When two vehicles collide, determining liability can be difficult, but it is often more straightforward than in a single-vehicle collision. Single-vehicle accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, including alcohol use, drowsy driving, and driver errors. However, in some cases, run-off-road accidents and other single-vehicle accidents occur due to another driver’s negligence. When a driver in front of you switches into your lane suddenly or cuts you off, it can cause you to swerve off the road and may potentially result in an accident — even if your car doesn’t collide with the other vehicle.
Large commercial vehicles, which have large blind spots and tend to make wide turns, can sometimes create conditions that cause other drivers to run off the road. Commercial drivers are also more likely to drive while drowsy or fall asleep at the wheel, which can similarly cause this type of accident.
Unfortunately, assigning liability for a run-off-road crash is complicated. Insurance providers will often deny claims for these types of accidents. That’s particularly true when an 18-wheeler or other large commercial vehicle is involved. Commercial drivers, who often operate as independent contractors, typically carry their own insurance policy separate from that of the company that hired them. Because there are multiple insurance policies involved in these accidents, proving liability and obtaining a settlement can be difficult.
However, just because it’s difficult to prove liability doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible. If your accident occurred due to a truck driver’s negligence, an experienced 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help you build a case strategy to show that your injury and other damages were caused by the other driver’s negligence. Here’s what you need to know about that process.
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Run-off-Road Accidents Are Serious and Often Deadly
Run-off-road accidents can be quite severe, resulting in very serious injuries. In some cases, these collisions may even be fatal: according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, run-off-road accidents account for around 70 percent of fatal single-vehicle crashes. Accidents that impact just one vehicle, meanwhile, comprise approximately 60 percent of all accident fatalities. In Texas alone, there were 1,311 single-vehicle run-off-road deaths in 2017, which amounted to more than 35 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Run-off-road accidents also make up a high percentage of single-vehicle injuries, and these injuries are often severe. In fact, nearly 5 percent of run-off-road accident victims sustain incapacitating injuries, according to an article in the Journal of Transportation Technologies.
How to Prevent Run-off-Road Accidents
Although it is not always possible to avoid run-off-road accidents, there are some steps you can take to reduce their likelihood:
- Never drive after drinking alcohol or while overly fatigued.
- Always maintain a safe speed while driving.
- When purchasing a new vehicle, look for one with an automatic braking system and lane change alert systems with side blind zone alert, which will notify you when a fast-moving vehicle moves into your blind spot.
- Allow plenty of space between your vehicle and any large trucks around you.
- Avoid curving highways and isolated roads in rural areas.
Proving Damages in a Single-Vehicle Accident
If you have been involved in an accident in which the other driver did not sustain damage to their vehicle, you will need to rely on other evidence, such as the impact to your vehicle and witness statements. Be sure to take the following steps to document your case:
- Identify the individual who caused the accident. If possible, take pictures of their vehicle and license plate.
- If you are able to, take down the driver’s license number, their insurance information, and the name of their employer.
- Call the police to the scene of the accident.
- Take down the contact information of any witnesses that were involved.
- Take multiple pictures of the damage to your vehicle.
- See a doctor as soon as possible so you can begin treatment and document your injuries.
A run-off-road accident — or any collision with a large commercial vehicle — can leave you with many questions. An experienced commercial vehicle accident lawyer will provide you with answers and help you decide whether or not you’d like to pursue an 18-wheeler accident settlement. At FVF, we offer a free case evaluation to help accident victims like you make informed decisions about their case. Schedule your free consultation today.