The more time you spend on the road, the more you expose yourself to the risk of getting into a car accident. While most car accidents involve two or more vehicles, single-car accidents occur more often than you would expect. According to a report from Transport Canada, single-vehicle accidents accounted for more than 50% of speeding deaths and serious injuries.
A single-vehicle accident is a motor vehicle accident that only involves one car. Common types of single-car accidents include hitting an object (like a guardrail or tree), colliding with debris on the road, or losing control of the vehicle and flipping it or spinning out. Even if another driver contributed to the accident, if your car crash involves only your automobile and no one else’s, it’s considered a single-vehicle accident.
Common causes for single-car accidents
When most people hear about single-vehicle accidents, they assume the crash was caused by driver error. While this may be true some of the time, some single-car accidents are caused by circumstances beyond the driver’s control.
Poor Road Conditions
Certain weather conditions, such as rainfall or a snowstorm, can increase the risk of getting into a car accident. Research shows that weather-related vehicle accidents kill more people annually than large-scale weather disasters. In the winter months, car accidents typically increase by 3.1-4.7%, and insurance claims increase by almost 49%. Even for experienced drivers, the impact of inclement weather (e.g., rain, sleet, snow, fog, or ice) can cause slippery roads, loss of vehicle control, and poor visibility, making it extremely difficult to navigate the roads.
According to the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police report, 20% of fatal collisions are caused by drowsy drivers. Commercial truck drivers often fall victim to fatigue-related accidents due to demanding schedules and delivery deadlines. Even on a per-distance-travelled basis, large trucks have a fatality rate that is nearly double the rate of all other vehicles. Unfortunately, pursuing a truck accident insurance claim tends to be more complex than a standard car accident. A truck accident law firm can help with your claim by launching an investigation to determine liability and recover compensation.
In some parts of Canada, the number of distracted driving fatalities has surpassed the number of impaired driving fatalities. The Canada Safety Council indicates distraction was a contributing factor in 21% of collisions resulting in death and 27% of collisions resulting in serious injury. Smartphone apps are one reason for the increase in distracted driving. For example, the navigation app Waze rewards drivers for reporting traffic conditions in real-time, and games like Pokémon Go encourage drivers to search for virtual creatures along roadways.
Even the most cautious drivers can fall victim to a single-vehicle accident caused by another driver’s negligence. For instance, if you are driving on the highway and another driver drifts onto the wrong side of the road, you may swerve to avoid hitting them and end up crashing. If one driver’s violation of traffic laws or reckless behaviour requires another driver to swerve, and this results in a single-car crash, the negligent driver could be held liable for damages.
Defective vehicle parts, such as faulty breaks or steering and suspension issues, can cause you to lose control of your car. When a company makes an error in the manufacturing process or produces a vehicle with an insufficient design, they can be held liable if the mechanical issues resulted in a car accident. However, you must prove that the car failure was not a result of improper car maintenance.
How is fault determined in a single-vehicle accident?
In most single-car accidents, the individual operating the vehicle is almost always considered to be at fault. Every driver has a legal duty to follow all traffic laws and be reasonably aware of their surroundings. In the event that a collision is caused by someone else’s negligence or a mechanical failure, liability may shift to another party. If a collision happens while you’re at work, the employer can be held liable for a car accident if the actions of the employee fall under the doctrine of vicarious liability.
Regardless of who is at fault, insured drivers in Nova Scotia are entitled to coverage up to $50,000 for medical expenses. All motor vehicle insurance policies in Nova Scotia include no-fault accident benefits (also called Section B Benefits) to pay for any reasonable and necessary medical expenses. These benefits also include coverage for loss of income, housekeeping expenses, funeral expenses, and death benefits.
Do I need a lawyer to help with my single-car accident claim?
It is possible to pursue a single-vehicle accident insurance claim on your own. However, this may result in receiving less compensation than you are entitled to. Insurance companies will typically try to settle a claim to avoid going to court or to pay you less than your case is worth.
Contacting an experienced car accident lawyer can help you avoid taking a settlement that isn’t in your best interest. Valent Legal offers free case reviews, where a car accident lawyer in Halifax will discuss your claim and explain your legal options. Our team at Valent Legal can handle any settlement negotiations on your behalf to deliver the best possible outcome for your claim.