Single-Car Accidents: Are You at Fault?
Not all vehicle accidents involve more than one car. With single-car accidents, many assumed that the driver is at fault — which is not always the case. If you have been in a single-car accident, determining who is really at fault is necessary before you can begin legal proceedings to get the settlement you deserve.
Liability refers to the party or parties ultimately responsible for the accident. The liable parties typically fall under one of three headings — vehicle manufacturers, property owners, or another person on the road.
Defects with the vehicle or with a part on the vehicle, like the tires, can shift fault from you to the manufacturer. Who is to blame depends on what components caused the accident and whether you were aware of a problem.
For example, if tires well within their service life blew out and caused the accident, the tire manufacturer may be liable. If those tires came with the car, the car manufacturer may also be at fault.
On the other hand, if a known recall was available for the tires and you did not follow through with recommended replacement, the fault may still lie with you.
Potholes, missing or inaccurate signage, or poor road conditions may not be your fault, but suing the government agency in charge of the infrastructure can be difficult due to sovereign immunity laws. The immunity laws were designed to protect taxpayer-funded local, state, and federal entities.
The good news is that sovereign immunity does have contingencies that must be met in order to apply to an accident, but certain protocols must be followed when trying to assign liability against a government agency. A lawyer can help you determine if your case meets these protocols for your state.
You do not have to hit another driver for that driver to be the cause of your accident. If you swerve to miss someone making an illegal turn and lose control of your vehicle, for example, the driver making the turn could still be at fault.
The challenge in cases where the at-fault driver experienced no injuries is that you must provide proof of their fault. If no witnesses were around, especially if the other driver left the scene, it may be difficult to prove the other driver is at fault.
Simply placing the blame on another party is not enough to establish fault. You must have some reasonable evidence that another party is at fault first.
Accident Scene Documentation
Information taken at the scene of the accident as soon as it occurs can often carry the most weight in court when assigning fault. Take pictures with your cell phone immediately after the accident if you are able to do so. You need photos from multiple angles of both the car and the entire area in which the accident occurred.
Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident so your lawyer can contact them later. Keep in mind that witnesses do not have to be actual people, as video footage can also act as a witness. You can often find security footage at nearby businesses that may have captured the accident. Dashcam video is also admissible as evidence in Texas.
Professionals like mechanics can help provide documentation of fault, particularly if a manufacturing issue caused the accident. Your lawyer can determine which, if any, professional input could help your case when pursuing the at-fault party.
If you have been in a single-car accident and are in need of legal help, contact us for a free consultation today.