When considering vehicle accidents, most people think of accidents involving more than one vehicle, such as a head-on collision between a car and a truck. However, single-vehicle accidents are more common and can have catastrophic effects. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in 2020, single-vehicle crashes accounted for 57% of Nevada’s fatal vehicle crashes.
If you’ve been involved in a single-vehicle accident, you may have many questions about your accident. For example, does it qualify as a single-vehicle accident? Is it treated the same as a multi-vehicle accident? What if the government or a property owner is at fault? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.
What Qualifies as a Single-Vehicle Accident?
In Las Vegas, a single-vehicle accident is any accident that damages only one vehicle, usually the vehicle being driven. The accident may also cause damage to someone else’s property. Common causes of single-vehicle accidents include:
- Spinning out of control and colliding with a signpost, retaining wall, tree, or another inanimate object.
- Being run off the road into a ditch or embankment.
- Swerving to avoid hitting a pedestrian, another motorist, or a moving object.
- Driving into a pothole that damages the undercarriage of your vehicle.
Are Single-Vehicle Accidents Treated as Multi-Vehicle Accidents?
Single-vehicle accidents are treated similarly to multi-vehicle accidents and those involving pedestrians. If you’re involved in a single-vehicle accident, you have the same legal right to seek compensation from a liable third party for your damages as motorists and pedestrians who are involved in other types of vehicle accidents.
You also have a legal responsibility to report your accident to law enforcement immediately if the accident has caused damage to a third party’s property or if your passenger sustained injuries. You must also notify the owner of any property you may have damaged. If there are no injuries or damage to another person’s property, you’re still required to complete an SR-1 or a Report of Traffic Crash with law enforcement within ten days of your accident.
As is the case with multi-vehicle accidents, the person who’s responsible for causing the accident will typically be held liable. However, the laws governing single-vehicle accidents presume that the fault for the accident lies with the driver of the damaged vehicle unless a third party is found to be partially or wholly responsible.
When Is a Driver Liable for a Single-Vehicle Accident?
In most single-vehicle accidents, the cause of the accident is due to the actions or inaction of the vehicle’s driver. Single-vehicle crashes frequently occur when drivers:
- Fail to comply with traffic signs, lights, and driving laws.
- Drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications.
- Ignore traffic and weather conditions.
- Exceed the speed limit.
- Get distracted or ignore the road.
- Drive while drowsy.
- Fail to maintain their vehicle properly.
- Act carelessly or recklessly.
When Is the Driver Not at Fault?
Even with careful, diligent driving, full adherence to driving and traffic laws, and due to no action of the driver, accidents occur. In these cases, the driver is not at fault, and either another party may be liable, or no one may be liable at all. Common causes of single-vehicle accidents include:
Sudden downpours and extremely windy weather can occur at any time. Bad weather can block your vision, cause the road to become slippery, or blow debris in your path.
There Are Defects or Debris in the Road
Failure to maintain the roads can result in large cracks, potholes, and other debris on the road, which can obstruct your path or cause a collision.
The Actions of Another Motorist
Another driver speeding past you, driving too close to you, or suddenly stopping can cause you to swerve to avoid colliding with them. Even if you don’t collide with the other driver’s vehicle, the other driver may be liable if they were acting carelessly.
Your Vehicle is Defective
Vehicle defects are more common than you think. When your car doesn’t work as expected, it could be due to a defect or glitch. Defective or malfunctioning brakes, tires, or airbags can lead to a collision or rollover, damaging your vehicle and injuring you.
Can Someone Else, Such as a Property Owner or the State, Be at Fault?
There are a few instances in which you’ll not be held liable for your single-vehicle accident, and a third party, such as a property owner or the government, will be at fault. A property owner may be liable if their conduct or inaction contributed to your accident, such as if they failed to maintain a roadway they’re responsible for; failed to maintain their retaining wall or fence, meaning it created a hazard on the road; or failed to secure cargo or debris from their property, which then blew onto the road.
Like a property owner, the government or state may be liable for your accident if they failed to maintain their roads, including fixing potholes and ensuring roads are clear of debris, poor road designs, lack of traffic signage, and failing to maintain guardrails.
If your accident was caused by the conduct of another motorist or pedestrian, they might be at fault. For example, if a bicyclist runs a red light when you have the right of way, and to avoid him, you make a sharp left turn and collide with a homeowner’s side fence. The bicyclist is liable for the damages because they ignored the traffic light.
How Can De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers Help You?
Navigating a single-vehicle accident case can be difficult, and you have enough to worry about. If you’re involved in a single-vehicle accident, contact one of De Castroverde Personal Injury & Accident Lawyers’ experienced and dedicated attorneys today. We’ll help you retain your legal rights with knowledgeable and superior personal injury law representation and handle every step of your accident case to make things easier.