Three people were killed on the evening of June 15 when a car veered into the wrong lane of RR12 near Bexar County, striking two vehicles in rapid succession. The driver of a Nissan Titan and the driver and passenger in a Lincoln MKX were pronounced dead at the scene, with the driver of a Chevy Traverse being treated and released from South Austin Medical Center. Unfortunately, these stories are all too common in wrong-way collisions, as front-end car crashes are some of the most deadly, with severe injuries and fatalities more common than people surviving unscathed. If you have been involved in a wrong-way or other front-end crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your suffering.
Frontal Collisions Are Deadly
Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show just how dangerous frontal collisions can be – in 2016, the most recent year where data is available, as many as 54 percent of passenger vehicle fatalities happened in frontal collisions, including wrong-way crashes. The next highest percentage of fatalities in single-vehicle accidents was rollover, but the percentages in that category are markedly lower, coming in around 35 percent for most of the fatality categories. If one examines multi-vehicle accidents, one can see that front-end collisions are still the most deadly, but the second most dangerous type was side collisions. Given the prevalence of T-bone and sideswipe crashes, this is perhaps to be expected.
Causes of front-end collisions are fairly standard across the board, with many reoccurring in multiple accidents. Substances play a significant role, as one or more drivers in such crashes can easily lead to reckless driving. Sometimes, poor road maintenance or improperly posted street signs can be a factor, especially on one-way streets. Sometimes drivers simply become distracted or are distracted by a passenger. Anything that gets a driver’s attention off the road can potentially heighten the risk of an accident.
While negligence cases can be won in frontal crash situations, wrong-way accidents specifically may have a slightly higher chance of success in front of a judge or jury. In frontal crashes, there is generally more difficulty in apportioning fault – depending on the evidence presented, you may wind up recovering much less because only a certain percentage of fault may be affirmatively assigned to the other driver. In a wrong-way crash, there is at least a circumstantial presumption that one person has acted in a manner that may admit fault. Texas law holds that a plaintiff can recover as long as they are not more than 50 percent responsible, so this may start them out ahead, so to speak.
Wrong-way crashes may also be somewhat easier to show as negligent because of a concept in Texas law called negligence per se. If a plaintiff can show that (1) a defendant has broken a law designed to protect a certain class of people; and (2) they (the plaintiff) are a part of that class, the defendant will be presumed to have been negligent per se, which essentially cuts a plaintiff’s work in half. Normally in order to establish negligence, a plaintiff must establish that a duty of care existed and that the defendant breached it, and that the harm then suffered is a direct result of the defendant’s conduct. Turning the wrong way down a one-way street is breaking a law, albeit a minor one.
Call Our Auto Accident Lawyers Today
Being involved in a front-end crash can have truly deadly consequences, as the unfortunate drivers on RR12 found out. If you or a loved one has experienced a wrong-way or frontal collision, having an attorney on your side can help accelerate the compensation process and increase the chances of ensuring your medical bills are taken care of. The passionate New Braunfels auto accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are happy to try and put our experience to work for you. Call our office today to set up an appointment.