Most collisions in Atlanta happen because two cars collide. Think of a T-bone collision at an intersection or a rear-end crash on the highway. In these situations, there’s no confusion about what happened: one car collided with another, causing a wreck. The only issue is really fault: who is to blame?
But many accidents are single vehicle. This means only one car crashed. It is sometimes possible for motorists injured in a single-vehicle collision to receive compensation, but there are hurdles in the way and the process is not easy. Call a car accident lawyer in Atlanta to discuss whether you have a realistic chance of receiving compensation.
Examples of Single-Vehicle Accidents
As the name suggests, a single-vehicle accident involves only one car or pickup truck. Some common examples include:
- A car sliding off the road because snow or ice made the road dangerous.
- A motorist crashing into an option, like a tree or fire hydrant.
- A driver who yanks on the steering wheel to avoid a car coming straight at them.
- A vehicle rolling over because it trips on something, such as construction debris in the road.
- A car that’s out of control because of a manufacturing or design defect, like a steering column that malfunctions.
In these accidents, motorists can suffer all the same injuries as occupants involved in crashes with two or more vehicles. We have seen people struggle bravely with whiplash, concussions, fractures, back injuries, and more.
Why These Are Difficult Cases
Georgia law allows accident victims to seek compensation when someone else is at fault for negligently harming them. For this reason, fault is often an issue in dispute.
Imagine you swerve off the road to avoid an oncoming car. You contact your insurance company to make a claim for your injuries. Because only one vehicle was involved, your insurer might claim you actually fell asleep and drove off the road or you were distracted and ended up crashing into a mailbox. In other words, they blame you for your own accident. Consequently, they refuse to pay compensation for any claim made on your uninsured motorist policy.
Anyone hurt in a single-vehicle accident still needs to prove fault—that is, someone else is to blame for the wreck. You can’t be to blame for your own accident. Proving fault is hard if the drunk driver speeding straight at you refuses to stop after you crash, or if a road defect causes your car to flip.
How to Build a Case for a Single-Vehicle Accident
To help your case, we recommend the following:
- Call the police immediately after the accident. Don’t wait a day or two. Take your cell phone and call. An officer should come to the scene.
- Share information about a car that almost hit you. If you swerved to avoid oncoming traffic, share with the police any details about the car. Include information about make, model, color, license plate, and so on.
- Document any road hazard. If a giant pothole caused you to lose control, take a picture using your phone. This photo helps prove the hazard actually existed when you crashed.
- Get insurance and personal information from a driver. Some drivers will do the ethical thing and stop. Ask for their name and insurance information, which helps with a claim.
- Avoid immediately fixing your car. A defect on your car could have caused you to lose control. For that reason, don’t immediately fix your car. And don’t junk it if it’s totaled. A lawyer wants to inspect it.
You should also hire an attorney quickly. We know how to handle these types of wrecks. We might also need to quickly begin gathering additional information or evidence in support of your claim.
Insurance and Single Vehicle Accidents
What insurance will pay compensation following a single vehicle crash? It depends on who is at fault.
You Are At Fault for Your Own Accident
It might be that you are to blame. For example, you could have fallen asleep or been distracted by a cell phone and driven into a tree. If you are to blame, then your options for receiving compensation are limited:
- Your health insurance can pay for medical bills to treat your injuries.
- You might have Medical Payments coverage, which can also cover medical care or your health insurance deductible. MedPay is no-fault coverage.
- If you have collision insurance, it can pay to repair your vehicle. This is no-fault insurance.
Unfortunately, many motorists still have large losses. You will not receive compensation for lost income or pain and suffering.
Another Driver is At Fault
You might not be liable for the reasons stated above. For example, a car coming straight at you could have forced you to go off the road. A negligent motorist who causes you to crash is at fault, even if they don’t touch you.
You can seek compensation:
- If the motorist stopped, you can make a claim on their liability coverage for medical bills, income loss, car damage, and pain and suffering. That is excellent news.
- If the driver didn’t stop, you can make a claim on your uninsured motorist insurance. This policy kicks in if a driver flees the scene of an accident. It is fault-based insurance.
- If you have MedPay and collision, you can also use them.
The Municipality is to Blame
When road conditions are unsafe, you might end up suing the municipality who has responsibility for maintaining the road. This is a complicated process. The government is usually immune, but there are exceptions for many car accidents. Work closely with a lawyer to make a claim on the governmental agency.
A Car Defect Caused the Wreck
Your car might have crashed through no fault of your own. Instead, a defective part could have failed, such as your brakes. Or the airbag deploys for no reason, causing you to crash your vehicle.
When a vehicle is defective, you might sue the manufacturer for selling a defective car or a mechanic for failing to do their job properly.
Injured in a Wreck? Reach Out Today
A lawyer at Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys will be glad to discuss whether you can obtain compensation. Call us at (404) 529-3476.