Most car accidents result in minor injuries or property damage. On the other end of the spectrum are head-on collisions. Head-on collisions are particularly dangerous because the combined force of the two vehicles traveling toward each other results in very high-impact crashes.
If victims do not die in an accident, they often have severe and life-long injuries. They accrue hefty medical bills and cannot return to work to earn an income. The expenses they face can quickly put their financial future in jeopardy.
With a skilled car accident lawyer on your side, you can recover compensation from the negligent driver who caused your head-on accident.
Are Head-On Collisions Common?
Compared to other types of accidents, head-on collisions are rare. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they account for only 13 percent of all rural fatal accidents. Less than 7 percent of deadly accidents in urban areas are head-on collisions.
No matter where or how they occur, the best step after being in such an accident is to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer.
While head-on collisions might not be common, they are known for causing severe injuries and many fatalities. Victims of these accidents face many financial, physical, and emotional challenges. Hiring the right attorney can play a significant part in recovering their damages.
In a recent year, nearly 30 percent of car accident fatalities and 327,000 injuries stemmed from head-on collisions. Due to the increased force placed on both drivers, head-on collision accidents are probably the most dangerous type of vehicle accident. Unlike other accidents, in a head-on collision, two cars travel toward each other before the crash happens.
Liability for Head-On Collisions
Typically, a head-on collision involves one vehicle traveling in the wrong lane and into oncoming traffic. In this situation, the driver traveling in the wrong direction is the one who causes the accident and is therefore liable. However, they might not shoulder all of the liability.
For example, suppose multiple head-on collisions have happened at or around the same location. In that case, you can hold a municipality liable due to bad road design or even a poorly planned construction zone.
You don't have to bear the burden of determining how your accident happened or who caused it. When you hire legal representation, your attorney will thoroughly investigate to hold the proper parties accountable for your damages.
What 8 Factors Cause Head-On Collisions?
Most car accidents, including head-on collisions, involve preventable driver error.
Eight significant factors are most often the culprits of these types of accidents, including:
- Distracted driving. Whether a driver is reaching for something across the seat, trying to adjust their audio settings, texting a friend, or putting an address in their GPS, any type of distracted driving immediately raises the risk of an accident, especially in certain areas such as two-lane highways.
- Driving while sleepy or fatigued. Similar to distracted driving, if someone is driving while they are tired or sleepy, they are not in complete control of their vehicle. Being fatigued can make it difficult for the brain to function and make the right decisions using good judgment. If a driver is sleepy at the wheel, they risk falling asleep and causing a head-on collision.
- Not driving carefully in adverse weather or poor visibility. Many times, driving conditions warrant drivers to adjust how they drive. It is usually advisable to slow down below the speed limit in heavy rain to decrease the chances of an accident. Drivers should also slow down if fog or smoke reduces visibility. If a driver fails to take the appropriate precautions, the chances of causing an accident increase.
- Overtaking another vehicle poorly. Drivers should use caution when passing another vehicle. Are they passing in an area where it is legal and safe to pass? Are they allowing themselves enough room to pass safely? Are they attempting to overtake more than one vehicle at a time?
- Driving under the influence. Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs will always increase the risk of an accident. Intoxicated drivers usually make dangerous decisions.
- Not paying attention to traffic signals or signs. Traffic signals and signs are there for a reason. If a driver ignores them, they put themselves and others at risk. They may go the wrong way on a one-way road, pass when it is not legal, make a wrong-way turn, or enter the highway on an off-ramp.
- Medical emergencies. A sudden medical condition, such as a heart attack or seizure, can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and drift into oncoming traffic. Suppose drivers have a medical condition that can cause them to suddenly lose control of their vehicle. In that case, they shouldn't drive and you can hold them liable for the accident.
- Vehicle malfunction. Mechanical failures, such as brake failure or blown tires, can cause a driver to lose control and veer into oncoming traffic. In some cases, you can hold the vehicle or its parts manufacturer responsible for causing the head-on collision.
You may not know the reason your head-on accident occurred; in fact, many victims don't. However, an experienced car accident attorney can determine this.
Wrong-Way Accident Risk Factors
Most head-on collisions result from one of the drivers driving the wrong way on a road. Numerous factors can come into play to cause a wrong-way crash. However, researchers found that these accidents had commonalities that can increase or decrease the risk.
Sixty percent of wrong-way crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Motorists with blood alcohol concentrations (BAC) over the legal limit of 0.08 were much more likely to be the wrong-way driver than the other driver in the collision.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) asserts that impaired driving, whether by alcohol or drugs, is the most critical factor in these crashes. If you are in a collision with an impaired driver, call a car accident attorney to protect your rights.
Another contributing factor to wrong-way crashes is a driver's age. The data also previously revealed that drivers 70 or older are more likely to drive the wrong way than younger motorists.
Another study shows that drivers between the ages of 75-79 didn't drive as much and drove fewer miles than people younger than them. Nevertheless, the drivers above 70 account for more than their equal share of wrong-way crashes.
Lack of Passenger Presence
Based on the study, it also seems that having a passenger helps avoid wrong-way collisions. Nearly 87 percent of wrong-way drivers were alone in their vehicles. A passenger can help alert the driver to their potential error. It might even help them take corrective action if they are already going the wrong way.
Types of Injuries Arising from a Head-On Collision
Witnesses to head-on accidents understand their devastating nature. In a split second, two vehicles contort and fold around each other. Occupants may find themselves trapped inside, wedged against the vehicle's interior, or facing the possibility of the front end being sheared off, scattering debris. In some cases, these collisions can lead to a vehicle overturning or pushing them into a ditch, exacerbating the severity of the situation.
Injuries in Head-On Collisions
Head-on collisions often result in severe physical trauma, leading to fractures, deep cuts, burns, or internal injuries. These injuries can worsen if the accident traps a victim inside the vehicle or ejects them from it.
If trapped, the extraction process can take hours, causing additional pressure on organs or increased blood loss. Victims ejected onto the road may experience a double impact — first during the collision and then upon hitting the ground. This can lead to even more severe trauma, significant friction burns, and additional injuries if struck by another vehicle while lying helpless.
A qualified car accident lawyer can navigate the legal complexities of your case and pursue rightful compensation.
Serious Head and Spinal Injuries
Among the most severe injuries are those involving the head and spine. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can include concussions and other extensive brain damage. During a collision, TBIs often occur due to the sudden force's impact on the brain or when the head impacts the vehicle's interior.
When a vehicle suddenly decelerates, it causes the brain to shift inside the skull and make contact with its inner surface, resulting in contusions or small tears in brain tissue. Direct trauma, such as debris penetrating the head or a skull fracture exposing the brain, can be even more severe, potentially affecting large portions of the brain.
Spinal damage is also significant, as fractured vertebrae may lead to permanent disability or spinal cord injuries. A head-on collision can abruptly halt a victim's life, resulting in substantial medical expenses and lost work time.
Some victims may never resume their careers and become reliant on others. However, with assertive legal representation, victims can pursue the justice they deserve.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do for You After a Head-On Collision?
After a head-on collision, a car accident lawyer provides invaluable services in navigating the legal process and seeking compensation for your damages.
Here are some of the things a car accident lawyer can do for you and your case:
- Legal guidance and advice: A car accident lawyer can explain your rights, discuss potential legal actions, and advise on how to proceed based on the specific circumstances of your case.
- Investigation: The lawyer will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident, which may involve collecting evidence, interviewing witnesses, obtaining police reports, and working with accident reconstruction experts if necessary.
- Determining liability: One of the crucial aspects of any car accident case is establishing who was at fault. A lawyer will examine the evidence to determine liability and build a strong case to support your claim.
- Calculating damages: They will assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, property damage, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses related to the accident.
- Dealing with insurance companies: The lawyer can communicate with the insurance companies on your behalf, handle negotiations, and ensure that the insurance adjusters seeking to minimize their payout do not take advantage of you. With an attorney on your side, you won't speak to the insurance company yourself and their questions or demands won’t bother you.
- Filing claims and lawsuits: The lawyer can file a lawsuit if you cannot reach a fair settlement. They will handle all the necessary paperwork, court filings, and legal proceedings.
- Negotiating settlements: Your lawyer will work to negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party's insurance company. They will secure the maximum compensation possible for your injuries and losses.
- Representing you in court: If your case goes to trial, your lawyer will represent you in court, present your case, cross-examine witnesses, and argue on your behalf.
- Advocating for your rights: A car accident lawyer will protect your rights and advocate for your best interests throughout the legal process.
- Providing emotional support: Dealing with the aftermath of a head-on collision can be emotionally challenging. A lawyer can offer support, empathy, and reassurance during this difficult time.
- Giving you time and space to heal: Recovering from head-on collision injuries can take months or even years. You don't have the time or energy to manage your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve. When you turn your case over to an attorney, you give yourself the time and space to focus on yourself and heal from your injuries.
Consult a qualified car accident lawyer as soon as possible after a head-on collision to protect your rights and give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve.
Head-On Collision? Rely on an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Negligent parties should be accountable for their negligent actions. Unfortunately, this is highly difficult without the services of a car accident attorney. Too many injured victims and their families without representation often don't receive the compensation they deserve.
When you hire a personal injury attorney, they will rigorously investigate your head-on collision to determine liability. Armed with this critical information, your attorney can build a strong case so that you receive the best outcome possible.