Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Helping Single-Vehicle Accident Victims Recover Compensation
No one doubts that traffic accidents are a significant danger on the roads of the U.S. The results of such accidents are plain, with tens of thousands killed and millions more injured every year. In 2015, more than 35,000 people died in traffic accidents in the U.S., an increase of more than 7 percent from 2014. This constituted the largest percentage increase in almost 50 years. Injuries in traffic accidents also rose in 2015, from 2.34 million to 2.44 million people injured. The number of traffic accidents likewise rose by about 3.8 percent, from an estimated 6.0 million to 6.3 million.
As dangerous as traffic accidents involving two or more cars are, single-vehicle accidents also constitute a significant threat. Fatalities in single-vehicle accidents were up in 2015 by 4.2 percent over 2014. Further, from 2005 through 2007, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration studied 5,471 crashes, looking at the number of vehicles involved in the accidents and matching the percentages to national estimates of traffic accidents. Most of the accidents involved two vehicles – 57.2 percent, but nearly a third, 31 percent, were single-vehicle crashes.
Single-vehicle accidents tend to be especially deadly. While constituting less than a third of traffic accidents, more than half of all traffic accident deaths in 2017 were the result of single-vehicle accidents. In fact, in that year, 54 percent of all traffic deaths resulted from single-vehicle crashes. Even in the states with the lowest percentage of traffic deaths caused by single-vehicle accidents – Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan — 49 percent of traffic deaths were a result of such crashes. In Florida, 51 percent of traffic fatalities occur in single-vehicle accidents.
What are the Leading Causes of Single-Vehicle Accidents?
Federal statistics indicate that a considerable number of single-vehicle crashes occur when the vehicle runs off the road. These kinds of accidents result in roughly 70 percent of all deaths caused by single-vehicle accidents. What happens when the car leaves the road differs widely – vehicle overturns, striking a tree or some other solid object, driving into a body of water – but the results all too often include a traffic fatality. The NHTSA conducted a study of single-vehicle accidents from 1991 through 2007 and determined that leading factors in accidents where cars left the roadway included:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Dark rural roads or roads with many curves
- Roads and highways with excessively high-speed limits
- Narrow roads, in particular, roads with only one or two lanes in each direction
- Bad weather, including rain, sleet, snow, or fog, and other conditions that limit visibility such as smog, smoke, dust in the air, or blowing sand
- Driving at night
- Vehicles that have at least two occupants or vehicles operated by someone under 24 years old
- Drivers who are fatigued or otherwise not paying adequate attention to the road, and
- Drivers who make critical driving errors, such as overcorrecting after a course deviation or oversteering in attempting to avoid another vehicle.
These situations are merely factors in single-vehicle accidents, not causes. However, some of these factors can play into whether a single-vehicle accident was your fault
Being in a Single-Vehicle Accident Doesn’t Mean It Was Your Fault
When you are in a single-vehicle accident, the immediate assumption – by the police, by your friends, and, unfortunately, under the law – is that you were at fault in the accident. The primary causes of single-vehicle accidents generally include operator error or negligence, such as speeding, driving while fatigued, and driving under the influence of alcohol. Because there is only one vehicle involved, there is a reasonable inference that the person in the best place to avoid the accident – the driver of the vehicle – failed to do so. The question then is whether that failure was a result of negligence or unavoidable circumstances.
There are a number of circumstances that could result in a single-vehicle accident being someone else’s fault. Poor road design or maintenance is right up there near the top of the list – poor drainage, narrow lanes, inadequate or no lighting, sharp curves or improperly banked curves, narrow or no road shoulders, and poorly placed or missing signage warning of hazards ahead can all contribute to accidents, single-vehicle and otherwise. Adverse weather conditions can also come into play.
Further, the acts of others can result in single-vehicle accidents. Mechanical failures caused by improper repairs or defective manufacturing can come into play. If you experience such an equipment failure, don’t try to drive the vehicle away. Have it towed and examined professionally to determine what the equipment failure was and whether someone else was at fault.
Obstacles in the roadway that should have been corrected by the maintaining agency, such as large potholes, fallen or falling trees or other large foreign objects in the roadway, including fallen rocks, or too-faded lane markers can cause single-vehicle accidents. None of these conditions are the fault of the driver. Along with poor road design, these causes could provide the driver in a single-vehicle accident with a cause of action.
It is also possible that another driver caused your single-vehicle accident without actually being involved in the accident. This could include someone driving toward you on the wrong side of the road, or swerving back and forth between his own lane and yours, or in some other way causing you to leave your lane in an attempt to avoid a collision. If that driver doesn’t stop, you will be there at the scene of the accident all by yourself when the police arrive. You have to report that driver to the police and give them the best description you can of the other vehicle. It is possible that witnesses could provide assistance with a description, or even a license plate number.
If You Have Been Injured in a Single-Vehicle Accident, Contact a Miami Personal Injury Attorney Immediately
If you have been injured in a single-vehicle accident in the Miami area, you should talk to a Miami personal injury attorney. It is entirely possible that your accident was not your fault and you have options for recovering damages, and an experienced accident attorney can help you determine your legal options. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Miami accident lawyer, call our office today at (305) 424-8445 or contact us through our online contact form.