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Was another party responsible for your single-vehicle crash?

If you have been the victim of unfortunate circumstances that led to you wrecking your car in New Jersey when no other vehicle was involved, you will likely have several questions about your rights. Most importantly, you will want to know whether being the only driver involved makes you liable for all the damages. These are essential issues to clarify, especially if you had a passenger who was injured, or if you caused property damage.

These are legitimate concerns because you might have lost control of your vehicle in an attempt to avoid hitting an animal, causing you to smash into a building -- or one of an endless list of possible scenarios that were unavoidable. If you can show that you were not at fault, you might be able to recover your damages, and your insurance might pay for the losses suffered by others.

Valid reasons for single-car accidents

The fact that only your car was involved in the collision does not automatically prove your negligence. Answers to the following questions might indicate circumstances that could help you to shift the fault or negligence elsewhere:

  • Was the accident avoidable? Examples of unavoidable accidents include a vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle that swerves into your lane or enters from a driveway or side street directly into your path. Your instinctive effort to avoid that collision might cause you to crash into a road sign, the guardrail or even a pedestrian. It might be possible to prove that the other driver, biker or cyclist was responsible for your accident.
  • Did your vehicle have a defect? If your car's brakes failed, or if there was a problem with the wheel alignment, it might have been impossible to operate it safely. If you can prove an auto defect existed, you might have grounds for a product liability claim, which might make the vehicle manufacturer liable for your losses and the damages suffered by others.
  • What was the condition of the road? An unexpected pothole or a malfunctioning traffic light could have been to blame for your accident. The county, your city or another entity that is responsible for the maintenance -- or even the design -- of the road where you crashed might be liable. These claims are rarely easy to prove, but help is available.
  • Were you impaired? If your answer to this question is yes, it will likely not be worthwhile even to attempt proving another party's negligence. If the court finds you guilty of drunk driving, you will probably be liable for any damages you caused. However, depending on the type of insurance coverage you have, your damages might be paid.

Help is available

All of the above circumstances will be a challenge to prove. Fortunately, the support and guidance of experienced legal counsel are available to explain the applicable New Jersey laws and your rights. An experienced attorney can assist throughout the navigation of ensuing legal proceedings to disprove your fault in a single-car accident.

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