In the matter of single vehicle accidents, it may seem that determining fault is fairly straightforward. If only one vehicle is involved in an accident, it must be the driver of that vehicle that is responsible, right? It is true that in accidents involving only one vehicle, the driver is most often deemed at fault. However, like most rules, there are exceptions. Read on for some examples of when the driver may be deemed not liable in a single vehicle accident.
Another Driver Instigates the Accident
In some cases, even if another vehicle is not directly involved in an accident, another driver’s actions may be to blame. For example, a driver initiating an improper lane change could force another driver to swerve out of the way and cause an accident. Another example would be an aggressive driver instigating an accident or running another driver off the road. Aggressive driving endangers others on the road and can be labeled as negligence, or failure to adhere to traffic laws and safety, which often constitutes fault. Another accident on the roadway could also force a driver to swerve or cause an accident. These kinds of accidents are known as chain-reaction accidents, and fault is usually shared in these matters.
Comparative Fault In Single Vehicle Accidents
In the above examples, comparative fault is at play. In Louisiana law, comparative fault , also known as partial fault, indicates when multiple parties are responsible for an accident. According to this law, the percentage of fault one is responsible for in an accident is directly correlated to the compensation they can pursue in a car accident injury claim. Let’s revisit the example above, where an aggressive driver causing the second driver to crash. Let’s say that they were ultimately determined to be 60% at fault for the accident. They would then be responsible for covering 60% of the damages caused by the accident. You might be wondering how the person who initiated the crash with their poor driving is only partially at fault. That’s because whenever someone gets behind the wheel of a car, they take on a legal responsibility to react appropriately to all hazards, including other drivers and accidents. In other words, the driver involved in the crash will almost always be at least partially responsible for any single vehicle accident.
Single Vehicle Crashes Due to Weather Conditions
Part of a driver’s responsibility, by law, is responding appropriately to any weather conditions on the road. For this reason, crashes caused by hydroplaning or inclement weather are still considered the fault of the driver. Failure to drive safely in bad weather constitutes negligence on the part of the driver, from a legal standpoint.
Vehicle Malfunction or Faulty Parts
Besides comparative fault, there is really only one other exception to the driver being fully at fault in single vehicle accidents. That’s a vehicle malfunction or faulty parts that cause the crash. If it can be shown that the vehicle was mishandled or unsafe or defective in some way which caused an accident, then the driver may be able to pursue compensation from the vehicle manufacturer or the mechanic who installed the faulty components. Proving the connection between the accident and the vehicle malfunction can be difficult and this type of case is rare, but it can happen.
The Most Important Factor If You Want to Defend Yourself After a Single Vehicle Accident
At the end of the day, the best thing one can do for their single vehicle accident defense is hire an experienced traffic accident attorney. Normally, single vehicle accidents are pretty cut-and-dry cases. However, there are exceptions. Proving that fault was comparative or outside the control of the driver is difficult, though. It will take extensive gathering of evidence, witness testimonies, and strong negotiation techniques. If you have been involved in a car accident and want to know more about your options, contact Bloom Legal for a free consultation. Our experienced traffic accident lawyers are standing by to take your call any time of day.