Improper lane change collisions are one of the leading causes of accidents in South Florida. There are many factors that may contribute to a driver making the decision to change…
Sideswipe and Merging Car Accidents in Miami, FL
A sideswipe or merging accident is a collision between two vehicles that are traveling in the same direction where the right side of one vehicle impacts with the left side of the other. These collisions typically occur because one of the two vehicles involved moved out of the lane it was traveling in when it was unsafe to do so. These collisions can be extremely dangerous, especially when they occur on highways at high speeds, because neither vehicle is typically aware that the collision is about to occur and, therefore, they are both unprepared. The surprise of the impact can cause the impacted vehicles to lose control or overcompensate while trying to maintain control. This can easily lead to a chain of events where the vehicles swerve from their lanes and impact other vehicles, guardrails or objects or even slam on the brakes resulting in a rear end collision. Thus, it is important to understand the causes of these accidents and what to do when they happen.
Causes of Sideswipe Car Accidents in Miami, FL
While many sideswipes and merging accidents only cause property damage, including unsightly scratches and jammed doors, many other sideswipe accidents can be deadly, especially those when the cars are both traveling at a high rate of speed. Sideswipe accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, but the most common scenarios include:
- Distracted driver texting, playing with his phone, stereo or navigation system • Distracted driving eating on the road
- Distracted driving applying makeup or grooming their hair
- Distracted driver on the phone that doesn’t look for their blind spot when making a lane change
- High-clearance vehicle that fails to look for smaller vehicle next to them during a lane change
- Intoxicated driver that fails to maintain their lane
- Angry driver who purposefully sideswipes another car in a fit of road rage
- Merging sideswipe, when a car merges onto another road or highway and fails to yield
Lane Change Laws in Miami, Florida
Drivers in their lane of traffic have no duty to yield to incoming cars entering their lane. Instead, those drivers changing lanes may only do so when safe. The idea of what exactly is “safe” depends on the specific situation at hand. Proving that the other driver made an unsafe move and thus is at fault for the accident is one of the key steps to receiving compensation in a lawsuit for a lane change accident. Drivers have a duty to make sure that it is safe to change lanes before doing so. Florida Statute § 316.085(2) states that drivers must check to ensure that no one is passing them or approaching them before they move into another lane. Additionally, subsection 1 of the statute requires drivers only to change lanes to pass when the road is clear and visible, and it requires drivers to return to their original lane of travel soon after passing. To ensure that the other lane is clear, drivers must only change lanes when there is sufficient space in the next lane. If you have only a small amount of space in front of you or behind you, another driver should not try to squeeze into that space. If they try to do so, it may cause them to strike your car or force you to brake suddenly, potentially leading to you getting rear-ended or losing control of your vehicle.
Who is at Fault for Unsafe Lane Changing Accidents?
Every type of car accident comes with its own set of complexities when trying to determine liability. Sideswipe and merging accidents are no different. If you’re following the rules of the road and are hit on the side of your vehicle, you may think proving the other driver’s fault and receiving fair compensation will be simple. Sadly, these types of accidents can be hard to prove because the resulting damage doesn’t always paint a clear picture of what happened. In order to receive compensation for your injuries, it’s important to understand what a sideswipe or merging accident is, why they happen, and how liability is determined in the state of Florida. In a personal injury case, a driver who is assigned 50% fault for the accident or less is eligible to recover damages. However, the total amount of compensation that the driver can recover will be reduced according to the level of fault. For example, a driver who is found to be 25% at fault for an accident can recover 75% of the total compensation they’re eligible to receive, while a driver who has no responsibility for the accident and is 0% at fault can recover 100% of eligible compensation.
Protecting Your Rights After a Sideswipe or Merging Accident
Sideswipe or merging accidents can cause serious damage to your vehicle and can cause you to sustain severe physical injuries. Your attorney will need sufficient time to investigate the causes of your accident, and for this reason it is important to contact a sideswipe or merging accident lawyer as soon as possible if you or a loved one has been involved in an accident. Florida’s statute of limitations law could lead to your case being dismissed if you wait too long to seek damages. We have over 19 years of experience in representing clients seeking compensation from those responsible for their car accident injuries. Our lawyers have helped many families negotiate with the insurance companies involved to recover damages, and we will be prepared to handle your case from start to finish.
Call our Miami Sideswipe or Merging Accident Lawyers Today!
Understanding Florida law and a personal injury case are best left to the experts. Factors such as the state’s no-fault law when it comes to insurance and medical expenses are tricky. If you or a loved was injured in a car accident due to another driver making an improper lane change, you may have grounds for legal action. The Law Offices of Suarez & Montero represents accident victims injured in various types of accidents. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Navigating the legal process alone is confusing and downright stressful. When you’re involved in a car accident or another crash caused by negligent driving, talk to a car accident attorney about your options going forward. There is no replacement for quality legal advice after being involved in a car accident.
The car accident attorneys at Suarez and Montero would love to have an opportunity to explain the law in Florida to assist you in presenting a strong claim against the at fault party. Every firm is distinctive and auto accident victims have needs that are also distinct. The Florida auto accident attorneys at Suarez & Montero encourage you to reach out so that we can explain more about the different ways that our law firm and attorneys can provide legal help and guidance after an auto accident.
Make an appointment with us at one of our many locations. Remember, we work on a contingency basis so you will owe us nothing If we are unable to obtain successful results for your case. The attorneys at Suarez & Montero can meet with you to discuss further. always available to talk with you and answer your questions. Our skillful attorneys are genuinely committed to our clients. We will fight to make sure that you get the maximum amount of compensation owed to you. Let us help you get the medical care you need and fight to make sure you are compensated for your injuries! Our attorneys are ready to provide proven legal representation in pursuing your claim and stand ready to protect your rights. We are available 24/7 to give you a free, no risk case consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Sideswipe accidents occur when the sides of two vehicles – which are traveling in the same or opposite direction – make impact. The two vehicles make contact, usually when one driver tries to make a lane change and doesn’t see that there’s another car in his blind spot. It doesn’t take much to sustain an injury when a vehicle is struck from the side.
Serious injuries can occur even at low speeds to several different parts of the body in the case of a side impact collision, including:
• upper arm
These types of injuries are a result of your body’s impact with the side door panel, windows, armrests, and other parts of the car in the area of the accident. While some of these injuries are minor lacerations or fractures, other side impact injuries can be lifethreatening to the brain, muscles, bones, and internal organs resulting in years of recovery or even permanent disabilities.
At least $10,000 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage— also known as no-fault insurance—is required by Florida law for everyone registering a vehicle in Florida. The coverage is available to cover the medical expenses, lost wages, and death benefits of the insured, those living in the household of the insured, and those traveling in the insured’s car who do not have a PIP policy of their own. Most of the time, your adult children, adult passengers, and adult friends who borrow your car will have a PIP policy of their own. PIP policies cover up to 80 percent of qualified medical expenses up to the limit of the policy, including:
- Ambulatory costs
- Medical services
- Surgery costs
- Hospital expenses
- Diagnostic services
- Rehabilitation services
Every personal injury case and wrongful death case is different. First, it is important to understand that it is essential that another person or entity be at-fault before you can receive an award of compensatory damages or punitive damages. Pre-existing medical problems can complicate the ability of a doctor to determine what injuries were caused in an accident and what was pre-existing. The severity of the accident impacts the ability to prove certain types of injuries. The amount of medical bills and lost wages is an important factor and many times those matters are unknown at the time of an initial meeting. Likewise, it is almost impossible to truly value a personal injury case while medical treatment is still underway. This is because the full nature and extent of the injuries on the life of the injured person is unknown.
Simply stated it is a letter that outlines your case and why the targeted defendant and/or insurance company is responsible for your damages. Supporting documents such as medical records, radiological films, tax records, wage information, and expert reports are attached to the demand letter.
Where an applicant for automobile insurance rejects UM/UIM coverage and the insurance company receives the application in such form, the insured cannot recover under those coverages that were not included in the policy. By statute, the insured’s initial rejection or reduction of UM/UIM coverage is usually effective for subsequent policy renewals, replacements, or substitutions unless the insured requests UM/UIM coverage from the insurer in writing.