On the night of November 4, a two-vehicle accident killed one person when an automobile going the wrong way down I-10 struck the tractor-trailer of an 18-wheeler, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The truck driver was relatively unharmed and able to walk away from the crash, but the driver of the car was killed on impact. This is sadly common in wrong-way accidents; while they are relatively uncommon, they cause serious injuries and death with regularity when they do occur. If you are lucky enough to survive one, it is a good idea to understand just what you may be up against.
Alcohol and Substances Often a Factor
Wrong-way crashes, more than most other types, are disproportionately affected by alcohol and drug use. Statistics from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report that of 1,566 wrong-way drivers in the dataset surveyed (2004-2009), approximately 60 percent had “indications of alcohol involvement.” On some level this makes sense to a layman; unless the sign is obscured, there are very few reasons for a sober person to drive the wrong way down a street. The same statistical set also showed that approximately 10 percent of those wrong-way drivers surveyed had been convicted of driving under the influence (DWI) within the three years immediately prior to their wrong-way collision. In other words, even for those drivers who did not show signs of alcohol or drug use at the time of their wrong-way crash.
Of course, other reasons besides alcohol and drug use can account for a wrong-way collision. It is plausible for a street to be poorly marked, or for the “wrong way” sign to have been damaged, thus providing little indication to drivers which way traffic flows. Visibility may also be a factor, both in regard to weather and to the fact that most wrong-way crashes occur after dark. Drivers may also drive while distracted, rather than intoxicated, thinking it safer when in reality, distracted driving plays a major role in countless collisions around the state (and the country).
If you have been injured in a wrong-way collision, it is likely that your medical bills will be quite high. There may be a way to obtain compensation for your injuries if you believe that the driver who struck you was negligent. Generally, in Texas, you must establish that certain events occurred in order to find the wrong-way driver liable: you must show that they breached the duty to exercise reasonable care that all motorists owe to each other (this is implicit in Texas’ state law), and you must show that you suffered harm as a direct result of the driver’s actions (or inactions, such as a failure to stop or realize their error), without any other supervening cause playing a role.
Be advised, however, that Texas adheres to what is called the modified comparative fault rule, which means that if you are found to have been partially at fault for your own injuries, it will affect any recovery. If you are judged to be more than 50 percent at fault for your injuries, you will be barred from recovering anything – but if your percentage of fault is ruled to be less than 50 percent, you can still recover any jury award given to you less that percentage. So, if you are ruled to be 20 percent at fault, and you are awarded $100,000 for your injuries and expenses, you would receive that $100,000 minus 20 percent.
Contact a New Braunfels Wrong-Way Accident Lawyer Today
Wrong-way accidents can be devastating, and as such, you need knowledgeable representation to get through what can be a complex and time-consuming case. The dedicated New Braunfels wrong-way crash attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm understand that your first priority is putting your life back in order, and we will work hard for you so that you can focus on recovery first and foremost. Contact our offices today at 888-392-0039 to schedule a free consultation.