Single Car Accidents May Still Provide a Basis for Financial Recovery


April 07, 2014

When motorists contemplate the risk of fatal motor vehicle accidents, common images that probably come to mind involve scenarios like drunk drivers speeding the wrong way on the freeway who slam into another vehicle head-on. While many people die in multi-vehicle collisions, studies have shown that the majority of fatal highway crashes involve only a single vehicle. Researchers from AAA-Mid-Atlantic studied almost 8,000 fatal crashes over a five year period covering three states and found that almost 59 percent of the collisions in which someone died involved only a single vehicle. Families of those who die in single vehicle accidents can face serious financial hardships from the loss of a loved one along with the grief and anguish of losing a family member. Some families in this situation incorrectly assume that they cannot seek financial compensation for their loss because there was no other driver involved in the collision.

While negligent drivers engaged in a range of unsafe driving practices like speeding, tailgating, reckless driving, distracted driving and other forms of unsafe operation of a motor vehicle cause the majority of accidents, there are situations where third parties may be liable for a single vehicle crash. Many single vehicle crashes occur because of dangerous roads with hazards created by the design, construction or maintenance of the roadway. These road defects can include a broad range of hazards that may make a single vehicle collision more likely, such as:

  • Blind curves
  • Roadway drop-offs without guardrails
  • Obscured or missing road signs
  • Uneven pavement
  • Unsafe construction zones

These are just a few examples of road defects that can contribute to a single vehicle collision. In some circumstance, public entities who are responsible for maintaining such roadways may be liable for hazardous roads that present an unreasonable risk of harm to motorists that the public entity knows or should know exists. Constructive knowledge of the hazard may be imputed to a public entity based on a variety of facts like the length of time the hazard has been present, past accidents that have occurred on the stretch of roadway or inadequate attempts to rectify the problem on prior occasions. While the insurance companies and defense lawyers for the public entity may try to blame the accident on the injury victim's driving, this does not necessarily absolve the municipality or other public entity of its role in causing the single vehicle accident. The relative negligence of each party must be evaluated to determine what, if any, recovery is appropriate.

Another situation where a fatal single vehicle accident might provide a basis to bring a wrongful death lawsuit by the surviving family members involves situations where another driver is indirectly responsible for causing an accident. Sometimes drivers lose control of their vehicle resulting in a rollover accident or road departure accident because they are responding to the negligent conduct of another motorist not directly involved in the collision. A driver might start to change lanes without checking to ensure that it is safe to execute such a maneuver. The driver occupying the space in the adjacent lane might swerve to avoid an accident but lose control of his or her vehicle. Although the driver that initiated the chain of reaction may not even be aware that a collision occurred, he or she may still be liable for engaging in an unsafe driving behavior that ultimately resulted in the single car run off the road crash.

Even if you do not know the identify of the driver or owner of the other vehicle that has caused or contributed to an accident, in many situations it is still possible to recover financial damages under uninsured motorist coverage- which also can cover this exact situation.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case

If you or someone close to you is involved in a single vehicle crash or any other accident, we invite you to contact one of our experienced Atlanta single vehicle accident attorney for an evaluation of your legal rights and remedies. Our team of Atlanta Auto Accident Attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or wrongful death for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.