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Who can be liable in fixed-object collisions?

On Behalf of | Nov 23, 2023 | Car Accidents

Not all crash injuries and deaths involve two or more vehicles. Sometimes, it only takes a car colliding with fixed objects on the road for severe or fatal scenarios to happen.

Fixed objects include buildings, walls, fences, guardrails and traffic signposts. Moreover, trees, utility poles and traffic barriers were the most deadly permanently placed objects in 2021, accounting for 45%, 11% and 9% of deaths, respectively.

When careless drivers strike any of these objects, it may be easy to assume that the accident is their fault. However, this is not always the case. Injured parties or surviving family members may have strong reasons to believe that others are responsible for the wreck.

Establishing liability

Tennessee’s financial responsibility laws require drivers to carry minimum insurance requirements to cover the damage for collisions they caused. But in crashes with immovable objects without anyone else’s involvement, supplemental collision and comprehensive policies may help prevent out-of-pocket expenses.

On the other hand, after closer investigation, drivers may be convinced that the following parties’ negligence played a role:

  • A drunk or distracted driver swerving into the injured party’s lane
  • A government entity failing to maintain safe road design, as evidenced by inadequate lighting and other risky conditions
  • A property owner neglecting their duty to provide warning or clear their premises of hazardous materials, unleashed pets or unfenced livestock
  • A commercial trucking company overloading the truck with loose cargo resulting in spilling liquids or falling debris
  • A manufacturer designing the car poorly, as shown through defective tires or brakes

Drivers may lose control of the vehicle from trying to avoid these dangers caused by other people or entities. While that may be true, alleged liable parties will likely have insurance companies shifting the blame.

Fighting for fair compensation

The state’s modified comparative negligence rule means that victims can only recover financial relief if they are less than 50% at fault for the fixed-object incident. Since multiple parties may be involved and all determined to reduce their expenses, things can quickly become complex. A legal team can assist in gathering valuable proof to fight for fair recovery.