Not every car accident involves two vehicles. A single car accident involves only one vehicle that ends up colliding with something or being run off the road. These single car accidents can be very dangerous, though. We meet regularly with people who have suffered horrifying injuries in a single-vehicle accident and who wonder whether they can receive compensation.
Single-vehicle accidents raise many legal issues. Liability is sometimes in dispute, because the driver is not automatically to blame even though it was a single car accident. For help with your case, contact a Las Vegas car accident attorney to review the facts.
Liability & Single-Vehicle Accidents
Some people wrongly assume that a person involved in a single vehicle accident is always at fault for the collision. This could not be farther from the truth. In reality, there might be reasons that the person was involved in the crash that has nothing to do with their own poor driving. For example:
- Road defects. A defect on the road could cause a motorist to lose control of their vehicle and crash. Defects include potholes, seams, and construction debris left in the road. Whoever is responsible for the road defect could be liable for the single-vehicle accident.
- Weather. Bad weather can contribute to collisions. For example, snow and ice make things slippery, which can force a car off the road. You can’t sue mother nature, but some entity that is responsible for clearing the road could be to blame. In any event, the driver is not at fault.
- Another vehicle. Even if a car did not collide with another vehicle, another driver could be to blame. Someone driving too closely could force a vehicle off the road. A car that stops suddenly could force a car behind to take defensive action. The vehicles might not have made contact, but the other driver is at fault for the ensuing wreck.
- Guardrail defects. Guardrails are erected to keep cars from going over an embankment. If the rail is defective, then it might collapse, and a person could be injured.
- Vehicle defects. This is a large category. Many malfunctioning parts can render a vehicle unsafe. Defects with brakes, steering columns, tires, wipers, and air bags create a dangerous situation for a motorist. Many people are injured when their vehicles fail to work as they reasonably expected.
These are only some of the most common causes of single-vehicle accidents. There may be many more. At Naqvi Injury Law, a Las Vegas car accident attorney will carefully sift through the evidence to identify what caused the wreck. We can begin with your own memories—what were you doing and what happened in the moments immediately preceding the crash. We can then visit the accident scene and possibly inspect your vehicle.
Obtaining Compensation for a Single-Vehicle Accident
Proving our client was not at fault is the first step to getting compensation. Under Nevada’s law, whenever a motorist is more than 50% to blame, the law bars their ability to obtain compensation in a lawsuit.
However, to obtain money, we need to identify the party or entity that is really to blame for the wreck. We can then seek compensation from this entity.
In some situations, the only compensation you might obtain is money to fix your car. For example, you might have collision or comprehensive insurance that can step in and pay to have your car fixed. This is at least something, though it does not cover your medical care or lost wages, to say nothing of your pain and suffering.
In other cases, we can identify someone to sue. For example, another motorist might have run you off the road. If so, you can make a claim with their insurer even though they did not strike you.
If road defects are to blame, then you might sue the government agency responsible for the road. This is a very complicated process, so work with an experienced attorney. Generally, the state and its municipalities are immune from suit, but there are exceptions for car accidents when the government has been negligent.
When a vehicle or guardrail defect is to blame, we can sue the manufacturer. This type of product liability case is also extraordinarily complex. We rely on expert witnesses to identify defects, which might not be apparent to the naked eye. Without expert testimony, it is difficult to succeed in this type of claim.
Obtaining Evidence Following a Wreck
Our success helping injured victims depends on having quality evidence in our possession that we can use to prove who is at fault in a single vehicle accident. We recommend that people do the following:
- Get the names of witnesses to the crash. These people could include anyone riding in your vehicle.
- Take a picture of any road defect. This step is critical because the defect might be fixed before you can bring suit.
- Photograph any damage you caused. If you hit someone’s mailbox, then get a picture.
You should also avoid getting your vehicle fixed if you believe a defect contributed to the crash. Let an attorney inspect your vehicle first to see if there is anything wrong with it. You will probably need to have your vehicle towed to a garage if it is unsafe to drive. But don’t have the car fixed before you begin building a legal case for compensation.
Reporting the Accident to the Authorities
Nevada law requires that motorists report accidents, and this includes any accident involving only one vehicle. Leaving the scene of an accident single car can still be a crime, so you need to follow the law by the letter.
NRS 484E.020 and 484E.040, specifically, impose a duty on a motorist to stop their vehicle immediately after damaging someone’s property. However, if the driver is blocking traffic, they can move their car out of the way. This duty applies even if the property damaged is unattended. The motorist must provide their name and address in a conspicuous location so that the owner of the property can contact them and make an insurance claim.
For example, if you run over someone’s mailbox, then you should put a note with your name and address, including phone number, on the person’s door. Also, let them know that you struck their mailbox and damaged their property. If you hit someone’s car, you can leave the note on the windshield, tucked under one of the wipers.
NRS 484E.050 also requires that the driver provide “immediate” notice to a police officer of the accident that damaged someone’s property. The law requires “the quickest” method of communicating the accident to the Nevada Highway Patrol or the nearest police office. We recommend using your cell phone to call it in.
Failure to follow these rules can have disastrous consequences. NRS 484E.080 states that a person who fails to make a report can have their license suspended for one year. If you are caught driving with a suspended license, you can face criminal penalties and suffer an even longer suspension.
Were You Involved in a Single-Vehicle Accident?
Motorists injured in single car accidents have all of the same rights as those who have been struck by another car. Many of our clients have gone on to receive substantial compensation from the person or entity that contributed to the wreck. However, we don’t recommend that victims try to bring these cases on their own.
Contact a Las Vegas car accident lawyer at Naqvi today. We can meet for a free initial consultation and review how you were injured.