There are certain basic rules of driving that even beginners understand to be universal truths in the nation. Among those is the fact that traffic operates on the right in the United States, except in very limited circumstances like one-way roads, construction zones, or at the direction of a police officer. But despite the fact that every single states in the country requires drivers to operate on the right, wrong-way car accidents keep happening and continue to threaten the lives of those involved.
A wrong-way collision is one where an impact happens and it involves a car traveling against the direction of legal traffic in any given lane. It can happen on residential roads, commercial streets, expressways, interstates, on-ramps, off-ramps, and other areas where traffic is intended to travel in one direction only. These impacts garner a lot of media attention and are highly publicized because of the extreme nature of these crashes as well as the severity of injuries that tend to result. Unlike some other forms of car crashes, wrong-way accidents are extremely likely to cause harm, including death, among drivers and passengers involved.
The majority of wrong-way car accidents involve a head-on impact which helps to explain why they are so dangerous. A recent study out of the state of Virginia found that wrong-way car accidents that happened on limited access areas, like expressways and interstates, were 27 times as likely to produce deaths as other car accidents in similar areas. A similar study in California found fatalities to be 12 times higher during wrong-way car accidents, and a study out of Michigan determined that 22 percent of wrong-way collisions proved to be fatal while only 0.2 percent of the total car accident on limited access areas were fatal.
No matter how you look at it, you have to conclude that wrong-way collisions are a threat to safety in the Chicago area and that those in Illinois may be at risk for serious or fatal injuries if one occurs. And the scary fact remains that it is often innocent victims who are left to pay the toll when an errant driver operates in the wrong direction. These victims may be forced to incur medical expenses, suffer from pain, and even miss time from work while they are recovering, a substantial financial burden that will leave some wondering about their legal options.
If a wrong-way car accident happens in Chicago or the surrounding suburbs, victims of that accident may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages. An insurance company, an at-fault driver, the owner of an at-fault vehicle, a city or municipality, or even the State of Illinois may be liable depending on the unique facts and circumstances that surround a crash. Speaking with a personal injury attorney can help you understand your options and your legal rights if a collision altered your life or claimed the life of someone you love.
The legal team at Abels & Annes, P.C. is standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 where we will offer you a case consultation without cost or obligation. Everything discussed will be kept confidential and if we represent you in your case, we will never charge you a fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.
If you have questions or if you need help, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us get to work for you.
Prior Blog Entry:
Chicago Loop Link BRT, Bike Lanes Set to Open, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, published December 17, 2015.