We understand the devastating impact that wrong-way driving accidents can have on people and their loved ones. When a driver enters a highway or roadway in the wrong direction, it can have disastrous consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these types of accidents are more likely to result in fatalities or serious injuries than other types of crashes. In fact, wrong-way collisions on divided highways have a fatality rate that is more than double that of all other types of crashes.
These serious accidents result in severe injuries to those involved. Often injured individuals suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. A personal injury lawyer can help accident victims claim compensation for those injuries when a wrong-way driver hits them.
Causes of Wrong-Way Driving
Driver error is most often the cause of accidents involving wrong-way drivers. This can be due to intoxication, distracted driving, driver confusion, and even factors such as inadequate lighting due to weather. These are the causes people typically think of when they hear of a wrong-way accident. The Illinois Department of Transportation found that wrong-way crashes involve an impaired driver late at night or early in the morning.
However, sometimes defective road design is a cause of wrong-way driving. When road signage is not clear or ramps are improperly marked, it can result in drivers traveling the wrong way.
Common Injuries in Wrong-Way Accidents
According to a special report published by the National Transportation Safety Board, accidents involving wrong-way drivers have the highest fatality rate. Those who do survive these accidents will face some of the most serious injuries. The most common are:
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Organ damage
- Brain injuries, including traumatic brain injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
These injuries both significantly diminish a person’s quality of life, and they are also costly to treat. In some instances, such as paralysis, an individual may even have to move or renovate their home or have to live in a caregiver to accommodate for the injury.
Liability in Wrong-Way Accidents
To help with the cost of treating their injuries, accident victims can often file a personal injury lawsuit to claim compensation for their injuries. In addition to compensation for medical bills and lost income, injured individuals can also receive compensation for pain and suffering. Before claiming that compensation though, the injured individual will need to determine who was liable, or at fault, for the accident.
Many accident victims assume that the driver traveling the wrong way on the road is liable for the accident. In most cases, this is true and can be fairly easy to prove. For example, if the other driver was drunk and drove on the wrong side of the road, that will likely be proven when the police arrive on the scene. The police will ask the driver to provide a breath test and those results will likely be available at the time a civil lawsuit is filed.
Municipality Sometimes Partially Liable
In some cases, the municipality is at least partly liable for the accident. The government is responsible for ensuring the roads its citizens use are safe. When they fail to put up signs or fail to ensure their signs are clear, they can be held liable. Liability in these cases though, is much more difficult to prove.
Municipalities will often cite comparative negligence to defend themselves in a lawsuit. Under Illinois’ comparative negligence statute, if an accident victim is partly responsible for an accident, any compensation they are awarded will be reduced. Comparative negligence can be difficult for the defense to prove when the other driver was at fault. A municipality, on the other hand, may state that signage was clear and installed, or that it was reasonable to assume that was the wrong way to travel.
In addition to these challenges, there are much stricter timelines and requirements when filing a lawsuit against a government entity.
Accident victims need to understand that although liability may seem obvious in a wrong-way accident, it is not always so clear. Injured individuals must contact someone who can help.
Call a Chicago Wrong-Way Driver Accident Attorney Who Can Help
Wrong-way drivers cause some of the most serious accidents on the road. Those injured need to speak to a car accident lawyer in Chicago right away.
If you have been hurt in an accident due to a wrong-way driver, call or text the Blumenshine Law Group today at (312) 766-1000 or fill out our online form. Settling these claims is not always easy, and it can become even more complicated if the case goes to trial. We will gather all the necessary evidence to prove liability, fight for your rights, and get you the compensation you need to recover from your injuries. We will review your case during a free initial consultation, so contact us today.