Roadway departure crashes occur when a driver veers off the road or crosses the centerline. According to the Federal Highway Administration, they account for more than 50 percent of all U.S. traffic fatalities from 2015-2017.
Roadway departures are often caused by:
- Distracted drivers
- Aggressive driving, such as weaving through traffic
- Mechanical failures, such as tire blowouts and wheel failure
- Drowsy driving
- Drivers unaware of a crash
They tend to happen on major highways (negligent lane changing) or rural roads (negligent passing in single lanes). They can lead to head-on collisions, rollovers, and collisions with fixed objects.
Here's what to do after a roadway departure accident
In the event that you're run off the road by another driver, you should first call 911. Roadway departures often result in severe injuries that call for emergency medical treatment. If you're not severely injured, here are some actions you can take:
- Assess the situation: It may take a moment to digest what just happened. Take a deep breath and briefly survey the crash scene. Check on passengers and other people involved in the crash. Call 911 if anyone is noticeably injured. Otherwise, simply call the local or state police as soon as possible.
- Document the crash scene: It's critical that you always take pictures of the crash scene from as many different angles possible. Capture the damage to the cars involved and tire marks in the roadway.
- Speak to witnesses: If anyone is around to witness the crash, they may pull over and offer help. Take down their name and contact information. Their word may be helpful when pursuing a legal claim.
- Obtain the police report: The police will piece together an unbiased report of your crash, including any citations issued or arrests made. This can be obtained online by the Texas Department of Transportation's Crash Report Online Purchase System.
- Get medical attention: It's always wise to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you feel OK. Sometimes, injury symptoms can take days to appear.
What to do if the at-fault driver fails to stop after an accident
You may be wondering what to do if the driver who ran you off the road failed to stop. If the license plate can be captured (by you, a witness, or on camera), you can pursue a legal claim against the driver. In addition, the driver will likely face criminal charges, especially if you sustained a serious injury.
If the driver can't be identified, you can still pursue damages if you have uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage on your car insurance policy. UM comes standard on your insurance policy in Texas. Drivers who choose not to purchase it must notify their insurance carrier in writing, however. UM pays for both your medical and car damage expenses.
Personal injury protection (PIP) would cover the medical expenses of you and your passengers. In addition, PIP covers lost wages and non-economic damages.
Your best course of action is to speak to an experienced Texas car accident attorney who can help you explore your legal options. Chad Jones Law has been serving clients in College Station, Midland, Bryan, Odessa, and Waco, TX, for more than 20 years. We can help you build a solid legal claim and recover all damages owed to you. If you were hurt in a crash, contact us online to find out how we can help.