Statistics gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) conclude that more than 30,000 Americans will lose their lives
in a fatal
car accident each year. According to other studies, some conducted by the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than 50% of car accident fatalities
involve only a single-vehicle, and often only one person within the car.
When this is the case and someone has lost their life in a collision that
did not involve anyone else, what can the surviving family members do
to find peace of mind and compensation? Is there still grounds for a wrongful
Careful Study May Reveal Liability
As with any car accident case, determining liability in a single-car accident
requires a keen eye for details. Every moment that led up to the collision
can supply evidence of wrongdoing, negligence, or recklessness. And it
is not always in the lap of the driver who lost their life.
If road conditions were not well-maintained and a pothole, for example,
caused the decedent to lose control of their vehicle, there may be room
for a wrongful death claim. In this case, the city might be to blame for
poorly maintaining public roadways. In other situations, the car’s
manufacturer could be liable and owe surviving family members monetary
compensation for their loss. In recent headlines, 10 American deaths have
been linked to defective Takata airbags, some of which were linked to
Due to the fact that alcohol is thought to be linked to more than 40% of
all car accident fatalities – also according to data gathered by
the NHTSA – it is worth noting how third-parties could be responsible
for an intoxicated driver’s death. Dram shop laws hold barkeeps
responsible for any injury an intoxicated patron experiences later that
evening if they continue to serve them alcohol despite their clear drunkenness.
Wrongful death cases for intoxicated drivers may be able to hold barkeeps
liable where dram shop laws are applicable. Kansas, however, is one of
the few states that does not have a dram shop law.
The bottom line is that a fatal single-car accident and its consequences
may not have been
only caused by the driver. There are outside factors that can work against
an individual that result in a devastating collision. When this is the
case, surviving family members should be permitted to seek compensation.
For more information, you can request a
free consultation with our Topeka personal injury lawyers from Palmer Law Group LLP.