Liability in a Single-Vehicle Accident
December 9, 2022
The initial link in the chain of events that resulted in the crash is referred to as the “proximate cause.” You are liable for damages if you cause a single-car collision due to your misconduct. However, there are some instances in which you can avoid liability.
It is not always simple to determine liability in a single-vehicle accident because maintenance providers or the manufacturer could be held accountable if there was negligence on their part.
If you or a loved one was recently in a single-vehicle accident and felt that a mechanical defect impaired your ability to drive, you should consider scheduling a case evaluation with an Arizona car accident attorney that specializes in such cases. Learn more about what rights you have in a single-car collision.
Determining the Cause of Single-Vehicle Accidents
Numerous factors, including careless driving, bad weather, mechanical flaws in the vehicle, and hazardous road conditions, might result in a single-vehicle accident. After you report your accident, an investigation will be conducted to determine its cause.
It is frequently discovered that the following situations lead to single-vehicle wrecks:
- Driving Under the Influence
- Distracted driving
- Defective mechanical parts
- Fatigued driving
- Avoiding an animal or object
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most single-vehicle collisions caused by speeding result in the automobile rolling over, and according to the Department of Transportation, drinking and driving increases a person’s risk of a single-car collision by roughly 30%.
Of course, even in the case of single-vehicle crashes, the driver isn’t always at fault. That’s why it’s important to consult with an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you aren’t accepting unnecessary liability.
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What If I am Liable for My Own Accident?
If you are determined to be at fault for your single-car accident, you may still be able to file a claim with your auto insurance, utilizing your personal injury protection (PIP) to cover accident-related expenses.
Your collision and comprehensive auto policies can cover the damage done. You will have to pay out of pocket if you declined such coverage. It is standard for the driver to be at-fault in single-vehicle accidents, but some exceptions won’t affect your policy rates. Insurance companies can be hesitant to share this information, but a lawyer can verify it.
Am I At Fault for an Accident If I Hit an Animal?
There are a few scenarios where you may not be held liable for your single-car accident involving an animal. If you swerved to avoid hitting the animal and accidentally made an impact with another car or object or overturned your vehicle, your insurance company may use your comprehensive coverage to cover the damages.
Each state varies in how insurance companies determine an at-fault accident involving animals. To be sure, you can verify with your car insurance provider or ask an Arizona car insurance accident attorney during a free consultation.
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Exceptions to Claiming Liability in a Single-Vehicle Accident
Depending on the nature of the car collision and the insurance company that you use, some exceptions may allow you to avoid liability in a single-vehicle accident. Those at-fault exemptions include:
1. Crashing From Trying to Avoid a More Serious Accident
If a negligent driver was texting and driving and ended up drifting into your lane, and you crashed trying to avoid a collision with them, you would not be held liable for the single-car collision.
You would need to prove that the other driver was demonstrating reckless behavior, which may be challenging if they denied responsibility and kept driving. With the help of a single-vehicle accident lawyer in Arizona, traffic camera footage can be requested to catch the distracted driver.
2. Extremely Hazardous Road Conditions
If you are driving on a road and an unreasonable and unsafe condition – such as an unmarked construction zone or a water-filled pothole – is to blame for your car collision, you may be able to file a claim against your local government municipality that is in charge of maintaining the roads.
Be prepared to fight an uphill battle, as this often leads to a back-and-forth in which the organization may shift blame to you. If this happens, an Arizona accident lawyer specializing in unsafe road conditions can make a compelling argument to help you avoid fault.
3. Vehicle Malfunction
If a vehicle flaw or piece of equipment malfunction contributed to your single-car accident, you may be able to avoid responsibility. Here, it’s essential that the flaw or failure must occur suddenly and without warning.
In situations like this, the manufacturer or last mechanic to fix your car may be held accountable for the collision rather than you. It is highly advised to retain the legal services of a law firm that has won in cases like this, as there will be pushback if a recall notice is issued or a service repair recommendation is declined.
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Defending Yourself Following a Single-Vehicle Accident in Arizona
If you can prove that someone else’s negligence or an unpredictable hazard was the cause of your single-car collision, you may be able to evade liability with the help of an experienced personal injury attorney in Arizona.
For single-car accidents with severe damage or injury, a police report must be filed. When speaking with authorities, be careful not to admit fault. Stick to the details of your incident.
Following the accident, seek medical attention to ensure that you are healthy, and then speak with an attorney if you have questions on how to proceed. Contact Zanes Law today to book a free consultation.