Who is to Blame for a Single-Vehicle Car Accident?

By | November 29, 2016

Being involved in any type of car accident can be a scary and frustrating experience – especially when it wasn’t your fault. How many times have you driven down the freeway and had to swerve to avoid an object in the road? Or abruptly slow down to drive through an unavoidable pothole? If you’ve experienced harm – whether to yourself or your vehicle – someone else could be held liable.

Claims Against Government Agencies

If your accident was caused by faulty road conditions – a government agency could be to blame. Local and state governments have a legal duty to provide safe roadways for the public (with the exception of private roads). These duties include filling dangerous potholes, repairing broken guardrails, de-icing roads and more. The duties assigned to each agency varies, so it’s important to have a qualified local attorney help you identify which agency is responsible for the event that caused your accident.

The next step is determining whether the governmental agency can be sued.  Many government agencies are immune from lawsuits, meaning they can’t be sued by citizens. However, certain agencies occasionally waive their immunity to allow lawsuits against their wrongdoing. Exceptions to immunity occur when the government agency in question acted with gross negligence; such as, purposely not filling in a pothole that had previously caused an accident, or failing to remove road debris in a timely manner after it has been reported to them, among others. It’s important to remember that the circumstances for cases against government agencies vary from state to state – so it’s always best to let an attorney in your area to help you determine the best course of action.

Finally, you must then prove that the agency in question is at fault for your damages or injuries. This is particularly difficult for car damage because most damage from potholes and debris is not noticed immediately. Because of this, proving fault without other evidence, such as witnesses or police reports, can be extremely difficult. Just because your car was damaged by an obstruction in the road doesn’t mean the government can be held responsible – it must be evident the agency knew about the issue and consciously chose not to fix it, in order to be held responsible.

Claims Against Private Parties

If a road hazard, such as debris, has fallen off a truck – there are numerous people that could be held responsible. If the truck was carrying cargo that would present a serious road hazard if it were to fall off the truck bed (such as corrosive chemicals), that driver has a duty to drive with extreme caution; if the driver breaches that duty, then he or she can be held responsible for any damage resulting from it. If the cargo on a truck is improperly secured and falls from the truck, then the company responsible for loading and inspecting the vehicle could be liable. You can also make a claim against a non-commercial driver whose negligence securing their objects has caused you harm.

The facts of each case must be closely examined to see who can be held liable for the damage, which is why it’s important to seek a qualified car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help determine who may be at fault, and how to go about proving their negligence to get you the compensation you need and deserve.

About Author

Lauren is a content writer located in San Diego, CA that works with The Nielsen Law Firm and other personal injury law firms throughout the country. The main goal of her writing is to educate the public on various personal injury and other civil litigation matters to help them make informed decisions when pursuing a claim.

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