When a driver travels in the wrong direction down a street and slams into a driver traveling in the right direction, horrible injuries can occur. Michigan car accident lawyers can help put the pieces back together and get the justice and money damages the accident victims and their families deserve.
Wrong way accidents happen on city or rural roads. They usually occur when a driver is drunk or failing to pay attention and crosses the yellow line at the worst time. It also happens when drivers enter the highway through an off-ramp, traveling in the wrong direction towards unsuspecting drivers at a rate of high speed.
Causes and Factors of Detroit and Michigan Wrong Way Car Accidents
- Drunk Driving – The number one cause of wrong-way crashes is driving under the influence. Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data shows that as the blood alcohol level increases, so do the odds of being a wrong-way driver. Fully 6 out of every 10 wrong-way crashes involve a driver whose blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is equal to or greater than .08 grams per deciliter.
- Older Drivers – Although older drivers (over 75) are less likely to drink and drive than younger drivers, they are more likely to be involved in wrong-way collisions, according to the CDC. Several possible reasons suggested by the CDC include:
- Deteriorating vision
- Cognitive decline
- Other physical changes
- Driving Alone – 87% of wrong-way drivers are traveling alone. A confused or impaired driver can sometimes be stopped from entering the wrong ramp or drifting over the median if a concerned passenger is present.
- Distracted Driving – Drivers who are texting or using their cell phones and not paying attention to the road are a major cause of wrong way car crashes.
- Dangerous Drivers – Wrong-way drivers may simply exhibit risk-taking behavior in all aspects of their lives. For example, compared to right-way drivers, there were more wrong-way drivers involved in wrong-way crashes whose licenses were either suspended, revoked, or expired than right-way drivers
- Driving under the influence of drugs, such as marijuana, has become an increasing cause of wrong way car accidents.
Types of Injuries from Wrong-Way Crashes in Detroit and Michigan
Wrong-way collisions are usually head-on collisions for obvious reasons. Head-on collisions can cause fatalities as well as extremely serious injuries. Experienced wrong-way auto accident lawyers can sue the other driver for causing these injuries. Typical injuries include:
- Traumatic Brain Injury – The huge forces involved in these crashes can create traumatic brain injury or TBI. TBI is caused by shearing or tearing of the brain’s connecting nerve fibers. These are known as diffuse axonal injuries and entail the brain shifting and rotating inside the skull. Shearing can cause severe brain injury, and the effects are sometimes permanent.
- Broken Bones – The impact of head-on collisions can cause broken bones, in particular in the legs and hips, which often take the brunt of the force. Compound fractures or displaced fractures usually result in surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation period.
- Facial Injuries and Fractures – Head-on collisions commonly cause facial fractures. The different forces involved in pushing the head and neck forward during a crash can cause blunt force impact with the steering wheel or other parts of the car. The natural result can be severe injuries to the cheekbone, nose, eye socket, or jawbone. These injuries are significant and permanent.
- Back and Neck Injuries – A head-on collision can create a whiplash injury that results in a disc along the spine bulging or herniating onto the adjacent nerves and spinal cord. Cervical (neck) and lumbar (back) herniations cause numbness and tingling sensations in the arms and legs. This is known as radiculopathy. It is a painful and uncomfortable injury that can impact every part of a person’s life.
- Shoulder, Knee, and Joint Injuries – A head-on collision can also cause injuries to the joints, which absorb an incredible amount of force during impact. This can lead to severe ligament strain and even tears in the shoulder, knee, and other joints requiring medical care. Tendon injury is very common as well. These injuries are typically treated by orthopedic surgeons who specialize in rehabilitation of joint injuries.
Michigan No-Fault Law and Wrong Way Car Accidents
When a wrong-way car accident occurs, crash victims are entitled to protections known as first-party benefits under the Michigan No-Fault Law. No-fault insurance coverage is required by law in Detroit and Michigan, and every car owner must purchase a certain level of coverage. Our team of Michigan wrong-way auto accident attorneys can assist you in obtaining these benefits.
After an accident, a no-fault insurance claim can cover:
- Medical costs up to the PIP coverage limit
- 85% of lost wages for up 3 years
- Household chores completed by friends of family members for up to 3 years
- Attendant care or personal car following a serious car accident
- Prescriptions and out-of-pocket expenses
In Michigan, any basic no-fault insurance policy consists of three parts: personal injury protection (PIP), personal property protection (PPI), and residual liability insurance, which refers to bodily injury and property damage. You can read about each of these in detail on the Auto Accident page for the Lee Steinberg Law Firm.
Wrong Way Car Collision Statistics
- According to statistics released by the AAA in May of 2021, wrong way fatalities on divided highways have increased in the past few years.
- Between 2010 and 2018, there were 2,921 fatal wrong way crashes in the United States.
- These crashes resulted in a total of 3,885 deaths.
- Of those killed, 41% were in vehicles traveling in the right direction.
- Wrong-way accidents are 27 times more likely to be fatal than other types of accidents, according to a Virginia study using data from the past few decades.
- A Michigan study found wrong way accidents were fatal 22% of the time, as compared to .3% of the time for other types of accidents.
- Bus or truck drivers are less likely to be wrong-way drivers.
- The odds of being a wrong-way driver increase dramatically after the age of 70 and before the age of 25.
- Michigan had 56 wrong-way fatal crashes between 2010 and 2018.
- In these Michigan crashes, 86 people died.
- In Michigan, an average of 9.6 people lost their lives in divided highway wrong way crashes per year between 2010 and 2018.
Michigan Wrong Way Car Accident Lawsuits
Just as in any accident, a Detroit and Michigan personal injury attorney can help you sue a wrong-way driver for compensation for injuries you sustained in a wrong-way collision.
Depending on what types of damages you have suffered, your total compensation could be huge. Generally speaking, your total money damages will include a sum of your economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the monetary value of the costs you incurred from the accident. Although car repairs aren’t typically covered in Michigan, other economic damages usually are. When filing a claim, go through your bills and carefully calculate the value of economic damages with the help of your car accident lawyer.
Economic damages may include things like:
- Hospital and doctors’ bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
Non-economic damages go beyond the dollars and cents of your accident. While these damages can be harder to calculate and prove, they’re often a large portion of your claim. Give great thought and care to developing a full sum of your non-economic damages. Non-economic damages can include:
- Emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment and quality of life
- Loss of companionship
- Mental suffering
When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation received from a wrongful death suit can include:
- Costs for funeral and burial
- Medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of companionship for the survivors
- Pain and suffering
Under Detroit and Michigan car accident law, to obtain non-economic damages in a car accident claim, the injured person must show the negligent driver was responsible for causing an accident. Things are more clear-cut in a wrong-way collision, as there is absolutely no legal reason for anybody to be driving in the opposite direction in your lane.
Statute of Limitations for a Michigan Car Accident
Typically, the statute of limitations for a Michigan wrong way car accident case is three (3) years for a pain and suffering claim. This means you have 3 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. If you don’t file a lawsuit in court within three years, you forever forfeit your right to sue the at-fault parties and obtain compensation. The statute of limitations is different for minors and special defendants, like governmental agencies.
However, the statute of limitations for a Michigan no-fault claim is one (1) year. Please read more details about this in our article, “
Call Our Top-Rated Lawyers for a Free Consultation
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has resolved thousands of car and truck injury cases. Vehicle safety has advanced, but the primary cause of car accidents is still operator error. In wrong-way collisions, that is particularly obvious.
Our expert car accident attorneys are familiar with the causes of these types of accidents and the insurance companies frequently involved. Our job is to maximize your recovery in every circumstance. Our legal team will do what it takes to get your auto accident case resolved via settlement, mediation, or trial for the maximum amount allowed under Detroit and Michigan law.
Please call Lee Free at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.
And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your case.