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Questions Surrounding Single-Vehicle Crashes

Fatal Accident on Hilltop Drive Last Week

Last week in Redding, a motorist was killed in a fiery single-car crash on Hilltop Drive in Redding.  Single-vehicle crashes are common in California and often cause serious or fatal injuries.

The deadly incident occurred on the night of November 10th. It happened near Petco. The vehicle, a 2005 Buick, crashed and ignited below the Highway 44 onramp at around 11:00 p.m. The driver, who was the sole occupant of the Buick, was killed. 

According to officials with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), the vehicle had been traveling east on the connector between I-5 and Highway 44 when, for unknown reasons, it left the roadway, struck a guardrail, and traveled down an embankment.

Investigators are still looking into the cause of this tragic single-vehicle crash. 

Single-Vehicle Crashes

As the name suggests, single-vehicle crashes are collisions in which only one vehicle is involved. Some of the most common causes of these types of accidents are:

  • Wildlife in the road
  • Backing into an object
  • Driver error such as overcorrection
  • Falling asleep behind the wheel
  • Excessive speed
  • Driving while impaired
  • Distracted driving
  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Inexperience (teen drivers are the group most likely to be involved in single-car accidents)
  • Driving with passengers (this causes distraction)
  • Decreased visibility (more than half such accidents occur at night)

In 2019, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more than three-fourths of all fatalities that occurred when a car rolled over were single-vehicle incidents.

Finding Fault in Single-Vehicle Crashes

Because there is no other driver involved in such an accident, in California, which is an at-fault state, the single driver would be determined to be 100% at fault. That fault determination means the driver is responsible for all of the damages caused by the accident.

If you are a passenger that was injured in a single-vehicle accident, the insurance company for the driver will be responsible for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Reporting a Single-Car Accident

Not all accidents that involve one vehicle are as devastating as the recent crash on Hilltop Drive in Redding. Many times they are relatively minor, which leads to the question: does it need to be reported?  The answer is yes – if the property damage exceeds $1,000. If there is visible damage, it will likely be more than that amount so you are required to report the accident within 10 days to the DMV. The accident can be reported online via the DMV’s SR-1 Accident Reporting Form. All accidents that cause injuries also must be reported. 

Watch the YouTube video. Below is a clip from Australia exploring the mystery of single-car accidents.

Avoiding Single-Vehicle Crashes

Because driver error is a primary cause of single-vehicle accidents, the advice with regard to how to avoid them is the same as when trying to avoid other types of incidents – use extreme caution while driving. This includes traveling at safe speeds and never driving while impaired, fatigued, or distracted. Of course, even the safest driver may find themselves in a situation where an accident is unavoidable.

Redding Personal Injury Lawyers

Thanks for visiting our legal blog and our look into single-vehicle crashes. My name is Ed Smith, and I am a Redding personal injury lawyer. Our law firm and its team of experienced injury attorneys have been helping residents of Redding and other parts of Northern California with their legal claims for close to 40 years. We also advocate for grieving families who have suffered through the wrongful death of a loved one. For compassionate, free, and friendly legal advice after an accident resulting from negligence, call us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400. If you prefer, you can send your inquiry through our online form.

To learn more about our firm and the services we offer, please visit the sites linked below.

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Photo by Erik Mclean via Unsplash

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