Not all car crashes involve another vehicle—but that doesn’t necessarily mean the driver should assume 100 percent of the blame. The fault for a single automobile accident may yet be assigned, all or in part, to another person, business, or government entity. Because of this, it is important to consult a qualified attorney even when your vehicle was the only one damaged and you the only person who suffered injuries.
Determining fault is rarely cut-and-dried
Following an accident that only involved your car, you might assume the police and your insurance company will consider you entirely at fault. However, the assignation of “fault” from a legal perspective can be complex. Here are three examples:
- You are driving through Los Angeles one evening. Suddenly, you realize the pothole just ahead is actually wider and deeper than it initially appeared. Although you attempt to swerve around it, your front tire goes in and your car lurches out of control and rolls over.
- You are riding down the 405 when you find yourself traveling behind an open-bed construction truck. The truck is filled with debris. Before you can change lanes, the truck goes over a bump and several unsecured chunks of concrete fall off. You are unable to avoid them and the impact spins you into the guardrail.
- You are driving through a popular section of town obeying the low speed limit because there are a lot of people around. Without warning, someone runs across a section of the street that doesn’t have a crosswalk or light. Unable to stop in time, you jerk your wheel to one side. Although you avoid the pedestrian successfully, you wind up hitting a telephone pole.
In each of these scenarios, if you accepted all of the blame, you would likely face significant financial losses in addition to any injuries suffered. You would have to accept an increase in your insurance rates while facing the real possibility that your insurer won’t offer you enough of a payout to cover the costs of automobile repairs, a new vehicle, medical bills, and any additional losses.
However, a car accident lawyer would look at each of these incidents and conclude that, despite your being the only driver involved, there are others who should be held at least partially accountable. In the first instance, the city of Los Angeles might have received multiple complaints about that pothole, or even known about previous accidents and vehicular damage due to their negligence, yet still didn’t take steps to repair it. In such a case, a strong argument could be made that the city is significantly responsible for your damages and should cover them as the court deems appropriate.
In the second example, there might be multiple responsible parties, including the flatbed truck driver and the construction company. One could argue that the driver failed to secure their load or overloaded the truck. Meanwhile, the construction outfit might have failed to correctly instruct the driver on transportation safety requirements or even told the driver to haul away as much as possible in a single trip to save money.
Finally, although it might be challenging to track down the careless pedestrian who jaywalked and caused your crash, thanks to the prevalence of street cameras, it’s not impossible. In California, pedestrians do not always have right of way, and outside of a crosswalk they are required to yield to cars. By not doing so, this jaywalker could be held accountable for your accident.
Consult a Los Angeles car crash attorney
Don’t assume you are at fault and thus on the hook for all your losses and expenses stemming from a single-vehicle accident. Instead, call Los Angeles automobile accident lawyer Scott J. Corwin to research and see if you have a case at (310) 683-2300.