Jason Stephens | October 6, 2023 | Car Accidents
Sideswipe collisions can occur in a wide variety of circumstances, but often take place when a driver is in the other vehicle’s blind spot. Sideswipe accidents also occur when vehicles are changing lanes. Also, weaving in and out of traffic and driving under the influence can lead to a sideswipe crash.
Driver-assisted technologies help reduce the risk of sideswipe collisions, but the risk remains. If you were involved in a sideswipe collision in Fort Worth, TX, it is essential to know what to do to protect your rights.
Steps To Take After a Sideswipe Collection in Fort Worth, TX
Drivers are required to stop and remain at an accident scene in Texas. Leaving the accident scene before exchanging information or fulfilling other legal requirements can result in hit-and-run charges.
Therefore, stop and call 911 to report the crash. If the property damage is less than $1,000 and there are no injuries, the dispatcher might advise you to self-report the accident.
Even if your vehicle sustained minor damage and you feel “okay,” it is usually in your best interest to report the accident. Having an official accident report can help with insurance claims.
Seek medical treatment for injuries in a sideswipe collision. Depending on the circumstances, you might sustain injuries that take a few hours or days to present symptoms. Something you might think is minor could develop into a serious injury that results in significant damage.
You may also want to consult a Fort Worth car accident lawyer. An attorney advises you of your rights and provides guidance on additional steps you should take after a sideswipe crash.
What Types of Injuries Do People Sustain in Sideswipe Accidents?
If you are sideswiped, you might sustain injuries. Some injuries are minor and might heal in a few weeks. However, sideswipe collisions can also cause severe injuries. Examples of injuries caused by sideswipe accidents include, but are not limited to:
- Soft tissue injuries, including sprains, strains, and pulled muscles
- Nerve damage
- Abrasions, lacerations, bumps, and bruises
- Broken bones and fractures
- Head and neck injuries
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Serious sideswipe crashes can also result in catastrophic injuries. Catastrophic injuries include traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, amputations, burns, and internal organ injuries.
What Type of Compensation Is Available for a Sideswipe Collision in Fort Worth, TX?
Texas is an at-fault state for car accidents. You must prove the other driver caused the crash to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. Accident victims can receive compensation for their economic and non-economic damages.
Examples of damages in a sideswipe accident case include, but are not limited to:
- The cost of medical treatment and future medical bills
- Loss of enjoyment of life and diminished quality of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Physical pain and suffering
- The loss of income, including lost wages and benefits
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Reduction in future earning capacity
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Property damage
- Impairments and disfigurements
Texas law also allows for punitive damages in some car accident lawsuits. The law requires that the victim prove the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or gross negligence to justify a punitive damages award. Punitive damages “punish” the at-fault party for their conduct in causing the accident.
How much your case is worth depends on many factors. The severity of your injuries and the strength of the evidence proving fault are two factors. Another factor is whether you are partially to blame for causing the sideswipe accident.
Sideswipe Accidents and Texas Contributory Fault Laws
Texas has a proportionate responsibility statute that bars victims from receiving compensation for an accident claim if the victim is more than 50% to blame for causing the crash. However, this modified contributory fault law does not bar victims who are less than 51% to blame from receiving compensation for their injuries.
Nonetheless, if you are partly to blame for the sideswipe collision, your compensation is reduced by your level of fault.
Suppose a jury awards you $100,000 for a sideswipe accident lawsuit. Further, suppose that the jurors determine you are 20% to blame for causing the crash. As a result, instead of receiving the full $100,000, the judge reduces the award to $80,000 because of your contribution to the cause of the accident.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company for a Sideswipe Accident in Fort Worth?
Dealing with an insurance adjuster after an accident can be tricky. The insurance adjuster might make a quick settlement offer for your sideswipe collision. While it may be tempting to accept the offer, you need to consider a few things.
Have you seen a doctor? If not, you might want to see your doctor to discuss injuries and the risk that you could have injuries that might not be immediately known. If you accept the settlement offer and sign a settlement agreement, you waive your right to file a lawsuit or demand more money later, even if you discover injuries after the settlement.
Are you familiar with the damages you could receive? The insurance company will not tell you if there are additional damages you could receive for your sideswipe accident claim. Instead, it will try to settle the claim for the lowest amount possible.
If you do not have a clear understanding of damages and how to evaluate them, you might want to speak with a Fort Worth sideswipe accident lawyer before accepting the settlement. Also, obtaining an independent estimate of property damage is better than accepting the insurance adjuster’s estimate.
Providing statements and answering questions for the insurance company before talking with a lawyer could hurt your case. If you say anything that could imply fault, the insurance company will allege contributory fault.
Fort Worth personal injury lawyers offer free consultations. It costs you nothing to speak with an attorney about your case. Therefore, you might want to seek an attorney’s legal opinion about your case before accepting the insurance company’s settlement offer.
CONTACT OUR CAR ACCIDENT LAW FIRM IN FORT WORTH, TX
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Fort Worth and need legal help, contact our Fort Worth car accident lawyers at Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents to schedule a free consultation.
Stephens Law Personal Injury | Wrongful Death | Truck Accidents
1300 S University Dr # 300
Fort Worth, TX 76107