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Monterey County Sheriff’s Patrol Car Catches Fire During Auto Accident Response

In May 2018, a Monterey County Sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle caught on fire while responding to a single-vehicle accident in Carmel Valley. The victim, Klein, the brother of a Cachagua firefighter who responded to the scene, veered off the road and crashed his pickup truck into a tree.

The cause of the patrol car fire is unclear, but luckily, the deputy was not inside at the time and was uninjured. Good Samaritans and the deputy performed CPR on the accident driver, but he died from blunt force trauma as a result of the impact and not wearing a seatbelt.

Single-vehicle accidents are the most prevalent and hazardous type of accident in California. Most often, vehicles collide with a fixed object, such as a highway divider, wall or tree. The contributing factors to single-vehicle accidents can be complex, but if someone else is at fault, you need the help of an experienced Monterey car accident attorney to help you get the damages you’re owed. Learn more about single-vehicle accidents and how the Dunnion Law Firm can help.

Causes of Single-Vehicle Accidents

Most single-vehicle accidents are a result of driver error, such as fatigued, intoxicated or reckless driving. This may seem clear, but sometimes other factors may have contributed to the driver’s loss of control.

  • Defective auto parts: Defective steering components, braking components, tires or other auto parts can cause a single-vehicle accident. If any of these components are defective, the manufacturer or seller of the vehicle may be held responsible.

  • Defective roadways: If you’re driving in inclement weather and your vehicle hydroplanes and crashes, the roadway may be to blame. If negligence contributed to a defective roadway, the construction company may be held responsible.

  • Construction: Properly-marked construction zones have clear warning signs, cones and barriers to alert drivers, as well as diverting traffic in an organized and safe way. If these precautions aren’t followed and lead to a collision, the construction company may be held responsible.

Determining Fault

When trying to determine fault in a single-vehicle accident, all the evidence is considered. Police reports, the California Vehicle Code and any evidence from the scene, including environmental or meteorological information, are considered.

The police report is a summary of the police officer’s observations following the accident. This report includes details about the position of the vehicle, any skid marks or debris, damage to the vehicle or surrounding areas and the weather and road conditions that provide clues to the series of events. This helps the police and attorneys reconstruct the accident.

If the accident took place in an area with improperly-marked construction work or improper road signaling, that information will also be added to the evidence. This may require the help of outside authorities.

Pure Comparative Negligence

The State of California has a pure comparative negligence rule, which means that the plaintiff can be partially responsible for an accident but may still be entitled to damages. The percentage of fault is determined by the court in these cases.

In car accidents involving pure comparative negligence, a plaintiff’s recovery may be reduced by their own negligence. This means that if defective auto parts caused you to lose control of your vehicle, but you were also talking on your cell phone at the time of the accident, you are partially responsible.

Some factors that may contribute to percentage of fault include:

  • Texting while driving.

  • Talking on a cell phone.

  • Applying makeup.

  • Listening to loud music.

  • Eating or drinking.

  • Driving fatigued.

  • Reading maps.

Even if you were found to have contributed to your own injuries, various forms of recovery may still be available. These damages include lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, property damage, medical expenses and punitive damages.

Consult a Monterey Car Accident Attorney

Pure comparative negligence in single-vehicle accident cases can be difficult to navigate, especially with multiple contributing factors. Even if the driver caused the crash, another party, such as the construction company or car manufacturer, could also be responsible for compensating you for your injuries or the wrongful death of a loved one.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a single-vehicle accident, it’s best to consult a knowledgeable Monterey car accident lawyer, such as the professionals at Dunnion Law Firm. We have a long history of success with car accident cases, which is why we won’t charge you a dime unless we win your case. Contact us today for your free consultation!