Single Vehicle Car Accidents
A Houston Lawyer Can Help Establish Liability
If you were the only one involved in an accident, the conclusion that follows might be that you were the at-fault party. This is not necessarily true. Liability in single-vehicle accidents is not always as simple as it may seem. If you were involved in a collision, a Houston lawyer from Stern Law Group may be able to help you. In these types of accidents, a driver typically runs off the road or onto the shoulder for some reason, colliding with a fixed object. These are classified as run-off-road (ROR) crashes. Statistically, 70 percent of all fatal single-vehicle crashes are ROR crashes. The other 30 percent of single vehicle accidents are on-road (OR) crashes, which means that the vehicle remained on the road after it crashed.
According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report on single-vehicle and run-off-road accidents, a number of factors can contribute to or cause single vehicle accidents, including:
- Fatigue or impairment
- Roadway defects
- Incorrect or defective signs or signals
- High speed or reckless driving
- Adverse weather conditions
When You Might Be At Fault
When drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or even take their mind off of the present situation, distracted driving accidents can occur. These accidents don't always have to involve another vehicle. The most prevalent type of distracted driving accident is texting while driving, but other distracted driving practices include eating, changing the radio station and even daydreaming. If you were driving while distracted, then you will likely be fully liable for the accident.
Speeding was a factor in 90 percent of ROR crashes. Because speeding is a moving violation, drivers who speed and get involved in single-vehicle collisions are personally liable. However, if speeding was only a partial factor in the collision, then you may not be totally liable for the accident.
ROR and OR crashes are more likely when the weather conditions are poor. Drivers must take extreme precautions when driving in dangerous weather. When drivers aren't cautious in bad weather such as rain, fog, and even sun glare, they can be the cause of their own accident. In some cases, cities are responsible for putting up warning signs, closing off dangerous roads, etc. If you were involved in this type of accident because a road wasn't scraped, closed or didn't have adequate warning signs, then you may not be totally liable.
Two other major causes of single vehicle accidents are falling asleep at the wheel and drunk driving, which would both be the driver's own fault. Now, consider some scenarios in which the driver may not be personally liable for a single vehicle crash.
When the Fault Isn't Yours
Poor Road Conditions
Potholes and overall poorly maintained roads could have been the cause of your single vehicle collision. According to the NHTSA survey, curved roads are more likely to be the scene of ROR crashes when compared to roads that are flat and do not curve. Crashes of this type are also more likely on rural roads and roads with fewer lanes. Rural roads are more likely to be poorly maintained, which could account for the increase in ROR and OR accident rates.
Auto product liability is somewhat rare when compared to the other causes of auto accidents, but it is a possible cause of single vehicle accidents. If your vehicle or a part on your vehicle was defective, and that defective car part caused an accident, then you may not be held liable.
Inadequate Road Signs
The purpose of road signs is to warn drivers. "Icy Road," "Sharp Turn" and reduced speed signs, when headed, help drivers operate their vehicles safely. When there isn't a road sign where there should be a road sign, or signs are obstructed, serious accidents can occur.
Consult a Houston Attorney for Free
Were you involved in a single-vehicle accident? These cases can be complex. Whether you have already started your auto accident claim with your insurance company or you haven't yet begun this process, a Houston attorney from our firm may be able to assist. Contact us so that we can give you a free initial evaluation of your case. You may be entitled to legal representation, so be sure to call today!