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Single Car Accidents: When your Collision with an Inanimate Object Wasn't your Fault

March 15, 2017

When we hear about car accidents, the image that likely comes to mind is of two or more vehicles colliding with one another as the result of negligence, icy roads, or another unfortunate incident. But there are other forms of car accidents as well, and they are fairly common. These are the accidents where cars collide with something that was not moving - for instance, a lamppost, a tree, a fence or a building. Of course, if you are the person behind the wheel when your vehicle smashed into a telephone poll, it is pretty difficult to argue that the telephone poll is to blame. And if you were involved in this sort of crash, and caused damages to someone else's property, is it always your fault? The answer is not necessarily. In fact in some situations, someone else might actually be liable to you for your injuries and for the damage to your vehicle.

While laws on this topic will vary depending on the state, here are some scenarios where you might find that you were not at fault for a collision with an inanimate object.

Unavoidable circumstances

Anyone who has driven a car for any length of time can probably envision a scenario where another person may cause you to drive off of the road. For instance, you could be driving down the road as responsible as ever when the teenager in the lane to your left decides to respond to a text message. As he is just about to add the appropriate emoji he suddenly swerves into your lane. Rather than getting sideswiped by the kid in his mom's SUV, you pull to the right, and find yourself smashing into a tree. Here the accident was, for you, unavoidable. You had two choices, a collision with another car, or one with a tree. The negligent party in this case would be the other driver. Similar situations could involve pedestrians running into the street, or cyclists cutting you off. If someone made it impossible or at least extremely difficult for you to avoid an accident, you might be able to make a case that they are liable to you.

Your vehicle is defective

Sometimes a car will end up on the road even though it has serious and potentially dangerous defects. Perhaps your new car has faulty brakes, and you do not know it yet. You are driving down the road when you go to brake as you approach a swerve. Unfortunately, your brakes fail, and the car goes careening off the road and you hit a power line, sustaining injuries in the process and causing major and costly damage to the power line and of course to your car. In this scenario, you were not at fault. If it can be shown that the brakes failed, this would be a products liability case, in which the manufacturer could be the liable party both for your injuries as well as for the damage that the incident caused to the powerline.

There could also be situations where the road was hazardous and therefore someone else was responsible for the incident. If a truck spilled oil on a road making it horribly slippery, you were driving along at the speed limit and your car spun off the road as if it was on sheer ice, this again might be a situation where someone else might be liable for your injuries.

Other common causes of single car accidents:

  1. Speeding
  2. Reckless driving
  3. Driver fatigue
  4. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs

While most single car accidents are likely the fault of the driver, it is always important to do your best to understand what caused your accident, and to know what your rights are when you find yourself in what seems like an unfair situation.

If you were injured in an accident because of negligence, reach out to our attorneys at Montlick & Associates to learn about your legal rights as well as what steps are necessary to protect those rights.

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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.