Single Vehicle Accident Liability
FLORIDA HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST TRAFFIC DEATH RATES PER 100,000 RESIDENTS AT 14.7. 52% OF FATAL CRASHES INVOLVED A SINGLE VEHICLE.
What Is a Single-Vehicle Accident?
Liability (Fault) In a Single-Car Accident
Single-car accidents are also no different than other traffic accidents in the sense that there’s always an underlying cause. It’s certainly true that the driver is often found at fault for the accident, but there are plenty of scenarios in which blame for a single-vehicle accident lies elsewhere.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because you’re alone in your vehicle at the scene of your accident, that doesn’t mean:
– You were the only driver (or person) involved
– Yours was the only vehicle involved, or
– The accident scene tells the complete story of how your crash happened.
When Is the Driver in a Single Vehicle Accident Not Liable?
Let’s look at a couple of examples of when a driver in a single-vehicle accident might not be negligent in connection with the crash, and therefore might avoid liability.
1. The Driver Hits An Object On Or Along The Side Of The Road (like a guardrail or a tree)
2. The driver swerves to avoid another vehicle
A pedestrian, an animal, a road hazard, or something else, and runs off the road or the vehicle rolls over, spins out, or leaves the road, due to the driver’s loss of control of the vehicle or some other cause.
As with any other kind of car accident, the things you do in the immediate aftermath of the crash (and in the days following) will play a crucial part in any insurance claim or legal action you decide to pursue.
3. Crashes Caused By Road Conditions
With the prevalence of road construction and road problems in our area, it may be that the single-car crash was caused by unreasonable road conditions. Florida generally has very poorly maintained roads that may cause car crashes. Generally, these claims are difficult because they must be brought against government agencies that are protected by Florida law. These suits require many additional procedural steps and are difficult to win. This must be investigated by an experienced lawyer.
If the crash was caused by defective construction or construction practices, a claim against a road contractor may be investigated. As with all these cases, a thorough investigation must be undertaken as soon as possible, so the state of the conditions can be preserved before they are repaired. Such road defects may include unreasonable drop-offs, missing or damaged guardrails, and missing or damaged warning signs.
4. Crashes Caused By Animals
If a domesticated animal strays into the roadway and caused a single-car crash the owner of the animal may be liable. This includes dogs and the claims may be covered by some homeowners insurance.
Similarly, if livestock wanders onto the road and is struck by a vehicle, the owner of the livestock may be liable if negligence is proven by the injured party. While there is no absolute duty to fence in animals like cows and horses, failure to the fence may be evidence of negligence leading to liability for injuries. An experienced lawyer will investigate and try and find insurance for the loss.
5. Crashes Caused By Falling Unsecured Material Or Debris
On our highways, we see many large trucks and many smaller trucks carrying material in the back of the trucks. Often the material is not properly secured, which may lead to it falling out at highway speeds. This may cause a crash due to direct impact or impact caused by attempting to avoid the falling material or debris. In such a situation, an injured motorist may seek compensation from the owner and or driver of the offending vehicle. If there is not sufficient insurance from the at-fault party, then the injured driver may seek damages from his own uninsured/underinsured motorist(UM) coverage.
6. Claims By Passengers
If a single-car crash is caused by the negligence of a driver, then injured passengers may seek compensation from the driver or from UM insurance. In all such cases, medical bills will be handled by no-fault(PIP) up to the limits of coverage.
Just because a car crash does not involve another vehicle, there may be a claim against a negligent party who caused the crash. Such claims involve careful investigation and the skills and expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
If you’ve been the victim of an accident, it’s important that you don’t make any rash decisions. Put yourself in the best possible position to receive the justice you deserve. It is also important to consult with a Board Certified Trial lawyer who has the knowledge and experience to help you. We know accidents can be stressful and want to make the process as easy as possible for you. Call Zarzaur Law, P.A. today at (855) Hire-Joe, or by requesting a free case review through our website.