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Is the Wrong-Way Driver Always at Fault for a Head-on Collision?

traffic sign for entering wrong wayWhen head-on collisions happen, the wrong-way driver is nearly always at fault. As with other types of accidents, however, there are some situations where liability is not as straightforward.

Learn more about the causes of frontal crashes, including those that may not have been caused by the wrong-way driver, and seeking compensation for your losses.

If you were injured in a crash caused by the negligent actions of another driver, you may be eligible to seek compensation. Find out whether you may have a valid case at no cost to you. Call our law offices 24/7 to schedule a free consultation. Our experienced Grand Rapids car accident lawyers are standing by and ready to provide legal help.

Find out if you may have a case: (800) 762-8623

How is Fault Determined for a Wrong-Way Crash?

After an accident occurs, investigators may initially look for insight into the cause by examining the way vehicles came to rest after the crash. Due to the force at impact, however, this method is less helpful for a head-on collision. Vehicles involved in a wrong-way crash are typically disbursed in many directions. As a result, they often end up facing differently than how they were traveling before the collision occurred.

Is the Wrong-Way Driver Always at Fault?

Most of the time, the driver who has entered another road or on-ramp going in the wrong direction is the presumed at-fault party. There are multiple ways this can happen, including these common causes of head-on collisions:

  • Drunk driving
  • Distracted driving behavior
  • Drowsy driving
  • Excessive speeding
  • Inadequate or poor road lighting
  • Inexperienced, unlicensed or unfit drivers
  • Confusing signage
  • Poor vision
  • Early-onset dementia, Alzheimer’s or other mental health conditions

However, there are some exceptions when fault for this type of crash could be shared with another party, such as in the following scenarios:

  • Tailgating: A driver following too closely who rear-ends your car, especially at high speed, pushing it into the lane of oncoming traffic.
  • No-Contact Driver: A driver suddenly enters your lane of traffic, does not contact your vehicle, but causes you to swerve to avoid a crash. A wrong-way crash could occur if you lose control of your car and veer into oncoming traffic.

Evidence that may help to prove fault for a head-on collision could include driver testimony, along with eyewitness statements, surveillance video or dashcam footage, details from the police report, and the types of injuries that were sustained. Sometimes accident reconstruction specialists may also be consulted to help determine the likely cause of a crash.

What Are My Recovery Options for a Crash Caused by a Wrong-Way Driver?

As an insured driver in Michigan, you are eligible to pursue a claim for no-fault benefits, regardless of who caused the collision. Your personal injury protection benefits (PIP) will provide compensation for your medical costs, lost wages and more – up to the limits of your policy.

If you meet the state’s strict requirements, you may also be eligible to seek excess or non-economic damages through a liability claim. These damages may include additional compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement or scarring
  • Temporary or permanent, partial or full disability
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Other out-of-pocket costs not covered by your PIP

You can discuss these options further with one of our qualified attorneys during the free legal consultation we offer.

Can I Recover Compensation if I Am at Fault?

If you are an insured driver, you may still be eligible for your no-fault benefits. However, insurance companies have deadlines, so you should not wait to file your claim. If you miss your insurer’s filing deadline, you may be unable to obtain your no-fault benefits.

Whether being partially liable prevents you from making any further recovery is dependent on the degree of fault assigned to you. Under Michigan’s comparative fault rule, if you are deemed 50 percent or more responsible for the crash, you are barred from any recovery outside of your no-fault benefits.

If, however, the degree of fault you are assessed is less than 50 percent and you meet the state’s injury threshold requirements, you may be eligible to seek additional damages. However, any compensation you are awarded will be reduced by your percentage of fault.

For example, if you are awarded $100,000 in compensation, but assessed with 10 percent of the liability, then your award is reduced by that 10 percent, or $10,000. That would reduce your awarded compensation to $90,000.

Can I Pursue a Claim if My Loved One Died?

Head-on collisions, though less common than other types of crashes, are often more deadly. Under Michigan’s Wrongful Death Act, you may have legal options if your loved one suffers fatal injuries in a head-on collision caused by another’s negligence. Close relatives of the deceased may be eligible to pursue a wrongful death claim for damages that may include:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Conscious pain and suffering damages of the deceased from the date of the crash until his or her death
  • Related medical costs
  • Lost wages the victim would have earned up to the time of his or her death
  • Loss of anticipated future earnings
  • Loss of companionship, care and protection

Injured in a Wrong-Way Crash? Get Legal Help You Can Trust

Head-on collisions are traumatic, especially when they cause life-altering or fatal injuries. If you or a family member suffered harm in a wrong-way crash caused by another driver’s negligence, you may have legal options. Learn if you may be eligible to pursue additional damages to help in your recovery.

Our knowledgeable lawyers are standing by. We have decades of proven experience, recovering millions in compensation for our clients. We are prepared to work hard to maximize your financial recovery. Deadlines apply, so contact our law firm to avoid risking the opportunity to recover your losses. There are no upfront costs to retain our services or while we represent you, so no risk to you.

Free Case Review. Call 24/7. (800) 762-8623