Single-Vehicle Accident Claims
Most highway accidents involve two or more vehicles colliding, with damage and possible injuries to drivers and passengers. This is where your auto insurance comes in. The at-fault driver will be responsible for any property damage, and injuries will be taken care of through the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) feature of your personal auto policy.
But what happens if you’re out driving and you, for whatever reason, run your car off the road, hit a tree, and end up with both vehicular damage and injuries to yourself in what is called a single-vehicle accident? Your PIP should cover your medical expenses (up to a limit), but unless you have collision coverage, you’ll be stuck with the car repair costs.
Of course, there are occasions in which another driver, roadway conditions, or weather can cause your single-vehicle accident or at least be a factor. In this case, you may have a claim against another driver or against the state or municipality for failing to maintain the road in a safe condition.
If you are involved as the driver in a single-vehicle accident and your insurance company is contesting your claim or trying to shortchange your PIP reimbursement in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, contact me immediately at the Law Office of James A. Maniatis. I have 30 years of experience fighting for clients’ maximum recovery, whether by settlement with the insurance company or through court action.
In addition to Shrewsbury, I proudly serve clients in Southborough, Webster, Westborough, Northborough, Grafton, Boylston, Millbury, Upton, Dudley, and Oxford, Massachusetts.
Possible Causes of a Single-Vehicle Accident
The driver in a single-vehicle accident will normally be presumed to be the one at fault -- the one who caused the accident, whether it’s running into a tree or other roadside object, rolling the car over, or simply running off the road and getting injured from the sudden stop or rough terrain.
This can happen if the driver is distracted, perhaps by reading text messages, talking on the phone, trying to read a map or other document, eating, or merely chatting too intensely with passengers.
There are sometimes external causes that can lead to the accident as well. Another driver might swerve in front of your vehicle, and you turn to avoid a collision and end up in a ditch. Or you might have to turn quickly to avoid a person or animal that appears out of the blue in front of you, with the same result of ending up in a ditch.
The road itself may be in disrepair or littered with objects that can cause you to take drastic action. Your car itself might have a mechanical defect that causes your vehicle to swerve or prevents you from braking or navigating the vehicle properly.
Massachusetts No-Fault Insurance
As noted briefly earlier, Massachusetts is a no-fault insurance state. Every driver is required to carry minimum levels of liability insurance, which includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage for any injuries you sustain. The rest of the policy applies only to property damage you cause to others.
In other words, in a single-vehicle accident, you cannot make a claim under a basic liability policy for your own vehicle’s damage, but you can use PIP to help pay for your injury-related expenses.
Will My Insurance Cover My Claim?
Your insurance should cover your injuries under the PIP provision, but as noted, unless you bought collision coverage to augment the basic policy, you cannot make a claim for damage to your vehicle. Bottom line is that you should definitely make a claim for injuries.
When you do make a PIP claim, or a repair claim if you have collision coverage, the insurer is going to challenge the extent of your injuries and otherwise try to lowball any settlement. That’s where you need the guidance and direct help of an experienced car accident/personal injury attorney.
There’s also the possibility of filing a claim with whatever government agency is responsible for maintaining the road where your accident occurred if disrepair or poor road conditions caused your accident. You might also be able to file a claim if a mechanical defect caused the accident.
If another driver forced you off the road by their actions, you could possibly file a claim for car damage with their insurance company. The problem is, the other driver will probably be long gone while you’re still just adjusting to your roadside predicament.
Practical and Skilled Legal Assistance
If your insurance company is giving you the runaround on your claim, or if you feel you have a claim based on roadway conditions, contact me at the Law Office of James A. Maniatis immediately. Let’s go over the details and map out your options as soon as the accident occurs. I can also handle negotiations with your insurer to help prevent a lowball offer and earn you the settlement you deserve. I have offices conveniently located in Shrewsbury, Southborough, and Webster, Massachusetts.