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Is the Driver Always Responsible for a Single Car Accident?

Like many legal questions, the answer is “it depends.”  In many single car accidents, the driver is the only one in the car, the only one injured, and the only one on the road when the accident happens.  In those cases, the driver is probably the only one responsible.

In other cases, drivers are pushed off the road by other, reckless drivers; their cars fail; or unsafe conditions cause an accident.  In other cases, the car’s passengers are injured.  Whenever you are injured in a car accident, even if it is a single car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.  If you are in Queens, talk to an experienced car accident attorney like those of Sullivan and Galleshaw.  Our personal injury attorneys are always willing to help victims get the compensation they need for injuries.

Other Parties At Fault for Single Car Crash

When you are the driver of a single car crash, it may seem embarrassing.  For drivers who were drunk, speeding, or otherwise driving dangerously, there might be no compensation available for them.  In other cases, other drivers, dangerous car malfunctions, and dangerous road conditions are to blame for the driver’s injuries or death.

Not every car accident sees two (or more) cars crash – but many accidents still involve two cars.  When drivers hog the road, disobey traffic laws, or simply drive dangerously, other drivers are put at risk.  Many accidents occur when drivers swerve to avoid dangerous drivers.  Sometimes, when other drivers cut someone off, brakes suddenly, or changes lanes without checking their blind spots, innocent drivers are forced off the road.  Even though your car may be the only car involved in a crash, the dangerous driver who forced you off the road should be held responsible.

If that car fails to stop, noting its license plate information, make, and model may help track down the owner.  Any time they fail to stop, it should be treated like a hit and run case.  This means that if the police are not able to track down the driver, you may have difficulty getting compensation.  It may be up to your own insurance policy, or New York’s required “uninsured/underinsured driver” insurance.  This helps motorists get compensation in accidents where the other driver has no insurance, or too little insurance to cover your needs.

In other cases, the accident is caused by a vehicle malfunction.  Some cars have known problems with ignition interlocks, brake systems, accelerators, and other car systems.  These problems can lead to catastrophic failures.  Sometimes vehicles may lock up so the driver cannot control the car.  Other times, sudden failures may startle drivers into swerving.  Either way, these failures may be responsible for the driver leaving the road and crashing the car.  Many of these accidents can lead to holding the auto manufacturer compensating the driver’s injuries or death.

Other times, road conditions are simply awful.  Dangerous road conditions could be caused by construction, poor road design, or unrepaired road damage from bad weather (such as potholes).  Caring for the roads and keeping them safe is the responsibility of the government (or the construction crews that cause damage).  When these kinds of road conditions lead to tire blowouts, sliding, or inability to stop, drivers can be seriously injured or killed.  These kinds of injuries are the responsibility of the government, and they should be made to compensate the injured drivers.

Passengers in Single Car Accidents

Many times, the people injured are not the driver of a single car crash, but the passengers.  Everyone has a friend or relative who is not a good driver, but sometimes we have no choice but to drive with these people.  Other times, taxi, bus, or Uber/Lyft drivers may not make safe decisions.  If you are injured as a passenger in a single-vehicle crash, you may have a case against the driver of the car you were in.

Drivers owe a duty to their passengers to drive safely.  This duty is even higher for hired drivers, like taxi, bus, or Uber/Lyft drivers.  When they cause accidents, they breach this duty – especially if the accident was caused by drunk or drugged driving.  These drivers can often be held responsible for their passengers’ injuries.

If the driver was not responsible for the crash, the passengers may also be able to recover for their injuries based on any of the above theories regarding other drivers, auto manufacturers, or unsafe roads.

Queens Attorneys for Car Accident Injuries or Death

If you or a loved one has been injured, or you’ve lost a loved one to a car accident, talk to an experienced car accident attorney.  Even if there was only one car involved in the accident, whether the injured person was the driver or a passenger, there may be paths to compensation.  Call Sullivan and Galleshaw today for a free consultation at (718) 843-0300.


Over our many years practicing personal injury law, our highly experienced legal team has earned a reputation for excellence. Our attorneys have appeared on major media outlets such as Fox News and MSNBC . Our firm’s legal accomplishments have been profiled by the New York Law Journal, the Los Angeles Times, ESPN, and the Associated Press. We have won multiple verdicts in excess of $1 million, making us proud members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, a prestigious organization which admits fewer than 1% of all attorneys in the United States. We were named Super Lawyers in 2011, and enjoy a perfect 10/10 Superb rating on national attorney database Avvo.

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