A wrong-way car accident, usually a head-on collision between two vehicles, can be one of the most terrifying types of car wreck to experience. Not only is the experience frightening, but the aftereffects can be seriously scary, too — catastrophic injuries and even death are common after one of these collisions.
Under the law, if you’ve been struck by a driver going the wrong way, you have an opportunity to seek compensation for your injuries and emotional trauma. Contact a car accident attorney at The Joel Bieber Firm today for a complimentary case review.
How to Prove Negligence in a Wrong-Way Collision
Proving fault, or negligence, is the first step your car accident attorney takes in making a case for damages. They will need to show that the other driver wasn’t properly following the rules of the road or was otherwise driving recklessly, like texting and driving or driving under the influence.
In a case where one car is struck by another going the wrong direction on a roadway, proving negligence is often fairly straightforward. Still, even if the facts of your case are standard, four legal elements are required to prove negligence in court:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care (they must operate the vehicle responsibly)
- They breached this duty of care (they were driving recklessly or disregarded posted traffic signs)
- Their recklessness or oversight caused the accident (proving causation) and your injuries
- The injuries caused you financial loss (damages), such as increased medical bills
If your car accident attorney builds a case to prove these four elements, you can file a claim for damages against the at-fault driver. Although the results of a car collision lawsuit are never guaranteed, having an experienced lawyer build your case can make navigating the legal process much easier.
Common Circumstances That Lead to a Wrong-Way Car Accident
The first step your car accident attorney will take is to investigate the cause of the accident. A wrong-way accident can happen in a few different ways, and often, the cause of the accident will lead to the party responsible for causing it.
Driver negligence is the most common cause of a wrong-way car accident, but it’s not the only one. Other common causes of a head-on crash are:
- A driver operates the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A driver is distracted by a phone or passengers and doesn’t notice the street sign
- A drowsy driver nods off and drifts into the opposing lane of traffic
- Poorly lit roads or overgrown foliage block road signs directing traffic
- Road defects or construction zones confuse drivers and send them the wrong way
- On or off ramps for a highway are confusing
In a wrong-way car accident caused by a distracted, drunk, or sleepy driver, the fault rests with them, and your car accident attorney will make a case against the driver. Their insurance company may settle with you or you may have to go to mediation, where your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf. Driver-fault accidents are usually the most straightforward.
When the wrong-way car accident is caused by poor road conditions, traffic signs that have worn down or been blocked by foliage, or confusing city-administered construction, then determining fault can become more complex.
In cases where a driver mistakenly goes the wrong way down a road because it wasn’t clearly marked or the signs weren’t visible, the municipality responsible for maintaining the roadways may be partly responsible for the accident.
Cities, counties, and states are responsible for maintaining safe, clearly marked roads to reduce accidents. If they fail this duty of care, they may be partly liable for the car accident.
If a construction company has funneled traffic around the construction zone but failed to safely indicate the detours and caused traffic to flow the wrong way, then it could be partly responsible for the collision, too. Exploring all parties that shared blame in your wrong-way collision ensures that each one is held accountable for their negligence.
The Importance of Working with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
In some cases, proving who was to blame for a wrong-way accident is pretty obvious — one driver was negligent and drove the wrong way, crashing into another one. In other cases, such as when multiple parties could be responsible for the accident, assigning liability can be complicated.
If the city or county is one of the defendants in a wrong-way car accident case, the case could be very complex. A municipality will have a strong team of lawyers, and not every car accident attorney has the resources to take on a government entity. We do. The Joel Bieber Firm believes in protecting the rights of the injured, no matter who caused them harm.
We have the resources and skills to properly investigate the cause of your accident and the experience necessary to build solid cases against any defendant, no matter how powerful they may seem.
After a collision, you may be offered a settlement by an insurance company representing the other driver or one of the other defendants. When you’re in pain and wondering if you will heal or get back to work soon, the offer may look enticing. But insurance companies try to swiftly settle for as little as possible, as fast as possible.
A car accident attorney properly values your case, making sure your claim covers your current medical costs as well as compensation for any future treatment, like physical therapy.
You may also be entitled to compensation for the emotional trauma, pain, and suffering you experienced after the accident. Your lawyer will consider these when coming up with a settlement figure.
Do You Need a Car Accident Attorney After a Wrong-Way Collision?
If you or a loved one has been injured after a wrong-way traffic accident, we can help. Contact The Joel Bieber Firm today to request a consultation with an experienced car accident attorney.