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Who Is Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident?

Posted in Car Accidents on February 22, 2021

Not all car accidents in Dallas involve more than one driver. If you were the only driver in your recent auto accident, you may assume you are automatically at fault and must use your own insurance to pay for losses. Depending on the circumstances of your crash, however, this may not be the case. You may not have to pay for your own financial damages if one or more parties contributed to the single-vehicle accident.

Liable in a Single-Vehicle Accident

Accidents Due to Vehicle Defects

Some single-vehicle car accidents in Texas are traced back to faulty vehicle parts. If a part on your car malfunctioned or broke down while you were driving, and this is what caused your accident, you may have grounds for an auto defect claim against the manufacturing company. Common examples of faulty parts include:

  • Brakes
  • Tires
  • Headlights
  • Electrical systems
  • Airbags
  • Steering columns

An auto manufacturer has a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of its products. If it fails to fulfill this responsibility, leading to a design, manufacturing or marketing defect in one of its vehicles, it will be strictly liable for related auto accidents and injuries. Have an auto defect attorney investigate your single-vehicle accident for signs of a faulty product to find out if the automaker is liable.

Accidents Due to Road Defects

Even if you were the only driver involved in your car accident, you could have grounds to bring a claim against the city or state government if a road defect caused the crash. A road defect can describe any dangerous problem with the roadway that could foreseeably cause a car accident, such as a pothole, debris, construction zone, loose gravel, uneven shoulder, missing guardrail, obscured road sign or broken traffic light.

If the government agency in charge of maintaining the road where your single-vehicle car accident occurred should have done more to prevent your crash, such as respond more promptly to road maintenance requests, the agency could be liable for your losses. Note that a claim against the government must be brought within six months or less in Texas, depending on your county. This is significantly shorter than the typical statute of limitations in Texas of two years.

No-Contact Accidents

Even if your vehicles did not technically collide, another driver may be liable for your car accident if his or her carelessness caused you to run off the road or lose control of your vehicle. This is called a no-contact crash. If, for example, another driver almost merged on top of you, causing you to jerk the steering wheel, lose control of your vehicle and crash, the other driver may be financially responsible for the accident even your vehicles did not touch.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult to obtain financial compensation for a no-contact crash if the other driver does not realize he or she caused an accident and keeps driving. You may be able to obtain license plate numbers or partial plate numbers from eyewitnesses, however, or footage of the crash as evidence. Always call the police to help you gather what information is available after a no-contact single-vehicle car accident.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

You may or may not have grounds to hold someone else financially responsible for your single-vehicle car accident. If another individual or entity should have prevented your crash, that party may be liable for your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages and other damages.

A car accident lawyer in Dallas can help you with the claims process after a single-vehicle crash. Your lawyer can investigate the crash, determine fault, and help you understand your rights. Then, your lawyer can take over complicated legal processes on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome. Consulting with an attorney can help you determine whether or not you have to pay for your accident out of pocket.