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Proving Fault in Wrong-Way Auto Accidents in Seattle

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2016 | Car Accidents

By Pendergast Law on August 31, 2016

One of the leading causes of car, motorcycle, and trucking accidents is attributed to a driver heading in the wrong direction on the roadway. Seattle, especially downtown, is notorious for having one-way streets, and many drivers accidentally turn onto one-way streets, driving the wrong way. Though an inadvertent mistake, this slip-up can cause a serious accident, resulting in traumatic injuries and even death.

In order to prove fault in a personal injury case, you must prove that the other driver acted negligently. A driver heading the wrong way on a street can be found negligent per se by violating a traffic law if posted signage is adequate to warn the driver that the road is, in fact, a one-way street. In layman’s terms, negligence occurs when an individual such as a driver fails to exercise care toward other drivers, thereby causing an accident. If the driver’s wrong-way driving is a cause of the accident, even if only a partial cause, you can seek damages from the driver.


To establish that the driver was driving in the wrong direction, you will need to prove (1) the direction both of the cars were driving in and (2) whether the street was a one-way or two-way street. Often times, a defendant will admit that he was driving in the wrong direction. If he does not, the direction the cars were driving in can be proved through direct and circumstantial evidence, such as an examining the damage on the two cars, examining tire marks on the road, witness testimony, and more.

Proving the second prong may be more difficult if the driver alleges that he did not know he was driving in the wrong direction when the accident occurred. This will require examining the road for obvious signs and markers. Is there a sign that states “One Way?” Is there a sign with an arrow indicating the flow of traffic? Is the street one lane? Do the painted lines on the street indicate traffic is to flow in both directions or one direction?

In addition, any evidence that would have impaired the other driver will support your argument that he was  on a one-way street. For example, many defendants involved in wrong-way accidents are intoxicated at the time of the accident. Evidence of intoxication, such as observations by the victim or criminal prosecution of the driver for DUI, will reinforce your negligence claim.

Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. Is Prepared to Help You Fight for Justice

When you are injured by a wrong-way driver, you have the right under the law to seek compensation for your injuries. Our Seattle wrong way accident attorneys have four decades of experience fighting for our clients’ rights in real courtrooms. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 888-539-9211.