In the wee hours of January 6, 2018, two people were injured when a car turned the wrong way on Texas 151, striking another driver head-on. Both drivers sustained significant injuries, with the wrong-way driver’s being more serious. While both drivers are expected to make a full recovery, they are lucky in that sense, given that wrong-way accidents kill significant numbers. If you are injured in a head-on collision, the odds are against your recovering to the same degree of health you enjoyed before the accident.
Fatalities Are Common
Wrong-way collisions are, by definition, head-on collisions, given that one driver is going against the flow of traffic. Texas roads can be dangerous, with almost 3,800 fatalities in 2016, but if one examines the statistics on head-on collisions, one can see that consistently, they account for a higher percentage of deaths than they do for crashes overall. There are many reasons for that, not least of all that the majority of vehicles simply do not have enough protection in the front, due mostly to the shape and style of car being driven more nowadays. A small, snub-nosed vehicle will protect less efficiently than a car with a long, reinforced hood.
There are many other possible causes for a head-on collision, especially if one driver is going the wrong way. Most of them can be laid at the door of the wrong-way driver, but not all of them – in rare cases, the municipality that maintains the road may have a small part to play. Road signs may be out of service or poorly displayed, or lighting may make one-way signs difficult to read. Occasionally, construction work may even begin without adequate warning or signage to alert passing drivers. If any of these occurs, there may be a third party liability claim that can be brought against the maintaining entity.
Personal Injury and Wrongful Death
In the aftermath of a wrong-way collision, you may survive with injuries, or you may wind up deceased. Either way, there are legal provisions that allow you (or your family) to sue the wrong-way driver. If you survive the accident, you would likely bring suit against the driver under a theory of negligence law, where you would have to show that the driver breached their duty of care (which is stipulated in Texas law as being owed by all motorists to all other drivers on the road) and that their breach manifested in conduct that caused direct harm to you.
If your family brings suit after your passing, it would be a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action, depending on the nature of the cause of action that is sued for. A standard wrongful death suit seeks damages on behalf of a decedent’s immediate family for things like lost companionship, lost earning potential and pain and suffering. A survival action, rather, is when family or a personal representative brings an action on behalf of the deceased person. So, for example, a survival action would be brought by surviving family on the basis of lost wages and the cost of medical bills. Generally, whichever would provide the family the most compensation is the one pursued.
Call Our Wrong-Way Collision Lawyers Today
The passionate New Braunfels wrong-way collision attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm have experience with this kind of case, and if you have been injured, we are happy to work with you to try and obtain the best result possible for you and your family. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.