A significant number of motor vehicle accidents are single-vehicle crashes. In fact, 42% of car occupant deaths occur in single-vehicle crashes. For pickup trucks, single-vehicle crashes account for 58% of pickup occupant deaths. (IIHS, Passenger Vehicle Occupants).
If a single-vehicle accident occurs, you might assume it’s your fault. However, the driver isn’t always liable for a single-vehicle accident in Nevada. There are situations where someone else may be at fault.
Let’s talk about legal liability for single-vehicle accidents in Nevada.
What Is a Single-Vehicle Accident?
A single-vehicle accident is a crash where only one vehicle hits an object or crashes. There may have been other contributing factors, but only one vehicle is directly involved in the collision.
Is the Driver Always Liable for a Single-Vehicle Accident in Nevada?
No. A party other than the vehicle driver may be at fault for a single-vehicle accident in Nevada. There are factors other than the driver’s actions that may cause a crash. In the event the crash was attributable to the negligence of someone else, the driver is not liable.
What Are Some Circumstances Where a Driver Is Not Liable for a Single-Vehicle Accident?
A driver may not be liable for a single-vehicle accident in the following circumstances:
- The road has a large pothole that the driver could not safely navigate.
- Another driver entered the lane of travel, and the driver of the crashed vehicle had to swerve to avoid them.
- Brakes failed as the driver was coming to a stop, or, the brakes failed because of faulty manufacturing.
- Other mechanical failures caused the vehicle to operate unpredictably or become impossible to control.
- Pedestrians interrupted traffic, causing the driver to take evasive action.
- A bicyclist cut in front of the driver in violation of right-of-way laws.
- Bad weather caused debris to cover the road, and transportation authorities did not clean up the debris for several days.
- The driver of a vehicle ahead had an unsecured load. Objects fell off the vehicle and hit the driver that crashed.
- An animal wandered into the road, whether a wild animal or livestock.
What Are Some Circumstances Where a Driver Is Liable for a Single-Vehicle Accident in Nevada?
Examples of circumstances where a driver is liable for a single-vehicle accident in Nevada:
- Speeding too fast to negotiate a curve
- Distracted driving
- Drunk driving
- Not following traffic signals, then having to swerve to avoid other traffic
- Failing to respond appropriately to dangerous weather conditions
- Mechanical failures from not having the vehicle serviced when there are signs of problems
- Inexperience and not being familiar with the roads
Can You Claim Damages If You’re Not At-Fault for a Single-Vehicle Accident in Nevada?
Yes, it may be possible to claim damages if you’re not at fault as the driver in a single-vehicle accident. In Nevada, the party who causes the accident is liable to pay damages. The driver may claim compensation when the negligent party is someone besides the driver. Negligence may occur in ways that do not directly involve operating a motor vehicle, but the responsibility to pay damages is the same.
Single car accidents due to weather
In general, drivers are responsible for crashes due to poor weather conditions. A driver must evaluate the road conditions and take the proper steps to stay safe. While that usually means liability, denying fault based on an Act of God may be possible – a completely unexpected and unavoidable event.
Who Do You Claim Compensation From If You’re Not At-Fault for a Single-Vehicle Crash?
The party you claim compensation from if you’re not at fault for the single-vehicle crash is the party who caused the accident. Of course, for a single-vehicle accident, it may take some investigation. Even if you’re the only vehicle in the accident, don’t assume it’s your fault. You may pursue compensation from:
- The vehicle manufacturer based on product liability
- A party responsible for negligent repairs to the vehicle
- The government through special procedures for tort claims against the state (See N.R.S. Chapter 41)
- Another driver who caused you to swerve or lose control because of their negligent actions
- A pedestrian or bicyclist who obstructed traffic
Our experienced attorneys can help you investigate. We interview witnesses, gather evidence, and do an accident reconstruction to determine what factors contributed to the crash.
What should I do if I’m in a single-vehicle car accident?
If you’re in a single-vehicle car accident, do everything you’re supposed to do following an accident. Comply with state reporting requirements and seek medical attention.
Even if you’re at fault, insurance may still provide compensation depending on the type of coverage that you have. Your insurance may cover medical care and other losses – depending on your elected coverage. Deductibles may apply. If another party is at fault, you may look to their insurance or personal assets for compensation.
Law enforcement may issue a traffic ticket, and you may face criminal charges for drunk driving or reckless driving, if applicable. Criminal charges can have significant consequences, so it’s important to aggressively fight the charges with the help of an attorney.
Attorneys for Single-Vehicle Car Accidents
There are many things to be aware of when you’re in a single-vehicle accident. First, comply with requirements to report the accident, and get medical care if you have injuries. Don’t assume that you’re at fault.
With the help of an attorney, you can evaluate the circumstances, determine who is at-fault, and how to best protect your rights. If you receive a traffic ticket or criminal charges, you must work aggressively to fight the allegations and protect your rights. You may bring a legal claim for compensation against another party based on their responsibility for the accident.
Our car accident attorneys can help you evaluate whether you are liable for a single-vehicle accident. Let us fight for your rights. Contact us today for a consultation about your case.