What Are My Rights in a Single Vehicle Car Accident?
All car accidents can be troublesome experiences. Somehow, a no-contact or single vehicle car accident can be even worse than a typical vehicular collision if you are the accident victim.
You can easily find yourself in a difficult position in this type of accident. Given the circumstances, you may not know what to do or who to turn to.
If you ever find yourself in that situation, remember that you still have your rights. You can still maneuver yourself out of that situation by enlisting the aid of available tools and services, including a Baltimore accident attorney.
Discover how you can best deal with that kind of road crash by continuing with the rest of this article.
What Is a Single Vehicle Car Accident?
A single vehicle car accident also referred to as a no-contact accident, is a collision that takes place due to another driver moving irresponsibly or even maliciously while they are on the road. The other driver never actually hits your vehicle. Instead, the cause of the crash is their erratic movements. You notice a fellow driver moving unusually and inevitably react to them. Unfortunately, it may force you to react in a manner that makes you more likely to crash.
Let’s go through a few examples of the types of accidents to understand what no-contact car accidents are.
The Other Driver Forces You Off Your Current Path
Many drivers operate their vehicles as if they are always in a rush. They will swerve in and out of lanes, cut off other drivers, and force themselves into tight spots to get ahead. They will not hesitate to force you off your established path to reach their destination a few seconds faster.
That driving behavior is annoying, but that is not the real issue. The main problem with that kind of driving is how dangerous it is.
Instinctively, you may try to swerve your car away when another vehicle unexpectedly enters your lane. You may also lose your bearings after a fellow driver cuts you off in traffic. In either scenario, you could easily crash into a roadside structure to avoid the erratic driver.
The Other Driver Merges into Your Lane without Signaling
Drivers are always supposed to signal their intent to merge or change lanes. That way, the drivers in the other lane can make room for them. Merging without that room available is dangerous and can easily lead to an accident.
Accidents can occur in that scenario because the drivers in the other lane may be caught off guard by the merging driver and attempt to swerve away. Swerving in a packed lane is risky, and drivers should avoid it.
Although the driver who swerved was the one who initially hit another vehicle, they can still blame the merging motorist for the accident. After all, their negligent actions were the root cause of the whole thing.
The Other Driver Did Not Yield the Right of Way
When you are on the road, you expect the drivers around you to behave predictably. For instance, you expect them to follow the right-of-way laws and factor that into your driving decisions.
Unfortunately, some drivers do not behave in that manner. They will not yield the right of way because they do not want to lose their advantageous position.
Most of the time, drivers doing that can be annoying, but nothing more. However, their actions can also become problematic because they can lead to accidents.
If you fail to yield the right of way to a turning vehicle, they may have to swerve away in response and eventually crash into something. Do not put your fellow drivers in that situation unless you want to receive the blame for a no-contact car accident.
The Other Driver Was Distracted
Distracted driving endangers you and anyone else nearby. You significantly increase your chances of crashing into something if you operate your vehicle while distracted. If that is not bad enough, you could also force other drivers into dangerous spots because your concentration is not on the road.
Never drive with your phone in front of your face. Wait until your drive is over before you look at your phone again. You should spare those few minutes to keep yourself and others safe.
The Other Driver Was Intoxicated
No-contact car crashes often happen because someone was moving erratically on the road. Drunk drivers are often the most erratic and unpredictable individuals behind the wheel. There is no telling what they will do because chances are they do not know what they are doing to create the driver error.
Drunk driving endangers everyone around them. They do not belong on the road. Report any drunk driver you see to prevent potential single-vehicle car accidents.
The Other Driver Brake Checked You
Lastly, no-contact car accidents may also take place because of brake checking.
For those who may be unaware, brake checking is the maneuver where one driver will quickly hit their brakes while they are directly in front of a fellow driver. People often engage in brake checking to stop someone who is tailgating. They may also do it because they were annoyed with the actions of another driver.
Regardless of their motivation, drivers who brake check are reckless. That maneuver can easily lead to a road collision, so avoid it no matter what.
If you brake check, you could also find yourself on the hook for a single-car accident.
What Should You Do if You Were Involved in a No-Contact Car Accident?
Being involved in any kind of car accident is a harrowing experience. You may be left badly hurt due to the accident, and it may take a while to recover. Still, it provides some semblance of relief to know that the person who caused your accident can be held accountable for their actions.
There is no guarantee that such a thing will happen with single-vehicle crashes. Many no-contact car accidents end up having similar outcomes to hit-and-run car accidents because the drivers responsible for what happened often flee the scene. This is why working with a hit and run lawyer or Baltimore car accident lawyer is so important.
It is hard to hold your assailant accountable when you do not even know who they are.
So, what should you do in the aftermath of your no-contact car accident? We have some suggestions that should prove useful.
Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injuries
As soon as you can, you need to check yourself and all of your passengers for physical injuries. If someone is injured, do not take it upon yourself to treat or move them because you could do more harm than good. Instead, move to the next step.
Call 911 immediately following the no-contact accident. Even if no one was hurt, you should call 911 and ask them to send police to the scene of the accident. You cannot handle this ordeal yourself, so do not hesitate to get the police involved.
Gather Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
You do not need to sit back and wait for the police to arrive. While waiting for the police officers, you can start collecting evidence at the accident scene if you feel well enough to do so.
Take as many pictures of the accident site and the vehicle damage as you can because those will help bolster your case. You should also search for any traffic cameras that may have captured footage of the accident.
Witness testimony is also valuable in these types of cases.
If you can find people nearby, ask them to describe what happened. Record their testimony if they agree to it. Ask for their contact details as well so you can get a hold of them later.
Speak to the Police
Speak to the police as soon as they reach the scene of the accident. During this time, you can also hand over any pieces of evidence you have collected.
The police will likely investigate the scene as soon as they get there. Remember to ask for their contact information so you can get updates on the investigation.
Do not skip this step if you were involved in a single-vehicle collision. If you do not take the time to do this, you may miss out on the only way you can pay for your losses without touching your bank account. Keep this in mind as you continue to sort through what happened.
Pay a Visit to Your Doctor
No-contact car accidents can cause the same injuries that regular accidents do. You need to be certain that you are fully healthy after your car accident, so go to your doctor and get checked out. Do not automatically assume that you are fine because some of your injuries may not be obvious.
Hire a Lawyer
Hiring an experienced personal injury lawyer is critical in no-contact car accident cases. You will need their help to gather as much evidence as possible. Getting your hands on every piece of evidence available is crucial because you must demonstrate the other driver’s negligence.
If you cannot find the driver who caused your car accident, the assistance of your car accident lawyer will still prove valuable as you seek funds to pay for your repair and medical payments for your accident case.
Report the Accident to Your Insurer
Finally, you will also need to report the accident to your insurer.
In all likelihood, you will need to rely on specific policies in your auto insurance plan if you cannot identify the driver who caused the accident. To use them, you will need to report the accident first. Do so within 24 to 48 hours of when the accident took place so you can avoid unnecessary trouble.
How Can You Pay for Your Expenses if You Cannot Identify the Other Driver?
The state of Maryland requires drivers to purchase both uninsured motorist bodily injury liability coverage and uninsured motorist property damage liability coverage. You will be glad to have those additional policies if you ever find yourself dealing with the aftermath of a no-contact car accident.
Aside from protecting Maryland motorists from individuals who are either uninsured or underinsured, these policies also give you a way to recoup your losses if the driver who caused your accident remains unidentified. It says as much in this document provided by the Maryland Insurance Administration.
You need to file a claim against your own insurance company if you are planning to use uninsured coverage to pay for the losses you sustained during the no-contact car accident. That is why we urged you to report the incident to the police and your insurer. Reporting early is necessary if you want your claim to be successful.
This situation can be tricky because your insurer will probably not hand over the payout right away. They will want to see some proof first.
Bring your personal injury lawyer into the picture so they can handle the dealings with your insurer. They can handle the conversations with your insurer while giving you more time to recover.
How Much Time Do You Have to File Your Claim?
Generally speaking, you want to file your uninsured motorist insurance claim and collision coverage as soon as possible. You may need help paying for your medical expenses and repair bills soon, so do not delay your claim.
The statute of limitations in Maryland for car accident claims is three years. That may seem like a long time, but it can go by quickly if you do not know what you are doing.
You may also spend a lot of time looking for the driver who hit you, so you need to be mindful of that. Let your accident lawyer handle the matters surrounding your single car accident so the statute of limitations becomes a non-factor.
Get in touch with us at Leppler Injury Law if you need help managing the aftermath of your single-vehicle accident. We will help you every step along the way so you can deal with this difficult situation in the best way possible.