Car accident laws in Texas hold the at-fault driver or party responsible for paying for a victim’s property damage and medical bills. In a single-vehicle accident, or one that only involves the victim’s vehicle, it is often assumed that the victim will be held financially responsible. However, there are circumstances where someone else could be found at fault for a single-car accident in Texas.

A Vehicle Part Manufacturer

Many car accidents each year are caused by defective vehicle parts. If a vehicle manufacturer produces a car or car part that contains a manufacturing, design or marketing defect, the defective part could end up causing a serious motor vehicle accident. Defective brakes may fail in the middle of a drive, for example, or a faulty tire may explode and cause a loss of vehicle control.

If an investigation of a single-car accident finds that the vehicle contained a defective part that caused or significantly contributed to the crash, the injured victim may be able to file a product liability claim against the automaker or part manufacturer. A manufacturer may also be held liable for injuries exacerbated by faulty safety equipment, such as a defective seat belt or airbag.

A Government Agency

Even the most careful driver could lose control of a vehicle due to dangerous roadway conditions. The government in Texas is responsible for ensuring the reasonable safety of its public roads and highways. If a road is allowed to fall into a state of disrepair (e.g., potholes, cracks, uneven surfaces or debris) due to poor road maintenance, this can increase the odds of a car accident. In this scenario, the government agency in charge of road inspections and repairs could be held responsible for a single-car crash.

An Employer

If the injured motor vehicle driver was on the clock at the time of the accident, his or her employer could potentially be held liable. For example, if the employer is guilty of overworking his or her drivers or pressuring them to exceed hours-of-service regulations to meet tight deadlines, the employer could be found responsible for a related car accident. In addition, if the employer oversees fleet vehicle maintenance for a company car, part breakdowns could be the fault of the employer in a workplace accident.

Another Driver

Some single-car accidents still involve other drivers but no actual contact between the cars. These are referred to as no-contact car accidents. In these scenarios, a driver may be forced to make a dangerous maneuver to avoid colliding with an at-fault driver, only to crash because of the maneuver; for example, if a driver runs a red light and another driver careens off the road to avoid a collision. In this type of accident, the driver who violated a traffic law could be held responsible – even if his or her car never actually touched the victim’s vehicle.

A Pet Owner

Animals crossing the road present a significant hazard to many Texas drivers, especially in rural areas. While it may not be possible to hold someone liable for a single-vehicle crash caused by a wild animal, collisions caused by pets, domesticated animals, farm animals or livestock may expose the pet owner to liability. Pets are viewed as property in Texas, making pet owners legally responsible for any harm caused by animals that are not properly contained.

If you or a loved one was recently injured in a single-car accident in San Antonio, do not assume you have no legal options available. One or more third parties could still be held responsible in certain situations. Consult with a San Antonio car accident attorney at Maloney & Campolo to discuss your particular case.