The issue of who pays damages is a significant part of every personal injury claim, especially following a car accident. In Nashville, Tennessee, drivers crash on their own or with other vehicles. A driver who crashed single-handedly has been involved in a single-car accident.
Solo auto crashes always place the liability of the incident on the driver involved. This is because drivers’ error is most likely the cause of such an accident. But there are some instances, although not too common, where another person’s error or an inherent defect with the vehicle causes the crash.
Whatever scenario a driver finds themselves in, one question paramount on their mind is who pays for the damages incurred. Damages, here, refer to their medical treatment bills and vehicle repair, especially in high-impact accidents. This article answers this all-important question.
In it, our Nashville auto accident lawyers discuss who pays for your damages in a single-car accident. So, if you or a loved one suffer harm in a traffic collision, contact us immediately for the best legal counsel and representation in this side of Tennessee.
Liability in a Single-Car Accident Where You Are at Fault
Most solo auto crashes take this form: the driver loses control of their vehicle, goes off the road, and collides with the guardrail or a tree before stopping. If the accident is in a residential area, the car may collide with a utility pole, a fence, mailbox, and sometimes a structure.
Following the crash, especially if it results in severe injuries and significant property damage, law enforcement officers step in. Their primary role is to uncover what led to the accident. If they find that the driver’s negligence, e.g., drunk or distracted driving, caused the incident, liability will be on the driver.
Now, how the driver pays for the damages becomes the problem. This is where insurance coverage steps in. Generally, Tennessee law mandates drivers to possess the following auto liability insurance policies:
- Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property Damage Liability: $15,000 per accident
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage: $15,000 per accident
Unfortunately, the above coverages are best suited for collisions involving two or more vehicles. Even if you have the four of them, they are useless to you in a single-car accident. This is because they are liability coverages, so they apply where you are at fault in a crash involving another driver or drivers. This way, you don’t pay damages to them out-of-pocket.
The other option available to you is to purchase collision coverage. Collision insurance is auto coverage that reimburses the insured for damage sustained to their automobile due to the insured driver’s fault. So, with this policy, you can repair your car without paying out-of-pocket. What about the hospital bills for your injuries?
Unlike some other states in the U.S., Tennessee does not offer personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. What most insurance providers offer is medical payment coverage. This policy pays your medical bills irrespective of who is at fault. However, the payment is limited to the policy amount.
Liability in a Single-Car Accident Where the Driver is Not at Fault
Although it is rare, there are instances where the driver doesn’t cause a solo auto crash. If that’s the case, who pays damages to the driver? Below we consider three likely parties.
The Local Municipality:
The city government will compensate a driver if dangerous and unsafe road conditions cause the accident. Liability is on the local municipality because they failed to fix or appropriately maintain the road.
The Vehicle or Parts Manufacturer:
If a defective part or other mechanical error led to a single-car accident, the vehicle or parts manufacturer might be liable. However, the problem must have occurred instantly, not presented itself before the accident. If you noticed the problem earlier and failed to report or fix it, the liability is on you.
A Third Party:
This could be another driver or a pedestrian. Where a person’s action caused the accident, you can hold them liable for the crash. For example, if while avoiding a jaywalking pedestrian you crash, the pedestrian will pay you damages.
Contact Us Today!
If you suspect you are not liable for your single-car accident, you may be able to get compensation. Our Nashville auto accident attorneys have helped several clients secure the maximum settlement for their losses and will do the safe for you. Contact us today for a free case review.