Of the well over 400,000 car crashes that happen every year in Illinois, a vast number are caused by a roadway departure where the car leaves its land before crashing into the shoulder of the road, ditch or any other area not intended for traffic. Legally, a road departure car accident is usually defined as a single vehicle involved in a crash where the first event of the crash causing harm occurred off the road. Road departure crashes tend to be one of the more significantly serious car crashes that often result in a vehicle rollover.
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC appreciate the damages sustained by auto passengers when their vehicle leaves the road. Our attorneys strive to hold responsible parties fully accountable for Chicago car accidents involving vehicles that have left the roadway. Contact us today to schedule a free legal consultation with an experienced lawyer.
A Dangerous Type of Crash
Cars that exit the roadway before crashing tend to be particularly dangerous, due to a vehicle rollover caused by “tripping” when hitting other objects, or being propelled down or up an embankment. When compared to other car crash types, rollovers have a higher fatality rate. In fact, in 2001, road departure vehicle accidents accounted for 20 percent of the total amount of crashes nationwide, and just over 41 percent of the total auto fatalities.
Running Off the Road Accident Causes
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), excessive speed is often the cause of a road departure vehicle accident. Cars traveling too fast based on the design of the road are more difficult to keep under control, especially when the vehicle approaches a curve. Even so, there is not one specific road or driving condition that causes a “running off the road” accident. However, the NHTSA sites various common causes that include:
- Excessive speed is involved in at least 32 percent of all cases.
- The incapacity of the driver, due to intoxication and/or drowsiness are involved in at least 20 percent of all cases.
- Losing control of the direction of the vehicle, due to icy or wet pavement account for approximately 16 percent of all off the road crashes
- Evasive maneuvering amount to nearly 16 percent of off the road accidents where the driver attempts to swerve to avoid debris.
- Inattention (distraction) of the driver account for nearly 13 percent of these accidents, where the driver is performing other activities including texting or talking on the phone.
- Vehicle failure including steering failure or a tire blowout accounts for almost 4 percent of accidents that happen when the vehicle is driven off the road.
Common Scenarios Involved Roadway Departure Accidents
The NHTSA cites specific shared characteristics involving road departure crashes. Many of these commonalities include:
- Crashes on a straight roadway
- Good driving weather conditions
- Dry roads
- Suburban and/or rural roads
- An equal number of accidents happen during the day and night
Passenger Financial Recovery For Injured Sustained In A Chicago Road Departure Accident
Many times, a road departure car accident will involve only a single vehicle that results in injuries or death of the driver and/or passengers. While the cause of the crash is often unclear, the passengers typically have a legal right to file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim against the driver. An experienced Illinois auto accident attorney can prove the car driver's negligence where the passenger was injured and hold the motorist liable for their reckless action. Other cases involve poorly designed roadways, defective tires or mechanical failure that caused the road departure accident where the defendant might be a municipal road maintenance department or tire manufacturer.
Types of driver’s negligence that could cause a dangerous or fatal road departure collision could include:
- A tired driver falling asleep behind the wheel
- An inattentive (distracted) driver not maintaining control of their vehicle
- Drug- or alcohol-impaired drivers who lack perception and coordination to maintain vehicle safety on the roadway
- Driving too fast to properly negotiate curves or turns
- Failing to make proper and appropriate adjustments when driving on icy or wet roadways
Other Parties Potentially Responsible For Roadway Departure Accidents
In some crashes, a local municipality, county or the state of Illinois might be liable for road departure fatalities by not maintaining the road properly. Negligence on behalf of the municipality or state could include:
- Missing guardrails or barriers
- Bad road surfaces due to improper maintenance
- Failure to install rumble strips as an effective way to warn motorists of an increased potential of roadway departure
- Missing roadway safety edges used to mitigate a steep drop-off
If you, or a family member, were seriously injured or died as a result of a road departure car accident in Illinois, Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC can help you in obtaining financial recompense. Make an appointment with our experienced attorneys here for a free initial consultation.