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Who Is at Fault in a Single Vehicle Accident?

Businessman Car Crash In Guardrail
Most people assume that the driver is always responsible for a single vehicle accident. However, other factors beyond the driver's control may contribute to single vehicle accidents. Read on to find out about liability and damages in a single car accident.

Driver Liability

If your actions are the approximate cause of an accident, for example, if you drink under the influence, you may be liable for such an accident.
In Michigan, the law may classify a DUI charge as a felony in case of death or serious bodily harm. In addition to paying fines and serving a prison term, you may lose your driving privileges temporarily.

Government Liability

State and local government agencies are responsible for ensuring public amenities such as roads are in good working condition.
Poor roads can lead to serious auto accidents that are entirely not the drivers' fault. When a defective road results in an accident, you may be able to hold the government liable based on the state's Tort Claim Act.
According to this law, you must demonstrate that the government agency responsible for maintaining the road was in fact negligent. Just because a pothole on a public road caused you to crash does not mean that the government did any wrong.
You must be able to show that the government acted unjustly with the maintenance of the road in question. You must also demonstrate that the government knew or should have reasonably known that the road was problematic and that this would result in an accident.
Admittedly, bringing a lawsuit against a state or local government entity can be challenging. Various immunities, such as government functions, protect the government from public litigation. Bear in mind that lawsuits you bring against government agencies have a set statute of limitations of up to 120 days.
If the government entity is liable, you may be able to recover damages. However, most government agencies place a cap on the amount a plaintiff in a personal injury case may be able to recover.
If you believe the poor state of a private road contributed to your accident, you may be able to bring a personal injury claim against the private owner of the road.

Manufacturer Liability

Defective car parts can also result in a single vehicle accident. Manufacturers have a duty of care to consumers and should ensure products are reasonably safe for use.
A vehicle or parts manufacturer may be liable, based on the principle of strict liability, if the manufacturer's actions contribute to an accident.
According to the principle of strict liability, you do not have to prove that the manufacturer was careless. You only need to demonstrate that a car or one of its components were unreasonably dangerous.
Additionally, you must show that the defect resulted in an injury while the driver was using the vehicle correctly and that you had not made significant changes to the vehicle to affect its performance.
Further, the manufacturer may be liable if they failed to warn of a potential hazard and did not issue a timely recall.

Comparative Fault

If someone else's actions caused you to end up in a single vehicle crash, you could make a claim against this person. Michigan uses pure comparative fault to determine how much a plaintiff can recover following an auto accident that was partially due to someone else's fault.
Based on the principle of pure comparative fault, the plaintiff would still be able to recover economic damages even if they are more than 50% to blame for the accident.
Determining liability in a single vehicle accident can be challenging especially if you go up against a government entity or product manufacturer. In such a case, do not assume you are at fault. Call the experienced personal injury attorneys at Ringsmuth Wuori PLLC, for a free consultation.