When police arrived on the scene of a single vehicle crash late in the evening on October 18, 2017, it was already too late for the driver and his passenger. According to Fox 5 DC, a 30-year-old man and 33-year-old woman were both killed in the accident, which occurred in Potomac, Maryland, about 50 miles southwest of Baltimore. A preliminary investigation reveals that the passenger vehicle left the road for unknown reasons and then struck a tree just off Interstate 270. The impact brought down electric lines, which fell on top of the car and caused it to catch fire. It is a common assumption that crashes involving two or more vehicles are among the most dangerous, but this recent accident shows that single auto accidents in Maryland can be just as deadly.
Statistics on Accidents Involving One Vehicle
In July of 2017, the American Automobile Association released a report based upon a study on fatal crashes, which included some interesting findings:
- In Virginia, 62.9% of accidents that caused death involved one vehicle;
- One car was involved in 74% of car crash fatalities in Washington, D.C., which is the highest rate in the nation;
- In Maryland, there were 513 deaths due to car crashes; of them 275 were single-vehicle accidents, for a rate of 53.6%; and,
- Nationwide, one-car collisions are responsible for 55% of traffic deaths.
Common Causes of Single-Car Accidents
Typical examples of factors that contribute to crashes that only involve one car include:
- Incidents where a motorist falls asleep while driving;
- Drunk or drugged driving that impairs a driver’s abilities to operate the vehicle safely;
- Distracted driving, such as texting, using a cell phone, adjusting the radio, interacting with a GPS device, eating, drinking, grooming, and other activities that take the driver’s attention away from the wheel;
- Weather conditions that cause roads to be slippery, including snow, sleet, and rain – or which impact visibility, such as fog;
- Speeding and reckless driving; and,
For some of the common causes of single-car accidents, the driver is at fault through his or her own conduct. However, there are some factors that may lead to liability for another individual whose actions were negligent:
- When there are mechanical failures of the vehicle or its components, like brakes, air bags, and other safety equipment, a manufacturer may be liable for defective products;
- There may be liability for government agencies if the accident is caused by hazardous conditions that should have been marked or repaired; and,
- If you must swerve to avoid another driver, there may be negligent conduct even when there is no impact with the other car.
Single car crashes are more common than many people think and resulting injuries can be just as severe for victims. You might assume that you cannot recover compensation for an accident when there is no other driver at fault, but you do have options under Maryland law. Considering the unique nature of collisions involving one vehicle, it is wise to retain an experienced auto accident attorney to represent your interests. For more information on these types of cases, please contact the Owings Mills, MD office of attorney Michael A. Freedman. We are happy to answer your questions or schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation.
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