Although wrong-way accidents aren't common, they're often devastating. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 300 to 400 people are killed every year in wrong-way wrecks. In the Kansas City area, negligent drivers travelling the wrong way on I-55 and other local highways cause serious injuries in multi-vehicle crashes.
If you were injured in a wrong-way accident, you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to ensure you receive proper compensation for the tragedies suffered by you and your loved ones.
Main Reasons for Wrong-Way Crashes
The FHWA defines wrong-way driving as traveling in a direction opposite to the legal flow of traffic on a divided street or highway, or on exit/entrance ramps to a highway. Driver error is the primary reason wrong-way accidents happen, often due to:
- Intoxication. When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, his judgment, reaction time, and vision are impaired. He may not realize he's traveling the wrong way until it's too late.
- Distracted driving. Talking on the phone or texting are more likely to be the reasons why someone misses an entrance/exit ramp or a one-way road sign.
- Driver confusion. An individual not familiar with the area, an elderly driver, or someone who is ill can become confused and not realize he or she is going the wrong way.
- Inadequate lighting. Many wrong-way accidents occur at night or when weather causes poor visibility.
- Poor road design. Inaccurate or misplaced signs and unclear ramps not properly marked can make it impossible for even careful drivers to enter and exit the highway safely. Untrimmed foliage hiding signage is also a problem.
Common Injuries Caused in a Wrong-Way Crash
Wrong-way collisions often happen when vehicles either strike head-on or side-swipe. If the vehicles are moving at high speeds, the injuries can be more catastrophic. Common injuries that victims suffer include:
- Crushed and fractured bones
- Internal bleeding and organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury and other brain injuries
- Paralysis and spinal injuries
Who Could Be Liable for Compensating You in a Wrong-Way Accident?
If you suffered injuries in a wrong-way car accident, you may be off work for months or longer while you recover—if you can return to the job at all. Fortunately, you may be entitled to compensation for your expensive medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering from the negligent party. It is important to identify all liable parties to receive the full amount you deserve.
Potential parties in these cases include:
- The other motorist. If another driver caused the wreck due to intoxication, distraction, or another negligent practice, he faces responsibility.
- A municipality. If improper road design, signs, or foliage contributed to or caused your wreck, a governmental entity could be at least partially responsible for compensation. However, these cases can be more complex due to special notice requirements for notifying a municipality of your claim, so it's critical to retain a lawyer as soon as possible after the incident.
Even if the other driver was clearly at fault for causing your wreck, you can't assume that settlement of your claim will be easy. You need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney who will gather all pertinent evidence and fight aggressively for proper compensation.
Contact us online or call our office directly at 816.471.5111 today to schedule your free consultation.