Single Car Accident: Am I Always at Fault?
You’ve had quite a day. You lost your job. Your favorite TV show was canceled. Your girlfriend just broke up with you. Now you’ve been in a car accident and wrapped yourself around a telephone pole. You know you have no one to blame but yourself. Being in a solo vehicle collision brings up a number of important questions. Are you criminally liable if you hit something while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Do you even have insurance? Perhaps the most important question, if you’re in a single car accident, is: Am I always at fault? The answer depends on a few factors.
Single Car Accident Definition
While the most common car accidents involve two or more vehicles, there are times when an accident involves only your car. For example, let’s say you swerve to avoid an animal in the roadway and you end up hitting a fire hydrant or slam into a building. You will be held at fault for the accident most of time; but if you can prove the collision was the result of someone else’s negligence or a vehicle defect, you may be able to claim damages or shift the fault elsewhere.
Sometimes cars have manufacturing defects. Maybe there were faulty brakes or poor alignment and the car didn’t operate the way it should. In most states you will be able to file a product liability lawsuit and recover any damages you sustain as a result of the manufacturer’s negligence. The manufacturer would in turn be liable to anyone injured or any property damaged as a result of the accident.
Poor Road Design or Maintenance
Maybe your accident was the result of a stoplight malfunctioning or simply not working or deep potholes in the roadway. If your accident is the result of poor road design or failure to maintain the roadways, you may be able to sue the city, county, or other government entity responsible for the upkeep of these areas. While it isn’t always apparent who is at fault in these situations, an experienced attorney will be able to assist you.
The "Unavoidable" Accident
There are other times when another person, motorist, or cyclist does something negligent and it forces you to respond quickly, thus getting into a single car accident. For instance, let's say a cyclist pulls out into the roadway without looking, swerving into your lane. Your first reaction is to avoid the rider, but if you end up hitting something (other than the negligent cyclist such as a guardrail or stop sign) the cyclist may be held liable for the accident. Keep in mind, much of this depends on the negligence laws in your state, so be sure you understand the law before filing a lawsuit or claim.
DUIs and Single Car Accidents
Drunk people driving cars hit things. This is true whether it is a stop sign or a parked car. In these types of situations, if you are found guilty of the DUI, you will likely owe restitution to repair any damage as a result of your criminal activity. Whether or not your insurance company will cover you for the damage depends specifically on your plan.
Single Car Accident: Am I Always At Fault? Related Resources
- After a Car Accident: First Steps
- Documents to Show your Attorney after a Motor Vehicle Accident
- Insurance Claims After a Car Accident: The Basics
Are You at Fault for a Single-Car Accident? Get Professional Legal Help
Because there are so many variables involved in a solo vehicle collision, it is best to speak with an attorney before paying money to anyone for damages that you caused. This is particularly important if you have injuries of your own. A qualified car accident attorney in your area will be able to assist you in reviewing the situation.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.