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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What You Should Know About Liability in a Single Vehicle Accident

A car accident in Indianapolis can be one of the worst things to be involved in considering the implications it may have on your life going forward. While there are simple fender benders that involve nothing more than some light damage, in other cases, things are a lot more serious.


Those involved in the accident could end up with severe injuries and be confined to their homes, leaving them unable to work and earn. There may even be a consistent course of medical care required for some time.


In fact, some effects of a car accident can be permanent. For example, those involved may experience total permanent paralysis.


Under normal circumstances, there will be multiple vehicles involved in the occurrence where fault in chain reaction car accidents needs determined, but what about cases in which there is only one vehicle? This may sound odd, but this is the principle of single-car accidents, which is what will be covered here today.


What Is a Single-car Accident?

What Is a Single-car Accident?


In these kinds of incidents, there isn't a typical collision between two vehicles. Instead, the accident will only involve the primary vehicle and can occur in a series of ways, including:

  1. Hitting animals

  2. Distracted driving, which leads to hitting some kind of object

  3. Running off the road

  4. Running over debris

  5. Colliding with trees or rocks

While there will usually only be one vehicle involved, accidents are often considered to fall under this umbrella when pedestrians or bicyclists are hurt too. Note, however, that when there is third-party property damage, such as to a building or a parked vehicle, these are not considered single-vehicle accidents. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also help explain a t bone accident who is at fault.


How the Insurance Claim Equation Usually Works


Depending on the car insurance company and the type of insurance held, it may be more or less difficult to get through the claims process after this kind of accident.


For example, the driver involved may have personal injury protection and collision insurance. In this case, there will be payment for cases in which there were factors that the driver had no control over that led to the accident.


However, for this to work out, the right coverage needs to have been in place, to begin with, and there must be enough information to prove that the cause of the accident is what the driver claims it to be.

As you would expect, fault in these kinds of accidents tends to be assigned to the driver since they are deemed to be in the best position to have avoided the occurrence altogether. However, the circumstances matter greatly. Here are some examples of circumstances in which the driver of the primary vehicle will be held liable for the accident:

  • Speeding

  • Driving while fatigued

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Not abiding by traffic laws

  • Cases in which the accident is caused by an operator error on the part of the driver.


What Kinds of Single Vehicle Crashes Are Not the Driver's Fault?


While there are many cases in which the driver will be assigned fault for any damages or car accident injuries that arise from the incident, there are others in which that rule wouldn't apply. Some of the examples of these are provided below.


Road Conditions

Sometimes, the condition of the road contributes to what took place and there was nothing that the driver could realistically have done to avoid the accident. However, even this is not foolproof. If the driver was aware of the fact that road conditions were less than ideal and did not slow down or take appropriate action, then an at-fault ruling may apply.


Dodging Accidents

There are cases in which there was a negligent driver in another vehicle that was about to cause an accident and the primary vehicle ended up in a single-vehicle accident after swerving to avoid that one. In these cases, the fault may be assigned to the other driver who would've caused the initial accident if it happened.


Hitting Animals

This will depend on the circumstances and the behavior of the animal. The reality is that some animals are very unpredictable and will create unavoidable situations where they are hit. In these cases, the driver will not be considered at fault.


Vehicle Defect

This will depend on what kind of vehicle defects are applicable. For example, if a vehicle has become defective because of poor maintenance, then the driver would still be held responsible. However, if a component such as the brakes were to malfunction because of an error at the time of manufacture, then the maker of the vehicle could be held liable instead.


Student Drivers

Student drivers are not under the same burden of expectations as a licensed driver. However, this does not mean that they aren't expected to exercise due care on the roadway. Typically, vehicles used for driver's ed purposes will have dual controls, which will allow the instructor to step in if the student is about to make a mistake. In vehicles with this kind of setup, the instructor may be held completely liable or jointly liable with the student, depending on how the crash happened.


Leaving the Scene of a Single Vehicle Crash Is a Terrible Idea

Leaving the Scene of a Single Vehicle Crash Is a Terrible Idea


Whether you have liability insurance or some other kind of auto insurance or not that would cover you, leaving the scene of an accident before the police get a report and record the incident is a terrible idea. Even in cases where the driver may not have been at fault, it's still a terrible idea to leave prematurely.


That's because the police can end up classifying such an action as a "hit and run." The circumstances under which it's acceptable to leave the scene are limited, so it's best to not do so. For more insight on this contact a car accident lawyer in Indianapolis.


Schedule a Free Case Evaluation with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in Indianapolis Today!


Single-vehicle accidents can be a bit weird to deal with, especially because of the kinds of circumstances that will lead to them. However, the best outcome will come from appropriately navigating the legalities.


Get the assistance of a passionate car accident attorney in Indianapolis today! Call Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys!

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