Wrong Way Collision

Head-on collisions caused by wrong-way drivers have the potential to be extremely dangerous. When two motor vehicles collide head-on, the extreme amount of force in the impact can not only cause devastating personal injuries, but also fatalities. Wrong-way collisions that occur in busy city intersections can also cause injuries to nearby pedestrians, bicyclists, and others. In many instances, extremely careless drivers, drunk drivers, and reckless drivers cause head-on collisions. Head-on collisions can cause catastrophic injuries, permanent disability, and even death in some extreme cases.

The North Carolina car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC represent victims of serious head-on collisions. We help victims and families cope with the impact of devastating accidents throughout the Charlotte area. Our skilled attorneys recognize the financial burden and stress that often accompany victims of head-on collisions. We have successfully guided many clients through the legal process of seeking compensation for their injuries and damaged property. Contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your free initial consultation.

How Prevalent are Wrong-Way Accidents?

In 2016, wrong-way collisions accounted for 9,368 motor vehicle accidents. Of these motor vehicle accidents, 290 of them involved fatalities, and 4,303 caused injuries among those involved. These statistics also include car accidents that involved one car which crossed over the centerline.

In an attempt to decrease wrong-way car accidents, the North Carolina Department of Transportation is testing new technology. The goal of this technology is to eliminate drivers who drive the wrong way on state highways. These cameras would alert drivers who are driving in the wrong direction with flashing lights. The technological system also notifies staff at the State Highway Patrol and State Traffic Operations Center as to the location of the wrong-way driver.

Head-On Collisions Can Cause Serious Injuries

In April 2018, a woman was in a head-on collision while traveling home after a night out with her husband. As she drove home with her husband, a drunk driver who was driving the wrong direction collided with her vehicle. She woke up in the hospital only to discover that her husband died as a result of the collision. Sadly, the fate of this woman and her husband is not unusual when it comes to head-on collisions. Many times, given that the two cars are driving towards each other at highway speeds or greater a driver does not have time to avoid a head-on collision once they spot the wrong-way driver.

Common Causes of Wrong-Way Accidents

Under North Carolina personal injury law, negligent or reckless drivers may be responsible for injuries that they cause. Potential examples of negligence that cause a head-on collision can involve the following:

  • The at-fault driver is drunk and driving in the wrong direction
  • The at-fault driver disobeys posted road signs
  • The at-fault driver fails to correct the fact that they are driving the wrong way
  • The at-fault driver was intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol or drugs, impairing his or her reaction time, judgment, and vision.
  • The at-fault driver was talking, texting, or otherwise using a cell phone or other object
  • The at-fault driver became confused due to advanced age, illness, or a mental disability
  • The roads were not marked, or inadequate lighting hindered the driver's ability to discern where he or she was
  • Poor road design made it confusing to determine the right way to drive
Common Injuries Caused by a Head-On Collision

When two motor vehicles collide head-on or side-swipe each other at high speeds, catastrophic injuries can result. Victims suffer the following types of common injuries:

  • Paralysis and spinal injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Organ damage
  • Traumatic bleeding
  • Fractured or crushed bones
  • Lacerations
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Limb amputation
  • Death
Who is Liable in a Wrong-Way Accident?

Generally, the driver driving the wrong-way would be held liable for injuries sustained in a wrong-way accident. The driver who caused the head-on collision might be responsible if he or she was driving negligently or recklessly. Drivers who drove while distracted, intoxicated, or with a careless disregard for other drivers may be liable for any injuries caused by their negligent driving.

A city or municipality may be liable if it had poor signage, road designs, or if poorly maintained foliage contributed to the wrong-way accident. It is more challenging to prove that a city or municipality is at fault. Plaintiffs must give municipalities special notice when wrong-way accidents are involved. Call us now at 704.370.2828 to speak with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and our new location in Monroe.

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