Single Vehicle Accidents and Passenger Claims

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Single vehicle accidents are more common than other wrecks on the roads of Virginia. No other car, truck, motorcycle, or cyclist is involved. In many cases, cars run off the road and strike trees or other barriers causing serious injuries. Passengers who are hurt in single vehicle accidents often make insurance claims against the driver of the car they are traveling in.

Drivers are typically to blame for single vehicle accidents. A range of factors cause one car accidents. They include:

·      Excessive speed, particularly on curves

·      Alcohol or drug abuse

·      Tiredness

·      Texting or distracted driving

·      Overcorrecting to avoid a hazard

·      Inattentive driving

·      Bad weather conditions

·      Hitting an animal such as a deer

·      A mechanical failure like a tire blowout

·      A defect on the road.

Many Single Vehicle Accidents Are Run off the Road Crashes 

More than half of all fatal car accidents are single-car accidents. Single vehicle accidents often involve a car, SUV, or pickup running off the road, flipping over, or crashing into a tree. These kinds of accidents are more likely to occur at night in rural parts of Virginia. More than 60 percent of single-car accidents are run-off-road crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The government agency states run off the road crashes are among the most deadly types of wrecks. Drivers and passengers face a disproportionate likelihood of death or serious injury if their vehicle rolls over.

A study found collisions with culverts, poles, curbs, trees, guardrails, and other objects at the side of the road made up 15.5 percent of all accidents, but 31.1 percent of fatal wrecks. Just 2.1 percent of crashes are rollovers but they account for 11.1 percent of all fatal crashes in the United States, claiming the lives of about 16,000 people a year and injuring more than 400,000.  

Who is to Blame for Single Vehicle Accidents in Virginia? 

The driver is responsible for these accidents in the vast majority of cases. Passenger injury claims in single-car accidents caused by the driver are typically straightforward.

The driver of the car that wrecks is usually to blame for single vehicle accidents in Virginia. Passengers who are hurt or bystanders like pedestrians often bring injury claims.  It may be possible to shift this liability to a third party who is responsible for a dangerous condition. Examples include a local authority if a driver swerved to avoid an unrepaired pothole, a truck driver whose load slipped onto the road causing a wreck, or a contractor who left machinery on the highway.

If an animal like a deer ran onto the road and the driver did not have time to take evasive action, the driver may not be liable for the accident. A carmaker or a third party like a workshop can also be held liable for a single vehicle accident caused by a brake failure, a tire blowout, or another serious defect.

Passenger Claims in Personal Injury Lawsuits 

Under Virginia’s strict liability law, you cannot claim money if you played a part in causing the accident that left you injured. Fortunately, passengers are not usually affected by this rule. Not wearing a seatbelt is no bar to making a claim.

Passenger claims are often less complex than driver claims. People who travel in cars seldom cause accidents. There may be occasional exceptions such as when a passenger distracts a driver or starts a fight.

Unlike the drivers involved in a crash, passengers do not typically have to fight insurance company allegations they were responsible in any way for a wreck. However, an insurance company may seek to deny a claim if a passenger got into a car with a driver who was clearly drunk.

Passengers faced problems in the past when they were injured in accidents involving rideshare drivers but improved policies have rectified these problems.

Claims Related to Defective Cars 

If a defect caused a vehicle to veer off the road and crash, you may have grounds to sue the manufacturers of a car or a component. Claims related to defective cars that cause injuries are complicated. Seek legal advice as soon as possible. 

Filing a Claim against a Friend or a Family Member After a Single Car Accident

It’s not always easy to file a claim against a friend or a family member. However, liability insurance is intended to cover your injuries.

Make sure to get the driver’s insurance details after a single-car accident. Point out the claim is against the insurance policy rather than your friend personally. Injured passengers may also have to obtain the details of a third party driver after a Virginia car wreck. When multiple vehicles are involved, claims often become complicated.

Contact an Experienced Virginia Attorney for Single Vehicle Accidents 

At the Smith Law Center, we have won more than a billion dollars in jury verdicts and settlements. We have helped injured drivers, passengers, and others in Virginia and other states since the late 1940s. Please call us for a free consultation as soon as possible after a car wreck at 757.244.7000.