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How do you get compensated when you are the only driver in the crash?

Insurance companies don't like paying for single-car accidents. (Not that they like paying for any accident.) They see that you suffered head injuries when your car went off the road, and they think:

This had to be your fault. Compensation denied.

But hold on there. There are circumstances in which you may be injured through the negligence of another. Consider these scenarios:

· Cargo on the freeway. A lumberyard truck up ahead of you hit a bump and out spilled a load of 4x4 boards. You either drove into the fallen debris, or veered off the road to avoid it.

· Roadkill that should have been removed. You have the right to expect that dead animals will not still be on the road days later.

· The phantom car crash. Another driver cuts you off and causes you to veer off road, where you strike a guardrail. The phantom driver speeds on, oblivious to the harm he has done to you.

· Defective car part. You crash into a sycamore tree. It looks bad, until you point out that your right front tire had burst. Investigation showed the tread on the tire had split open.

It turns out, there are many single-car accident scenarios in which you are not to blame for the accident. But the burden of proof is usually upon you and your lawyer. Here are steps you should take to prove that the crash was not your fault:

Collect evidence. If another driver caused you to crash, get the license (if possible). Include that other driver in your report to police. Phantom driver-caused accidents are a kind of hit-and-run. If witnesses saw what happened, they may have the license, or be able to describe the car. It is better to have a good description than to have none.

Document the scene. If there was debris on the road, or a humongous pothole, or ice on a mountain pass that should have been removed, photograph it. Report the problem to the county or municipality along with your photographic evidence or eyewitness account. Get that information into the official record.

Check out the vehicle. If your tire blows out, or your brakes fail, get your car to a mechanic for assessment. If you drive away from the accident and wait a week to assess the damage, the evidence won't be taken as seriously.

See a doctor. You will need to substantiate your injuries, too.

Single-car accidents are not uncommon. Many, it is true, are obviously the fault of the driver. But before you make that judgment, talk to a skilled personal injury lawyer who understands these cases better than you do.

Don't dismiss your case when you may not even understand what happened to you. Get help. If you don't stick up for yourself, who will

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