Approximately one-third to one-half of all traffic fatalities occur in one-car accidents, depending on driver age, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Common types of single-vehicle accidents include run-off-road (ROR) crashes, colliding with a structure on the road and rollover accidents.
One-car accidents can cause severe and catastrophic injuries, but obtaining a settlement in these types of accidents can be challenging. Serious single-vehicle accident claims may require legal counsel, which can help drivers obtain adequate compensation for damages.
Common Causes of Single-Vehicle Accidents
Even when drivers act in the most careful manner possible, the unexpected can happen. A deer crosses the road, you hit a patch of black ice, or an oncoming car breaches your lane, causing you to swerve off the road. Sun glare, falling tree branches and potholes are other possible causes of single-vehicle accidents.
In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's 2009 report, Factors Related to Fatal Single-Vehicle Run-Off-Road Crashes, the agency listed the most influential factors that cause fatal one-car ROR accident. The biggest contributing factors are driver performance-related, including:
- driving under the influence of alcohol.
- the roadway’s alignment with the curve.
- a passenger car’s actions.
- rural roadway issues.
- driving on a high-speed-limit road.
- adverse weather conditions.
- and, maneuvers in an attempt to avoid a crash, such as trying to avoid hitting an animal.
Can a one-car accident victim recover damages?
In many instances, yes, single-vehicle accident victims can file claims for reimbursement for their damages. Much depends on the nature of the accident and the insured’s policy details. If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, your insurance company likely will reimburse you for property damage up to your policy’s limits.
Your medical payments coverage also can pay for medical bills up to policy limits. Pennsylvania requires drivers carry $5,000 in medical payments coverage.
However, if there was some form of negligence that contributed to your accident, you might have additional means of collecting a settlement. Examples of negligence that may cause a one-car accident include:
- manufacturer defects (if your tires were defective or your brakes were faulty, you may be able to file a claim against the manufacturer);
- another road user's actions (if another driver, cyclist or pedestrian’s actions caused your accident, a negligence claim might be in order); and
- poorly maintained roads (if the condition of the roads were such that it caused your accident, you and your attorney may be able to file a claim against the appropriate government agency for failing to design, repair or maintain the road properly).
Avoiding Insurance Disputes with One-Vehicle Accident Claims
The insurance company may try to deny your claim or provide you with a settlement offer that’s far lower than what you’re entitled to. Before you file a claim or sign an agreement, consult an attorney. Having a lawyer can help when dealing with claim disputes and may help facilitate a less confusing claim process.
A car accident attorney will be able to:
- investigate your accident and determine if negligence was involved.
- draft and file the necessary paperwork.
- review any settlement offers and advise whether or not they are fair.
- negotiate with the insurer to obtain a fair settlement.
- examine your policy to ensure your rights are upheld.
- file a claim against any other party that might be responsible for your accident.
- be your legal confidante, working to protect your best interests.
- and, advise you accordingly when you have questions about your case.
Consult Pennsylvania Firm Cordisco & Saile LLC
To speak with an attorney about a one-car accident in Pennsylvania, contact our attorneys at Cordisco & Saile LLC. Our team of lawyers will work to ensure you are treated fairly, and we will fight to pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today: 215-642-2335.