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Nicoletti Walker Law Group Oct. 21, 2014

At 4:00 AM Sunday, October 5, 2014, a driver collided with a police cruiser when the driver drove the wrong way on Armenia Avenue near Interstate 275. Both the driver and the police officer in the car that was struck were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. According to news reports, eleven people have died in wrong way crashes on highways in 2014. These unfortunate events can lead to both criminal and civil cases.

Is Driving Down the Wrong Way on The Road Really a Crime?

Of course, this may vary by jurisdiction, but in general, driving the wrong way is a crime. The specific traffic laws that determine whether the behavior of a driver is a crime or not varies dramatically from jurisdiction to jurisdiction at the state, county, and even municipal levels. In some places, one could be cited from failure to follow traffic signs, while in others such driving could be reckless driving or another serious traffic infractions. However, driving the wrong way on a street is not likely a serious crime barring other infractions such as drunk driving, speeding, or other reckless or criminal activity.

Is There a Civil Charge for Injuries from Driving on The Wrong Side of The Road?

While there may not be significant criminal penalties for driving on the wrong side of the road, there may be civil consequences if any injuries were sustained as a result.

Civil damages are generally defined by a negligence standard. Under a negligence legal standard, there are four elements. First, there must be a standard of care. A standard of care is the reasonable level of care that a person is expected to meet as a reasonable person. A reasonable person is a standard that is determined in each situation as appropriate. Second, there must be a breach of that duty, resulting in that person failing to live up to that standard of care. To breach the standard of care, there may be some sort of activity that is in violation of a statute meant to protect the public, or other forms of negligence. Third, there must be an injury to someone. And finally, there must be a connection between the breach of the duty of care and the injury. This is called a “proximate cause” of the harm. Proximate cause means that there is not necessarily just a coincidence that the breach of the duty of care and the injury occurred simultaneously, but that the breach actually contributed to the harm.

Contact Experienced Attorneys for Injury or Accident Claims

If you have questions or concerns about a recent accident or an injury that may have been caused by the negligence of another, contact the experienced attorneys at Clearwater based Mike Walker Law now.