Wrong Way Accident Laws, Lawsuits, and Settlements for Bodily Injury and Wrongful Death Accidents Caused by Wrong-Way Drivers
Accidents caused by wrong-way drivers are becoming an increasingly prevalent problem, especially on interstates, according to data from federal highway safety agencies. Motor vehicle accident statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveal that wrong-way drivers on interstates cause between 1 and 2 out of every 100 fatalities. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the number of fatalities are increasing overtime; approximately 400 people are involved in fatal wrong-way interstate accidents annually, and this number continues to grow.
Head-on collisions are some of the deadliest types of crashes on the road. Even when these crashes occur at modest speeds, the forces at which the vehicles collide are extreme. In a collision, the force between the first vehicle combines with the second: For example, if a vehicle driving at 50 mph collides with another vehicle driving at 50mph, then the vehicles collide with the force of 100 mph. The force of the impact is enough to cause devastating and potentially life-threatening injuries. In addition to physical force, there can also be projectiles—such as glass from the windshield—that are dangerous to drivers and passengers.
“About one in every ten car crash-related deaths is the result of a head-on collision.”
These accidents tend to occur on rural roadways such as two-lane highways that lack center medians or dividing barriers. Without anything separating the opposite directions of traffic, drifting into the opposite lane is frighteningly easy. Drowsy, distracted, and drunk drivers are at the highest risk for veering into oncoming traffic. However, anyone who takes a moment to look at a car radio or engage in some other minor distraction can end up drifting into the traffic in the opposite lane and traveling the wrong way. Sometimes these accidents are caused by drivers who choose to enter the opposite lane to pass vehicles traveling in the same direction. If the driver misjudges the time they have to pass, this can lead to a serious head-on crash as well.
One disturbing factor about head-on crashes is that the innocent driver likely has little or no time to react and avoid the collision. The speeds of the two vehicles traveling toward one another often creates minimal opportunity to respond when an unexpected car drifts into the other driver’s lane. Moreover, it is hard to imagine a scarier proposition than traveling down the interstate at 70 mph hour only to see the headlights of another vehicle coming straight for you.
When vehicles travel the wrong way against the flow of traffic, they pose a virtually unparalleled potential for an impact with an enormous amount of energy as well as devastating injuries and death. A driver, moving at interstate speed against the traffic flow, will result in a head-on collision.
A recent, serious collision northeast of Metro Atlanta on I-85 serves as an example. A woman driving a Ford Explorer traveling south in the northbound lanes of I-85 in the vicinity of Braselton in Jackson County suffered severe injuries when she hit a tractor-trailer head-on before colliding with another big rig and a van. The accident victim sustained critical injuries after being ejected from her SUV. While the accident was still under investigation as our writers were writing this article, media reports indicated that police believe the accident was alcohol-related.
Recovering Damages in an Auto-Accident Claim or Lawsuit
Head-on collisions typically result in severe, life-threatening injuries to the occupants involved in the accident. When a person is injured in a car crash caused by the negligence or fault of another driver, the victim can file a car accident injury claim or lawsuit against the wrong-way driver to recover financial compensation, which includes compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Families who have tragically lost loved ones in a wrong-way accident can also recover damages for wrongful death. These damages can vary depending on the laws of the state where the accident occurred.
THE STATUTES OF LIMITATIONS FOR WRONG-WAY ACCIDENTS
EACH STATE HAS STRICT TIME DEADLINES TO FILE A CAR ACCIDENT INJURY LAWSUIT
Statutes of Limitations and Car Accident Personal Injury Claims
In every state, there are laws that limit the amount of time that accident victims have to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. These laws are typically referred to as the “Statutes of Limitations.” These deadlines vary from state to state and may vary depending on the age and injuries of the victim (plaintiff). These deadlines also vary based on the location of the accident, the applicable jurisdiction and laws, whether the injured party is a minor, identity of the Defendant(s) (e.g., individual, state government entity, federal government entity), the circumstances of the accident, and other factors.
The statutes of limitations begin on the date of the accident. While one year or longer may appear to be a long time to file an auto accident injury or wrongful death lawsuit, injured persons or the family of the victim will find the deadline arrives fast.
Tragically, Plaintiffs who fail to meet this deadline will be barred from receiving any compensation for their injuries. This means that regardless of how demonstrable the injuries are, the degree of fault, or severity of the accident, the Plaintiff will be unable to recover if they miss a critical deadline!That’s why injury victims need to act expediently and with urgency after an accident, and contact an injury attorney to ensure that don’t miss any legal time deadlines or notification requirements, to ensure that they receive their right to compensation.
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Many insurance policies also have timely notification requirements, where if a claim is not filed in time or appropriate notice is not given, the injured victim loses the ability to receive the benefits and compensation they paid for under their applicable policy. In addition to these legal and contractual deadlines, there are other reasons to act without delay; important evidence necessary for your case can disappear or be destroyed, and witnesses can go missing or forget what happened. Click here to receive your free case review.
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KNOWLEDGEABLE ADVICE FOR ACCIDENT VICTIMS AND FAMILIES WHO TRAGICALLY LOST LOVED ONES IN WRONG-WAY ACCIDENTS THROUGHOUT THE UNITED STATES.
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