Cars/Motorcycles, Personal Finance

How to claim for damages in a single vehicle accident

Single vehicle accident

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This guide outlines the strategies and approaches to make a legal case for damages if you have been involved in a single vehicle accident.

So, after a long hiatus due to the pandemic, you finally decide to pack your weekend bag and set out for that much-awaited east-coast road trip. But just as you hit the expressway, you realize that you forgot to inform your girlfriend about the trip, and she is going to be super upset. You pull over to try and convince her, but, in haste, you don’t see the divider and end up colliding into it! 

Well, the good news, you did not hurt anybody else, but the not so good news, maybe there’s no one you can blame but yourself — or can you? So much for a relaxing road trip! When in a single vehicle accident, it is crucial to consult with a car accident attorney. There are way too many variables like: were you drunk, will there be a criminal case against you, can you claim for damages, and most importantly, is it ALWAYS your fault? Read on to find out. 

What Is a Single Vehicle Accident?

In most automobile accidents, there are usually two or more drivers and vehicles involved. But, like the above example, there are quite a few cases that are a single vehicle accident. Some other examples include:

  • Trying to save a pedestrian or animal and, as a result, you hit the sidewalk.
  • Your brakes failed, and you had to hit a dumpster to reduce impact.
  • You were drunk or under the influence and lost control, etc.

While the first two cases seem like it’s not your fault, the third one is a criminal offense. And if someone was careless enough to drive under the influence and be met with an accident because of an error in judgment, there’s no good reason why the legal system is going to allow them to claim compensation. However, in the first two examples, you could well have a case to sue for damages even though it was a single vehicle accident.

What Are the Criteria Under Which You Can Claim for Damages in a Single Vehicle Accident?

To build a strong defense in a single vehicle accident, the first thing you need to do is find out if any of the following things happened or not. 

a) Was the Vehicle Defective?

If there was a vehicle defect like faulty brakes, wrong wheel alignment, or any other part that did not function properly, you could show this as a ground for negligence. As long as you followed your service schedule and kept your car in good condition (which means the ‘check engine warning light’ on the dashboard should be off), you can file a product liability case on the car manufacturer and cover damages in the case of this type of single vehicle accident. 

b) Was the Road Hazardous? 

If you think you hit the sidewalk to avoid falling in an unmarked pothole, you can sue the city roadworks department and claim compensation. Since it involves a single vehicle accident case against the government, you must hire the best lawyer to represent the case. 

What to do at the scene of the accident?

If you are involved in a single vehicle accident, you should first check whether you are injured yourself and then take care of the appropriate steps.

Securing of the accident site

In order to prevent follow-up accidents and to protect yourself and others, you should first secure the scene of the single vehicle accident. If you are involved in a traffic accident, you should first check whether you are injured yourself and then take care of the appropriate steps.

  • Turn on the hazard warning system
  • Put on a reflective vest
  • Set up a warning triangle: in city traffic approx. 50 meters before the accident site, on country roads 100 meters and on highways 200 meters in front of it
  • in the event of minor damage, remove the vehicle from the danger zone immediately
  • Do not remove traces of accidents in the event of major damage and wait until the accident has been recorded by the police
  • Dial an emergency call and provide first aid and draw other road users’ attention to the accident.

If people were injured in the single vehicle accident, the emergency services should be notified immediately via emergency call column, telephone booth, mobile phone). If the accident caused only property damage, the police should be informed.

When reporting the single vehicle accident, the five W-strategy should be answered:

  • What happened?
  • Where is the scene of the accident?
  • What number of people are injured?
  • What injuries are there?
  • Waiting for questions!

If injured people are at the scene of the single vehicle accident, you should not wait until the emergency services are on site, but provide first aid immediately.

Secure evidence and document the single vehicle accident

Especially in the event of a major single vehicle accident, it is important to secure evidence and to document the course of the accident in the best possible way. This can be done via photos as well as via an accident sketch and the accident report.

Photos of the scene of the accident

If you are involved in a single vehicle accident, you should definitely take photos of the scene of the accident yourself. These not only document the damage caused to your vehicle, but can also help to reconstruct the course of the accident.

Even if the witnesses or other people in the accident also take photos of the scene of the accident, it is still important to have your own pictures. Because other people involved in the accident do not have to leave the photos taken to you.

For extensive documentation, you should definitely take pictures of:

  • Damage to the vehicle involved
  • Traces of the accident (for example, tire and scratch marks on the road, glass splinters)
  • Location of the single vehicle accident (if possible in different levels of detail, perspectives and distances)

Accident sketch

In addition to photos from the single vehicle accident site, the car accident can also be documented with an accident sketch. There is no fixed requirement for these, but you should make sure that all drawn elements are clearly recognizable and clearly marked.

Draw the location and type of existing traffic signs and accident traces in such a way that a later reconstruction of the car accident by a third party is possible. In addition, the course of the road should be sketched and, if necessary, the position of eyewitnesses should be marked.

Summing Up

The only way to truly avoid falling into such situations is to be 200% careful and alert. It goes without saying that DUI (Driving Under Influence) is a criminal offense, and you should never do that. However, if there was an unavoidable circumstance that you couldn’t prevent in your single vehicle accident, you should hire the best attorney to maximize your winning chances.