As experienced Sacramento Car Accident Lawyers, we see a lot of tragedy that could have been prevented simply by being more situationally aware. This is especially true when it comes to driving. A mishandled car is a dangerous weapon, capable of causing serious injury and death.
With a population in Sacramento County of 1,418,788, and the city of Sacramento population around 466,000, it’s no wonder why traffic accidents of all kinds are a significant problem. In 2016 alone, there were around 8770 traffic accidents in Sacramento County, including 866 drunk driving accidents. These accidents caused over 8600 injuries and resulted in 129 fatalities.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), wrong-way driving is defined as “vehicular movement along a travel lane in a direction opposing the legal flow of traffic on high-speed divided highways or access ramps.” And even though wrong-way collisions account for just a small number of total traffic accidents every year (360 lives lost, on average), they are much more likely to result in death or traumatic injury than other types of collisions.
The most common cause of a wrong-way collision is driving while intoxicated. In fact, more than half of wrong-way collisions in 2013 listed alcohol as a contributing factor. Other causes of wrong-way collisions include unclear road signage, lack of visibility at night, driver fatigue, distracted driving, and driver confusion.
Reducing the number of wrong-way collisions can be achieved in many ways. Some states are installing additional signage, LED lights that flash one way, and more prominent pavement markings that trigger flashing “wrong way” signs. The problem is that drivers that are intoxicated, sleepy, confused, or distracted may not pay attention to the signs, or may miss them altogether.
A driver that causes an accident by driving down a roadway in the wrong direction is responsible for the injuries or loss of life that they cause. They are responsible for paying damages to the victim of injuries or paying damages to loved ones in the event that they caused a death due to their negligence.
The damages that they are responsible for in the event of injuries include medical costs for current and future treatment, ongoing physical and/or cognitive therapy (in the event of a brain injury), ambulance transport fees, health care specialist consultations and treatment, treatment accessories such as crutches, heating pads, or elastic supports, and in-home services for nursing and/or personal care.
The negligent party is also responsible for damages of present and future lost income and potential for income such as raises and bonuses, as well as property damage costs, compensation for loss of the enjoyment of life, physical and mental pain and suffering, and emotional stress, just to name a few.
If the wrong-way driver has caused a fatality, they are responsible for compensating the family for funeral costs including burial and cremation expenses, and loss of consortium (the loss of the benefits of the family relationship).
The amount of damages you’re entitled to if you’ve been the victim of a wrong-way collision will depend greatly on the type and severity of your injuries, and the unique circumstances surrounding the accident.
If you have been injured in a wrong-way collision, your strongest line of defense lies in an experienced personal injury attorney that can help you navigate the legal system, protect and uphold your rights, and ensure you receive an adequate and fair settlement for your traffic accident claim.
The biggest step you can take to reduce wrong-way collisions is to pay attention to your driving, and to the drivers around you. Ensure that you are familiar with the area you’re driving through, especially at night when you may be tired. Never drink and drive. And become increasingly aware of the drivers around you who may be driving erratically or recklessly, and avoid them at all costs.
Together, we can make Sacramento roadways a safer place to drive.