wrong way accidents

Understanding Wrong-Way Car Accidents

You’re cruising down the highway, minding your own business, when you suddenly spot headlights barreling toward you in your lane. Panic sets in as you realize you’re facing a wrong-way driver. The consequences can be devastating. From severe injuries to tragic fatalities, wrong-way car accidents leave a trail of destruction in their wake, often leaving victims and their families grappling with immense physical, emotional, and financial burdens.

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a wrong-way car accident in the Houston area, seek guidance from an experienced Houston accident lawyer who can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal complexities of the accident, and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Why Do Wrong-Way Accidents Happen?

Most wrong-way accidents are accidental but result in massive injuries and tragic results. Up to 22% of these accidents are fatal—27% higher than other types of accidents. Texas is among the states with the highest incidences of death from wrong-way accidents, with more than 67 dying each year. Causes include:

  • Confusion or Distraction: Drivers may become confused or distracted, especially at night or in unfamiliar areas. Driver distraction includes things like using a mobile phone while driving (texting or talking), operating the car’s entertainment center, and other distractions.
  • Impairment: Alcohol or drug impairment is a common contributor to wrong-way driving.
  • Poor Signage or Road Design: Inadequate signage or poorly designed roads can contribute to drivers unknowingly entering the wrong lanes, especially in construction zones.

Determining Fault in a Wrong-Way Accident

Texas has “modified comparative fault” laws, meaning more than one person can share blame for an accident. While someone going the wrong way seems to be clearly at fault, determining legal liability requires an understanding of Texas accident laws and how fault is attributed. For example, the other driver could have made a mistake based on improper signage on the roadway.

As part of evidence gathering, your accident lawyer will gather records and information related to the crash that can help prove who is at fault. 

Why Wrong-Way Crashes Often Result in Serious Injuries

These accidents cause much more serious injuries than many other types of accidents, primarily because the collisions are often head-on and at a high rate of speed. Contributing factors include:

  • High-Speed Collisions: If one or both drivers are driving fast, the injuries from a head-on collision are likely to be more severe.
  • Limited Reaction Time: Drivers have minimal time to react or avoid the crash.
  • Force of Impact: The impact in wrong-way accidents is often greater than other types of collisions.

Common Injuries in Wrong-Way Accidents

Injuries are likely to be severe in a wrong-way accident, with life-altering consequences, including:

What to Do After a Wrong-Way Crash

Always dial 911 after an accident and seek medical attention after a crash. If possible, document the accident by taking photos and/or videos of the scene, capturing vehicle damage, signage, and road conditions. Make note of weather conditions and time of day.

Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved and, when you can, notify your insurance company of the accident. Keep the conversation brief, and don’t answer or expand upon answers to your questions – stick to the facts.

Why You Need a Houston Car Accident Lawyer after a Wrong-Way Crash

A lawyer will fight for your rights and may help you recover damages related to your case, which can include:

  • Medical Expenses: Compensation for past and future medical bills related to the accident
  • Lost Wages: Reimbursement for wages lost due to injuries sustained in the accident
  • Pain and Suffering: Compensation for physical pain and emotional distress caused by the accident
  • Property Damage: Coverage for repairs or replacement of damaged vehicles
  • Wrongful Death: Damages for the loss of a loved one in a fatal wrong-way accident.
An experienced Houston accident lawyer understands Texas law in wrong-way crashes, can handle negotiations with insurance, and will fight to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.