Another wrong-way accident has occurred in New York. This time, however, the perpetrator and the victim will live to tell about it. A 32-year-old man had been driving the wrong way on State Route 590 just before crashing into an oncoming vehicle. After the car accident, both men were trapped in their vehicles and had to be extracted.
They were taken to hospitals with undisclosed injuries. The New York State Police charged the wrong-way driver with DWI, second degree vehicular assault and multiple traffic violations. In seeming contradiction to the reported charges, a Public Information Officer for the State Police stated that they were still trying to get a blood sample, and that the police did not want to “jump to any conclusions.”
The non-negligent driver most likely has a claim for personal injuries against the wrong-way driver. Lost wages, medical expenses, and loss of future earning capacity are compensable. He is also entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, which may be relatively substantial.
There is probably nothing more frightening than seeing an oncoming vehicle and having no time to do anything about it. In this case, the pain and suffering damages may also be higher because the victim was trapped in the rubble and had to be extricated. The spokesman indicated also that motorists should always be on the lookout for wrong-way drivers.
This type of accident appears to be happening more often in recent years. This may be due to the higher incidence of texting and using cell phones while driving. The State Police spokesman also warned drivers who discover that they are heading in the wrong direction to slow down, get directly to the shoulder of the road and turn the vehicle around.
These particular New York motorists were extremely fortunate to be alive after the violent car accident. Rarely does a wrong-way collision occur without some loss of life. This may possibly be due to the surprise factor, where the drivers may not have the time to exercise a defensive reaction prior to impact.
Source: 13wham.com, “2 injured in wrong-way crash on 590“, Jan. 1, 2016