Accident

Sideswipe accidents can lead to various types of damage, from cosmetic to structural. Here’s a closer look at what might be affected and how a body shop might address these issues.

Paint Scratches and Dents

The most common damage in a sideswipe collision is to the vehicle’s paint and exterior panels. Scratches and dents may appear superficial but can lead to further issues if not addressed promptly. Body shops typically fix these by sanding down the affected area, filling the dents, and applying a new coat of paint to match the original color.

Wheel and Suspension Damage

A sideswipe accident might cause harm to the wheels or suspension system, affecting the vehicle’s alignment and driving stability. Repairing this requires careful inspection and realignment, possibly including replacing suspension components.

Mirror and Window Damage

Side mirrors and windows may be shattered or cracked in a sideswipe collision. A body shop would replace the glass and ensure it fits properly within the frame, maintaining the vehicle’s structural integrity and safety features.

Structural Damage

In more severe sideswipe accidents, the vehicle’s frame may be damaged. This damage is particularly concerning as it can affect the car’s overall safety and performance. Repairing structural damage is a complex process that requires specialized equipment and expertise to realign and reinforce the affected areas.

Interior Damage

Sometimes, a sideswipe collision can cause interior damage, particularly to the door panels and adjacent areas. Body shops can replace or repair these components to restore the vehicle’s comfort and aesthetics.

Addressing the damage caused by a sideswipe collision involves a thorough inspection and assessment by experienced body shop professionals. They can identify the specific areas of wear and employ the appropriate techniques and materials to restore the vehicle to its pre-accident condition.

Understanding the potential damage in a sideswipe accident not only informs drivers of what to look for but also underscores the importance of seeking professional assistance in the repair process.

Norris Paint and Bodyworx is Here for You After a Collision

At Norris Paint and Bodyworx, we understand the stress and uncertainty of being involved in a side-swipe collision or any other auto accident. Our experienced team is dedicated to getting you back on the road safely and with as little inconvenience as possible.

Whether you face minor scratches or more substantial structural damage, our skilled technicians have the tools and knowledge to restore your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. We work diligently to provide quality collision repairs, timely service, and transparent communication every step of the way.

When you trust us with your vehicle, you choose a partner who cares about your safety and satisfaction. Get in touch today or come by for a free quote.