One Dead Following Wrong-Way Wreck in Greenville

by | Dec 17, 2021 | Car Accidents

A man apparently lost control of his vehicle moments before he crossed the center line and collided with an oncoming car.

While traveling eastbound on State Highway 176, a man veered onto the right shoulder. Then, in an apparent attempt to regain control of his Jeep Cherokee, he oversteered, crossed the center line, and smacked into a Nissan Versa. Both drivers were seriously injured and transported to local hospitals. The Versa driver, a Madisonville man, did not survive.

Several law enforcement agencies are still looking into the wreck.

Car Crash Injuries

Every year, car wrecks seriously injure thousands of Kentuckians. The average medical bill in these cases is over $60,000. Head injuries are the most common, and most serious, vehicle collision injuries. These incidents combine all three causes of head injuries, which are

  • Trauma: Airbags and other restraint systems absorb much of the force in a high-speed wreck. However, nothing can completely protect these victims. Their heads often hit solid objects, like dashboards and steering wheels, even if the airbags properly deploy. Furthermore, in high-speed collisions, smartphones and other small objects become high-speed missiles.
  • Motion: Quite often, the motion of a car wreck causes a head injury. Most people think the brain fits snugly inside the skull, like a hand into a glove. But instead, a pool of cerebrospinal fluid suspends the brain in the middle of the skull. Extreme motion causes the brain to slam against the insides of the skull.
  • Noise: According to most witnesses, high-speed collisions sound like explosions. Sudden loud noises create shock waves, much like an electromagnetic pulse. These invisible shock waves disrupt brain functions. So, even if the victim has no obvious physical injuries, a brain injury is a real possibility.

Noise-related head injuries are just one diagnosis problem in this area. Since the brain hides its own injuries, many of these victims tell doctors they “feel fine.” If that happens, doctors often misdiagnose symptoms like neck pain and disorientation as shock from the accident as opposed to a brain injury. As a result, their head wounds get worse and more difficult to treat.

A Lexington personal injury attorney connects these victims with car crash injury specialists who can properly diagnose and treat head injuries. Typically, these doctors charge nothing upfront for their services. So, victims don’t need to worry about the aforementioned medical bills, at least not right away.

Fault vs. Liability in Car Wreck Claims

Most providers agree to defer billing until the case is resolved. If victims are to pay medical bills out of their settlement money, there must be a settlement to begin with. So, the victim/plaintiff must establish legal liability for damages. There’s often a difference between “fault” and “liability.”

Fault is a preliminary determination based almost exclusively on the evidence immediately available at the scene. Liability is a final determination based on the evidence at the scene, other evidence which becomes available later, and any applicable legal doctrines.

Some of the most important evidence in a car crash claim, like a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, is unavailable at the scene and therefore does not factor into a fault determination. Most EDRs measure and record information like:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Steering angle,
  • Engine RPM, and
  • Brake application.

Such information is critical in wrong-way crash claims. This proof gives an attorney, and more importantly a jury, a clear idea of exactly what happened.

Speaking of wrong-way wrecks, a legal doctrine called the last clear chance rule often comes into play in these claims. 

Assume Eugene fell asleep at the wheel, suddenly crossed the center line, and hit Sandy head-on. There’s probably no way Sandy could have avoided that wreck. But if Eugene mistook an off-ramp for an on-ramp and Sandy clearly saw him coming, she probably had the last clear chance to avoid the crash. Therefore, in that situation, Sandy could be liable for damages, even though Eugene was on the wrong side of the road.

Other legal doctrines, such as comparative fault, could apply as well. This rule shifts blame for an accident from the tortfeasor (negligent driver) to the victim. Let’s return to the first example and change the facts a bit. If Eugene crossed the center line without warning and Sandy was speeding, she might be partially at fault for the wreck.

In comparative fault cases, jurors must divide fault between the drivers on a percentage basis. Kentucky is a pure comparative fault state. Even if the tortfeasor was only 1 percent responsible for the crash, the victim is still entitled to a proportionate share of damages.

These damages usually include compensation for medical bills and other economic losses as well as pain and suffering and other noneconomic losses.

Injury victims are usually entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Lexington, contact the Goode Law Office, PLLC. You have a limited amount of time to act. #goodelawyers