Car Insurance and Single-Car Crashes
Single-car accidents are far too common in New Mexico even if not as frequent as two or three car crashes. They are often as dangerous as two car accidents and frequently have similar injuries. Single-car accidents often involve vehicle crashes with fixed objects. It may be a car that strikes a tree, traffic light or involves a rollover when a car exits from the roadway.
At Whitener Law Firm we are often called upon to represent victims of single-car crashes and these types of cases present unique difficulties in determining liability and collecting insurance benefits.
Causes of Single-Car Crashes are varied and it is difficult to set out every possibility in a blog post. Today we will discuss driver claims, passenger claims and product liability claims.
Driver Claims and Single-Car Crashes
Driver claims in single-car crashes are usually the most difficult. They can be divided into two distinct types of claims. In single-car crashes where the driver is at fault for the crash, the insurance benefits available to the injured driver are very limited. If the driver has Medical Payment (Med Pay) coverage, then the insurance company will pay up to the amount of medical payment coverage in medical expenses but is not required by New Mexico law to pay claims for pain and suffering, lost wages and, in some cases, future medical treatment. Property damage coverage is limited to insurance for collision and comprehensive coverage, depending on the circumstances
There are some single-car crash claims where the driver may avail himself of the uninsured / underinsured motorist coverage on an insurance policy. This is where another vehicle was involved. It is easiest to see this type of claim by example.
One example of such a claim is where a driver is cut off by another vehicle and then causes the single-car accident. This means that the single-car accident occurred due to the negligence of a third party and is not the fault of the driver. Some insurance adjusters will tell their insured that they do not cover these types of claims unless there is contact between the two vehicles. This is not the law and you should not get legal advice from adjusters. They misrepresent the law to shut down your claim.
Passenger Claims and Single-Car Crashes
Passenger claims in single-car crashes are very different from those of the driver. Passengers almost always have a valid claim where there has been a car crash. Many accident victims do not understand this and have misconceptions about the legal remedies available to them as a result of a crash.
The most significant problem with passenger claims is that they often involve claims against the driver of the vehicle. Passengers usually know the driver, are friends with the driver or are related to the driver as family. This makes these cases difficult in the sense that the family members all get along and care about each other as friends or family but need to make claims against a family member.
While it may seem strange, it is very common for insurance claims to be made against parents, siblings or friends. It may surprise most people to learn that most family members understand the need for this and are willing to cooperate in the claims process.
Passengers have many types of insurance claims available to them. They may make claims for medical payment benefits, liability benefits, uninsured motorist benefits and underinsured motorist benefits, if available. In other words, they are treated like any other type of accident injury victim.
Product Liability Claims and Single-Car Accidents
A third type of claim that a driver may encounter is a products liability claim. A driver may have a claim for injuries where the crash was the result of a tire failure, break failure or gas pedal malfunction. The only limitation on these types of claims is the necessity of the injuries being very severe to warrant the claim. Product liability claims are extremely expensive to pursue and, therefore, require a catastrophic personal injury claims before they can become cost effective. Retaining experts often costs $10,000 to $20,000 to determine the merits of the case. Small injury cases make product liability claims infeasible.
If you are involved in a single-car accident, it may be caused by any number of circumstances. It may be from distracted driving, reckless driving, drunk driver or an animal in the roadway. Other causes might be objects flying off other vehicles, poor road conditions or poor road design.
If You Were In a Single-Car Crash, Call Whitener Law Firm for a Free Consultation.
If you injured in a single-vehicle crash and are not sure whether you have a right to insurance benefits, you should speak with an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.