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July 22, 2015

Who Can Be at Fault in a Single Car Collision?


Motor vehicle accidents are a serious public health issue in the United States. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration[1] (NHTSA), there were more than 2.3 million people were injured in motor vehicle accidents during 2013. Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents are capable of causing serious injuries, some of which have the potential to leave victims with significant medical problems or even permanent disabilities. As a result, it is important for anyone injured in any type of car accident to discuss their case with an auto accident lawyer who is qualified to represent the legal rights of vehicle manufacturers.

When most people think of a car crash they probably imagine a collision involving two or more vehicles. While these kinds of accidents are common and can certainly cause serious injuries, a significant number of people are injured in single-vehicle accidents each year. Importantly, simply because only one vehicle was involved in an accident does not mean that accident victims cannot recover for their injuries. As is the case with any other type of injury-causing accident, people who can establish that their accident was the result of someone else’s legal negligence[2] are generally entitled to financial compensation for the losses that they sustain as a result of the accident. The kinds of losses that are generally recovered in a motor vehicle accident case include medical expenses, property damage, lost income, and physical and emotional pain and suffering, among others.

There a number of parties that could potentially be held liable after a single-car accident in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas.

The vehicle manufacturer

Many single vehicle accidents are the result of vehicle or vehicle equipment defects. Pennsylvania premises liability law allows people injured by defective consumer products to file a legal claim to recover. Some of the more common vehicle parts that can cause accidents when they fail include the following:

·       Brakes

·       Steering mechanisms

·       Headlights

·       Windshield wipers

·       Tires

·       Axles

·       Airbags

·       Anti-lock braking systems

·       Taillights

·       Accelerator pedals

In some cases, the fact that an accident was caused by a vehicle defect may not be apparent to people injured in the accident. For this reason, anyone who has been involved in a single-vehicle accident should have facts of their case reviewed by an attorney familiar with handling motor vehicle accident cases. When you retain an attorney, he or she will thoroughly investigate your accident and determine whether any evidence of vehicle defects exist.

The party responsible for road design and maintenance

In some cases, a single vehicle accident is the result of poor or negligence road design or maintenance. Common examples of the kinds of road defects that often lead to accidents include malfunctioning stoplights, inadequate guardrails, non-existent or faded lane markings, overgrown foliage, lack of signage, or poor road surfaces or potholes. When accidents caused by defective road design or maintenance occur, victims can file a claim against the party responsible for the roadway on which the accident occurred. In many cases, the party responsible for the design and maintenance of the road is a government agency, which means a special set of legal rules will apply to any legal claims. Consequently, anyone injured in a single-vehicle accident that they suspect was caused by poor road design or maintenance should contact a Philadelphia car accident attorney as soon as possible.

Other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists

Simply because only one vehicle was involved in an accident does not mean that the accident was not caused by the negligence of another person on the road. Many single-vehicle accidents occur because of the negligent actions of other people on the road. For example, if another motorist suddenly pulled out into traffic forcing another driver to take evasive action causing an accident, victims may be able to sustain a claim against the driver of the other vehicle. The same holds true for pedestrians or bicyclists who cause accidents through their negligent conduct.

An experienced Philadelphia car accident lawyer can often help

People who are injured in accidents that are caused by the negligence of others should retain an attorney as soon as possible. There are many ways in which an attorney can be of assistance, including negotiating on your behalf with the insurance company or filing a lawsuit on your behalf. In many instances, the representation of an attorney can result in a much larger settlement or award than victims would be able to secure on their own. For this reason, it is highly advisable for car accident victims to retain legal counsel as soon as possible.


[1] http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/812016.pdf
[2] https://www.google.com/search?q=negligence&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

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