Filing a Claim for Compensation After a Wrong-Way Collision
Wrong-way car crashes are becoming a more common occurrence, according to the AAA Foundation. These types of crashes are a leading cause of traffic fatalities. In the U.S. alone, there are thousands of fatalities every year due to head-on collisions.
If you were injured or lost a loved one in a wrong-way crash, you have the right to pursue compensation for your damages. Call our New Jersey car accident lawyers today to discuss your legal options. The consultation is free and there are no upfront fees.
Below, we discuss the common causes of wrong-way collisions and who may be liable for damages.
What Are the Common Causes of a Wrong-Way Crash?
A wrong-way collision occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide. Usually, this results in a head-on crash, but depending on the maneuvering of vehicles, one car could end up t-boning another.
Some of the most common reasons for wrong-way collisions include the following:
- Impaired driving – Someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol lacks the judgment of a sober driver, so the risk of drifting into another lane or turning into oncoming traffic is higher.
- Fatigued driving – A tired driver may fall asleep at the wheel and drift into head-on traffic or fail to see signs that specify a road is only for one-way traffic.
- Distracted driving – Texting, eating, or otherwise not focusing on the road, can increase the chances of driving or drifting into traffic on the wrong side of the road.
- Low visibility – When lighting is low it is harder to see signage or lines on the roadway.
- Poor signage – Sometimes road signs meant to alert drivers of traffic patterns get damaged or obscured from sight.
Drivers who do not know an area may accidentally turn onto a one-way street and end up causing a head-on collision. There is an increased risk of this happening in more urban areas of New Jersey where these are more common.
Who May Be Liable for a Wrong-Way Crash?
No matter how the collision occurred, liability for the crash falls on the party whose negligence resulted in the crash. While liability usually falls on a negligent driver, it could sometimes fall to the party in charge of roadway maintenance.
Drivers are expected to act in a reasonable manner to avoid an accident. This means they are supposed to:
- Focus on the road
- Not get behind the wheel while under influence of drugs or alcohol
- Take reasonable precautions when driving conditions are not ideal
Failing to take these measures is considered negligence. Therefore, if an accident occurs, the driver responsible can be held liable for the damages.
If the cause of the collision is a lack of signage on the road, then the government entity in charge of the road may be liable. Keep in mind that bringing forth a claim against the government is different from bringing one against another driver. The time limit for filing the claim is shorter and there is a different process to follow.
Some wrong-way collisions may be due to private property obscuring the posting of a “do not enter” or “wrong way” road sign. In this situation, you may be able to bring forth a claim against the owner of the property obscuring the sign.
For example, if a large vehicle blocks a “do not enter” sign from view of the main road, the owner of the vehicle may be liable for damages. Although the insurance company may try to pin at least partial blame on you for not taking additional precautions before turning onto the road.
What Are the Common Injuries Caused by a Wrong-Way Crash?
Wrong-way collisions frequently end in a fatality. However, other severe or life-altering injuries may occur if the accident is not fatal, including:
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones
- Internal injuries
- Burn injuries
Some minor injuries like whiplash and other soft-tissue damages are also common due to the sudden stop in a vehicle’s momentum. This can whip a person’s neck back and forth violently, injuring the soft tissue around the back and neck.
What Are My Options for Recovering Compensation After a Wrong-Way Crash?
Drivers in New Jersey must file a claim with their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP) after an accident. This insurance should help cover the costs of medical bills. If you are unable to work due to your injuries, PIP insurance may also help provide compensation for lost wages.
If your damages exceed your PIP insurance limits, you may be able to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance. You may also have the option to pursue compensation for your non-economic damages, like pain and suffering.
Call an Attorney Today
Because the injuries from wrong-way accidents are often life-threatening, the damages are more costly. The insurance company, in trying to maintain profitability, may push back harder to reduce or deny compensation. Therefore, having an attorney on your side may be in your best interest. With an attorney helping you throughout the legal process, you may have more time to focus on your health.
Our attorneys are ready to fully handle the legal process on your behalf after an accident. We do not charge you any fees while we work on your case.
Call (920) 260-4528 today to schedule a free consultation.