Lane Change and Side Swipe

In addition to rear-end collisions and intersectional collisions, personal injuries oftentimes result when one vehicle makes an improper lane change and makes contact with the vehicle in the adjacent lane. There may be a presumption of negligence on the part of the lane-changing vehicle. Before a lane change is attempted, the driver has a duty to make sure it is safe to do so. Liability may arise when a driver side swipes another vehicle and fails to accomplish the lane change in a safe and prudent manner.

The offending driver’s insurance company may attempt to minimize any injuries suffered by the other vehicle arguing that the impact forces are low since the vehicles were traveling in the same direction. This argument is made even when there is significant property damage to the vehicles involved. Insurance adjuster’s routinely decline these claims or try to settle them for unreasonably low amounts.

The offending driver’s insurance company will try to use the fact that the emergency room x-rays are negative and therefore justify a low or no settlement. What the insurance adjuster will not tell you is that an x-ray can be perfectly “normal” and the victim will have suffered a bulging or herniated disc in the spine. A quick settlement based on a strain or sprain should be avoided if the victim is still experiencing difficulty. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test may be the best diagnostic tool for evaluating injuries to the spine.

In reality, the victims of these accidents may experience a significant jolt or jerking motion that can cause significant neck and low back injuries. Just because the x-rays done at the emergency room are normal does not mean a significant injury has not occurred. X-rays cannot identify injuries such as bulging or herniations to disc and other structures of the spine.


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