What Does It Mean To Be In A Single Car Crash?

a single car crash involving a collision with a tree.

Single-vehicle crashes, also called single-car accidents, are surprisingly common. Unlike accidents with multiple cars, they involve only one vehicle colliding with another object, terrain, or overturning. While they might seem less complex, they can still be frightening and raise important questions.

Why Do Single-Vehicle Crashes Occur?

There are many reasons why a single-vehicle crash might happen. Here are some of the common causes:

  • Driver error: This includes factors like speeding, distracted driving (texting, eating), driving under the influence, or drowsy driving.
  • Weather conditions: Rain, snow, fog, and even bright sunlight can all impact visibility and road conditions, leading to loss of control.
  • Road hazards: Potholes, debris, or uneven pavement can cause swerving or tire blowouts.
  • Animal encounters: Collisions with deer or other wildlife are more common than you might think.
  • Vehicle malfunctions: Mechanical problems like brake failure or tire defects can contribute to a crash.

Who Is at Fault in a Single Vehicle Accident?

Determining fault in a single-vehicle accident depends on the cause. Typically, the driver of the car is considered responsible. However, there are exceptions:

  • Poor road maintenance: If a poorly maintained road caused the accident or a governing entity failed to remove dangerous debris in a timely manner, the agency responsible for upkeep might be liable. Likewise, if flying debris from another vehicle contributed to the crash, the driver of that car may be held liable.
  • Inadequate Signage: If signage indicating a hazard, such as a sharp turn or the presence of animals, was missing or damaged at the time of the single-car accident, those responsible for maintaining the roadway may also be held accountable.
  • Vehicle malfunction: If a mechanical issue resulted from a known defect or deferred maintenance by a mechanic, they could be partially at fault.

Does Car Insurance Cover Single Vehicle Accidents?

Generally, car insurance covers damage to your car in a single-vehicle accident as long as you have collision coverage. This coverage helps pay for repairs or replaces your car if it’s totaled.

Remember, your insurance policy and coverage details will vary. It’s always best to check your policy documents or contact your insurance provider directly to understand your specific coverage in case of a single-vehicle accident.

Should You Report a Single Car Accident/Can You Leave the Scene?

Colorado law is clear: You can’t leave the scene of an accident, even a single-vehicle one. Here’s a breakdown of what you should do if you’re involved in a single-vehicle accident:

  • Report the accident to the police. This is required by law, regardless of injuries or property damage. The police will file an accident report, which is vital for insurance claims and legal purposes. You can also file a report online (see below).
  • If you are injured and/or there is property damage, don’t leave the scene. Call 911 immediately for help.
  • If there are only minor damages to your car and no injuries, Colorado law allows you to exchange information with witnesses and report the accident to the police later. But it’s always recommended to play it safe and await law enforcement at the scene of the crash.

Involving the police creates an official accident record, strengthens your position with your insurance company, and protects you in case of unforeseen issues.

Reporting even a minor accident avoids potential complications or accusations of a hit and run later, which is a crime in many states, including Colorado.

Do I Need a Lawyer After a Single-Vehicle Accident?

Whether you need a lawyer after a single-vehicle accident in Colorado depends on your situation. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

If You Have Serious Injuries

Even if the accident was technically your fault, a lawyer can help negotiate with your insurance company to make sure you receive a fair settlement to help pay for the cost of treating your injuries and time away from work. 

The Accident Wasn’t Your Fault

Even in single-vehicle crashes, other parties might be responsible, like a government agency for poor road maintenance or a mechanic for faulty repairs. A lawyer can investigate and fight for compensation on your behalf.

The Accident Is Complex

If the cause of the accident is unclear or multiple factors are involved, a lawyer can untangle the details and protect your rights. Comparative negligence laws in Colorado mean you may still be able to claim a settlement even if you are found partially liable for an accident. 

Injured in a Single Vehicle Accident in Colorado?

Single-car accidents can be frightening and cause significant injury, depending on the circumstances. If you or a loved one was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Colorado caused by another’s negligence, contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at The Roth Group. We assist drivers all over the state in securing just compensation for their injuries, including pain and suffering. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.