In general, the most common causes of a single-vehicle accident are overcorrecting a small mistake or braking to hard to avoid an obstacle.
Single-vehicle accidents account for a significant percentage of highway fatalities and injuries every years. According to recent figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (a nonprofit organization funded by the car insurance industry) 58 percent of motor vehicle-related deaths in Nevada occurred in single-vehicle accidents. That is higher than the national average of 55 percent.
You can take actions to avoid single car crashes while driving, including:
- avoid distractions such as using a cell phone (which is illegal in Nevada), eating or drinking, or adjusting the radio;
- avoid dangerous speeds that make reacting to obstacles safely more difficult; and
- exercise caution in inclement weather, because ice, snow, and rain make controlling your vehicle more challenging.
Liability for a single-vehicle accident
Personal injury litigation is not restricted to accidents involving two or more cars in which one of the drivers is at fault for the majority of the accident.
A single-vehicle accident does not necessarily mean that the single driver was wholly or even partially at fault. Other contributing factors should be considered, such as:
- the condition of the vehicle;
- the condition of the road; and
- the actions of others drivers who may have created a dangerous situation.
Unfortunately, traffic officers and insurance companies are often quick to assign sole responsibility to the driver.
However, a seemingly simple single-vehicle accidents may have resulted from a series of much more complex causes. Many perfectly responsible drivers are victims of third-party negligence that is not always immediately obvious.
Discovering the truth requires thorough, extensive, and impartial investigation and research to discover what went wrong. If you have been injured, or lost a loved one, in a single-vehicle car accident, you should as they say leave no stone unturned to identify the responsible parties.
You should hire a competent personal injury law firm to ensure there is a full investigation into all of the causes and to seek full compensation for you losses.
Accident caused by manufacturer defect
It may be a strange way to put it, but the first thing to examine in any single-vehicle accident is whether the car or truck itself was at fault. In other words, was the vehicle safe or were the companies that manufactured the vehicle negligent?
There are vehicles that suffer from manufacturing or design defects. Sometimes these defects are known, but other times they remain to be proven.
Unfortunately, while the majority of modern motor vehicles on Nevada’s roads are perfectly safe, the introduction of new technologies like electric vehicles will cause some accidents until the possibilities of the new technologies are fully realized and the limitation are fully known.
In these cases, Nevada’s product liability laws allow victims to recover when manufacturer defects lead to injury or property damage.
Nevada uses a strict liability standard. This means that if a victim can prove he or she was injured by a flaw in a product’s design or manufacture, or if there was a “failure to warn” with respect to known safety risks from using the product, then the victim will probably be able to recover damages.
In this context, “strict” liability means that the manufacturer is responsible no matter how careful they were. It isn’t necessary to prove there was any negligence.
However, if there is evidence of negligence, that can also establish product liability. For example, it would be negligent if a car manufacturer ignores internal tests that show a part is defective.
If what was defective was a spoon (an outrageous example), it may be a simple matter to resolve the case. The spoon probably has one designer and one manufacturer and they are probably the same company. The spoon has one use in general, to scoop things, and if it worked or not under all reasonable circumstances should have been clear to the company that made it.
The challenge is that, unlike other kinds of consumer products, modern motor vehicles are complex machines composed of thousands of parts. There may be dozens, if not hundreds, of companies that were involved in the design and manufacturing process.
Any accident in which a vehicle may have been defective may require an investigation commensurate to the complexity of the vehicle. In other words, it is reasonable to anticipate requiring months just to discover which individual part (or parts) failed and who was responsible for it.
In most cases, it is impractical to discover, on your own, a manufacturer defect in a vehicle and prove that the defect was a contributing factor or the proximate cause of an accident, while you recover from that accident.
A law firm has the ability and expertise to conduct this investigation for you.
Accident caused by a roadway
A single-vehicle accident may also be the result of a defect in the design, construction, or maintenance of the roadway where the accident occurred.
Common examples of road defects include:
- failure to fix potholes, cracks, cave-ins, or depressions;
- failure to fix malfunctioning or broken traffic signals or traffic control devices;
- inadequate or obsolete traffic signals or signage;
- faded lane or other surface markings;
- missing or inadequate guardrails;
- poorly marked intersections;
- failure to install median barriers;
- defective drainage design;
- debris blocking the road; and
- tree limbs blocking signage.
A road defect can also be more fundamental such as the roadway having a too sharp turn, being too straight, being too steep, and so on.
Product liability is also possible in a component of the roadway. For example, there have been deadly single-vehicle accidents attributed to defective highway guardrails. These devices are supposed to prevent a vehicle from leaving the roadway. They are also supposed to absorb the impact of a crash to prevent a deflection of the vehicle back into traffic. However, in some cases, defective guardrails have for example actually impaled drivers, killing them, or caused vehicle rollovers, which are the deadliest accidents.
Your attorney can help you determine if any kind of roadway or road equipment contributed directly or indirectly to your injuries.
These types of cases can be especially complicated because while some roadways are private such as the roadways on casino properties, most roadways are managed by the State of Nevada, Clark County, the City of Las Vegas, or other government agencies.
In general, personal injury caused by an individual or a private company can be resolved by filing a personal injury lawsuit. Unfortunately, you cannot simply file a personal injury lawsuit against the government. Instead, you must seek relief under the Nevada Tort Claims Act. This act contains specific requirements that must be strictly followed.
You should hire a Las Vegas personal injury attorney to help you recover losses suffered by an improper roadway.