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A 16-year-old driver swerved to miss another car and hit a third car head-on injuring both drivers. The crash happened around 7 a.m., Thursday, March 7, 2019, on Highway 54, two miles east of Athol. The 16-year-old driver was driving westbound in a 2005 Honda Civic when a 2002 Honda Civic entered the highway from a private driveway right into the path of a the 2005 Civic.

The driver of the 2005 Civic swerved to miss the 2002 Civic and then crossed the centerline of Highway 54 and hit a 2006 Dodge Ram pickup head-on. Both the driver of the 2005 Civic and the pickup were taken to Kootenai Health while the driver of the third car wasn’t injured.

 “Swerve” Accidents

A swerve accident is one where a driver causes another to swerve to avoid a collision who then crashes into another car or an object causing injury. These accidents can be just as dangerous as any other type of accident even though at least one collision was avoided. There are many types of accidents that occur where one driver served to avoid another car or a person. Some of the more common ones are:

  • Head-on Collision: On two-lane highways, drivers are often going over 50 miles-per-hour and a swerve will put them into the oncoming lane.
  • Rollover: The car that serves will often rollover when the tires hit something that pushes the wheels under the car causing the car to flip.
  • Guardrail/Fence/Object: Many times the car that swerves will crash into something like a guardrail or a fence or maybe a parked or abandon car on the side of the road. Just about any object can be struck and cause damage and injury to the car and driver.
  • Sideswipe/Chain Reaction: On multi-lane highways and freeways, often times a car will swerve and hit another car’s side and maybe propel that car off the road or even into another car.

Swerve Accident Liability

Often times, the car that “caused” the accident but didn’t collide with anything takes off feeling that it wasn’t their fault. However, many times it was their fault. In all accidents, the “at-fault” driver is the one that was negligent in the operation of their vehicle. So if a car pulled out in front of another car who had the right-of-way, then the driver of the first car was negligent.

Now if the car hit the negligent driver’s car, this would be a typical two-car accident. However, if the driver of the car was able to swerve to avoid the collision with that driver and hit a guardrail, then it wouldn’t make sense to say the driver who negligently pulled in front of another car shouldn’t be responsible for their actions.

Sometimes the car that swerved will hit third car. Then the liability can get a bit confusing. From the prospective of the driver of the third car, the swerve car came over the centerline and hit them, so it’s clearly not their fault. But is it only the fault of the driver who was able to swerve to avoid an accident? Courts have the final say in which driver bears responsibility, and the law allows them to put all the blame on the car that made the second car swerve, or they can decide the car that swerved was negligent or divide the fault between the drivers

Do I need and Attorney?

Don’t be fooled by an insurance company or their lawyers who tell you that there is no claim because their client’s car never actually struck your car. Call an attorney who can help you with your claim. Bottom line, the fault lies with the person who was negligent, and just because the insurance company says their client wasn’t negligent, doesn’t make it so.

You need to at least talk to an attorney that knows the laws regarding swerve accidents and can advise you and evaluate your case. Then if you feel you can go it on your own, then at least you will be informed. If you decide on getting representation, choosing the right attorney is vital to your chances of getting fair compensation.

Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., serve clients in Spokane, WA, Coeur d’Alene, ID, and surrounding communities. They can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call them at (509) 926 4900, or send them a message by clicking here.

CCD Law