Liability in Single-Car Accidents: Who Is at Fault?
Updated: Jun 29
Determining fault in a multi-vehicle car accident is a straightforward exercise: an attorney examines each vehicle involved in the crash and determines whether the driver or any passenger in that vehicle committed a negligent act. They then consider whether that negligent act played a role in bringing about the accident.
While it’s common for multiple drivers to have acted carelessly in some way, one driver is often predominately at fault. It’s this driver from whom the other injured parties will seek compensation.
The Trouble with Single-Car Accidents
When you crash your car and there are no other drivers around, figuring out what happened can be more difficult. Rather than looking at multiple drivers and their potential liability, your attorney must closely examine you, your vehicle, and the circumstances of your crash to see who might be at fault.
Potential Culprits for a Single-Car Accident
Don’t assume that you can't obtain compensation just because your crash didn’t involve another driver. There may be others whose negligence is primarily responsible for your accident, even if they weren’t present at the scene of the crash. This list of potential culprits includes:
Your Car’s Manufacturer
If the vehicle you were driving had a defective part, your vehicle’s manufacturer or the part’s manufacturer may bear responsibility for your crash.
There doesn’t have to be an active recall issued for your vehicle for the manufacturer to be liable. All that must be shown is that the auto manufacturer used a part that wasn’t safe for its intended purpose and should have known of the danger.
Even if the make and model of the car you were driving didn’t have a general defect, your car specifically might have had one. As such, your car accident lawyer will want to have your vehicle carefully examined to determine whether the manufacturer should be held responsible.
Your Auto Mechanic
If you recently had your car serviced, your mechanic may have inadvertently rendered your car dangerous and unsafe to drive. This can occur, for instance, if tires aren’t properly fastened after being changed or if the caps for the various car fluids under the hood aren’t properly secured.
These are just a few common examples of maintenance-related errors and oversights that can lead to unexpected accidents. Any number of things could potentially go wrong with your vehicle following a routine service visit.
If your mechanic failed to ensure that your car was safe to operate after working on it, they may be held legally responsible for any resulting injuries and property damage.
A Municipality, State, or Local Agency
Local and state governments are responsible for designing safe roads and taking reasonable measures to keep them in passable condition. This means that they must make a reasonable effort to clear hazards like snow and ice from roadways.
Similarly, when a new road is constructed, the responsible agency should conduct studies to ensure that the road is constructed in such a manner that traffic can flow safely. This responsibility includes making sure speed limits are appropriate, turns aren’t too severe, and drivers have adequate visibility to see and avoid danger.
If your car is in good working order and doesn’t contain any defects, your attorney will likely look at the road’s construction and condition at the time of the crash.
A careful study may reveal that a defect in the road’s materials, an uncleared hazard, or something to do with the road’s design contributed to your crash. If so, your attorney would consider bringing suit against the responsible agency or governing body.
The Benefit of Having a Resourceful Car Accident Lawyer
A lawyer who doesn’t routinely handle car accident cases may assume that you have no rights after a single-car crash. Conversely, an overworked lawyer with few resources may not have the time or ability to look into all potential causes of your crash and instead come to the same conclusion — that you lack any legal recourse.
But for a skilled South Carolina car wreck attorney, a single-car accident is an opportunity to dig deeper and uncover all the factors that played a role in the crash. In doing so, your attorney can help you recover compensation from those parties whose negligence contributed to your injuries.
Contact West Law, LLC Today for Assistance
Regardless of whether a dozen vehicles or only a single car were involved in your wreck, you deserve to have your case reviewed by an experienced South Carolina personal injury lawyer. Bring your case to West Law LLC, and let us advise you of the rights you have available. Contact us today