Typically, car accidents involve two drivers. In Oklahoma, the at-fault driver is responsible for compensating everyone’s damage.
Sometimes, however, a car accident involves only one person. They could be responsible for many reasons. Perhaps they were too tired to be on the road. Maybe they got distracted, or worse, they could have been intoxicated. Because they are responsible for their own accident, they can expect the same penalties as any at-fault driver.
It may be hard to imagine, but there are times when a single driver is not responsible for their accident. Something caused the crash, something that wasn’t the driver’s fault.
Here are some scenarios where a lone driver may not be responsible for their accident.
1. SWERVING TO AVOID DANGER
Imagine an accident involving two cars. The lead driver suddenly hits their brakes and is hit from behind. Now imagine that same scenario, only this time, the second driver swerves to avoid collision. Instead of hitting the car ahead of them, they hop the curb and hit a tree. Situations like these happen all the time. Someone narrowly avoids a commercial truck’s cargo spill, hitting a wall. A wreck happens directly ahead of someone, and they swerve into a parking lot, hitting a parked car.
The details of your accident matter. If you were attempting to avoid someone else’s mistake, the accident could technically be ruled their fault.
2. THE CAR WAS DEFECTIVE
Picture a safe driver, following all traffic laws and taking all necessary precautions. As they approach a red light, they attempt to ease into a stop. The car doesn’t slow down. Frantically, they pump the brake, and nothing happens. Out of desperation, they cross several lanes, allowing the car to slow a bit before colliding with a fire hydrant. The next day, they discover that their car has been recalled for faulty brakes.
In this situation, the driver is clearly not at fault. The car manufacturer may be guilty of knowingly selling a defective product, and they should be held liable for damages caused by their faulty vehicles.
3. DANGEROUS ROAD CONDITIONS
We all know that one pothole in the neighborhood that no one is interested enough to fix. Keeping the streets sound is the government’s job, and if it fails to do so, it can cause injuries. You can hold the government accountable. Suing a government entity is difficult, but it can be done with a good lawyer.
Similarly, roads should be clear of debris. If your wreck was the result of a large tree branch in your way, this could be the fault of landscapers. They should have blocked off the roads and cleared the streets. Wreckage from an accident should also be cleared, and areas should be blocked off before everything is swept away.
4. POOR OR MISSING SIGNAGE
Sometimes vandals remove necessary signs from roads or disfigure them to the point of being unreadable. Other times, overgrowth can cover or obscure signs. Bad angles and surrounding buildings can also obscure necessary signage.
The city must keep signs visible and readable. If your wreck was the result of misplaced, missing, or invisible signage, you probably aren’t alone. Talk to an attorney who can investigate the area of your accident. They may uncover a history of accidents or near-misses, helping build an argument that your wreck was not your fault.
CAN I CONVINCE MY INSURANCE COMPANY THAT I’M NOT AT FAULT?
Insurance companies like clear, easy answers before handing out benefits. Notoriously, they can be difficult to work with, even when fault is clear. In the case of a single-driver accident, it can be even harder to get them on your side.
If you’ve been in a single-driver wreck, talk to an attorney. They can help represent your side of the story and argue in your favor. From experience, they know how to negotiate with stingy insurance companies, helping you get the compensation you need. If necessary, they can even help you take the matter to court. Someone else was responsible for your injuries, even though you were the only person in the wreck. They should be held accountable for their actions, and courtroom justice may be the only answer.
If you’ve been in an accident, even as the sole person, reach out to our office today. We can give you a free consultation and listen to your side of the story. Our number is 918-492-7674, and you can contact us online.