Nobody expects to be rammed by a car head-on as they are driving. Yet, these devastating and deadly accidents do happen, often resulting in severe injuries that can forever impact a victim and their family physically, emotionally, and financially.
However, if these crashes were due to the wrongful actions of another, you should not be left to deal with these catastrophic consequences on your own. Rather, you deserve damages and justice for the harm you sustained.
To better help you understand your legal options after this type of accident, we have prepared the following post. In it, we will go over everything you need to know about head-on car collisions, including their causes, why they are so dangerous, and how an experienced head-on car accident attorney can help you go after the financial recovery you are entitled to following this disastrous accident.
What Are Head-on Collisions?
A head-on collision also referred to as a frontal crash, is an accident that occurs when motor vehicles driving in opposite directions crash front to front. These accidents typically happen with an automobile, truck, or motorcycle. However, if a vehicle strikes a stationary object such as a pole, cement barrier, or a tree, it can also be classified as a head-on collision.
Why Are Head-on Collisions So Dangerous?
Although any car crash can cause devastating injuries, when it comes to head-on crashes, statistics show that these types of accidents are even more likely to result in catastrophic harm or fatalities to the passengers and the driver in either vehicle. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, front impact crashes have a 57 percent fatality rate.
Yet, even though these crashes are rare only two percent of nationwide collisions are head-on crashes they are the most dangerous motor vehicle collision, accounting for over 10 percent of fatal accidents.
This is because a head-on crash tends to produce the greatest force of impact since both vehicles are moving right before they collide with each other. As a result, these types of accidents are often known to cause life-threatening harm and trauma.
Common Causes of Head-on Accidents
Head-on accidents are usually the result of a motorist traveling on the wrong side of the road, either because they were driving in the opposite direction than they should be or they crossed the centerline of the roadway.
Yet, although most of these wrong-way crashes are due to a driver not exercising reasonable care as they are operating their motor vehicle, there is no one specific cause for these head-on crashes. In truth, these accidents can occur for several reasons, such as:
#1. Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
If a driver gets behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, drugs, or other prescription medications, it can have a profound effect on their driving ability, often impacting their reaction time and reasoning skills. That is why intoxicated drivers may not even realize they are driving the wrong way until it is too late.
#2. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts the motorist’s attention away from driving, including talking on the phone, texting, playing with the radio, or checking the navigation system. However, when motorists take their eyes off the road, even for an instant, it is easier for them to drift across the centerline and cause a massive head-on crash.
#3. Tired Driving
Fatigued driving commonly occurs when a motorist has not slept for a long time or has driven for an extended period, such as truck drivers who put in long shifts to meet customer demands. As a result, many of these head-on crashes tend to result when a tired driver nods off and veers into oncoming traffic.
#4. Excessive Speeding
Speeding endangers everybody on the road, especially since it can cause a driver to lose control of their motor vehicle, resulting in them skidding into oncoming traffic and causing a head-on crash. In addition, since speeding increases the degree of a crash’s severity, speeding almost guarantees that victims involved in a head-on collision will suffer debilitating injuries, if not deadly ones.
#5. Driving While Confused
If a driver on the road gets lost or confused about where they are going because the roads are unfamiliar to them, they may end up driving in the wrong direction. For instance, this confusion is common on one-way streets or when older motorists, who have issues seeing at night, enter highways and ramps the wrong way.
#6. Improper Passing
A good number of head-on crashes tend to occur on two-lane roadways when motorists grow impatient because they are stuck behind a slow-moving vehicle. In these situations, drivers often try to pass the slow-moving car by intentionally entering the other lane of oncoming traffic to go around them. However, anytime a driver faces traffic heading in the opposite direction, they are putting themselves and others at risk for a frontal crash.
Common Injuries That Result From a Head-on Collision
Regardless of how the frontal crash occurred, the injuries that can result are often horrifying.
Yet, even though these injuries will differ depending on the circumstances of the accident, the most commonly reported injuries resulting from a head-on accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Significant lacerations
- Neck and back injuries
- Internal organ damage or bleeding
- Soft tissue injuries
- Facial trauma
- Wrongful death
Damages You May Pursue Following a Head-on Accident
If a head-on collision harmed you, you may recover compensation.
Typically, compensation includes both economic and non-economic damages such as:
- Past and current medical bills related to doctor visits, hospital stay, emergency services such as ambulance transportation, prescription medications, surgeries, assistive medical equipment, and other medical treatments
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Domestic replacement services
- Costs related to repair or replacement of personal property, such as a vehicle
- Rehabilitative care
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Limb loss
Additionally, punitive damages may also be awarded after a head-on crash. However, unlike the other damages, which are designed to compensate the victim for their losses following an accident, punitive damages are only in place to punish the defendant for their horrendous actions and to prevent others from committing these acts in the future.
As a result, for a victim of a head-on collision to be awarded punitive damages, their attorney needs to show clear and convincing evidence that the defendant committed intentional misconduct or gross negligence.
Proving Fault Following a Head-On Crash
To obtain monetary relief from another party for your injuries and losses after a head-on crash, you first need to show that the other motorist was responsible for the frontal collision, either through their intentional, reckless, or negligent actions.
However, you need to establish:
- The At-Fault Party Owed a Duty of Care: Every driver has a legal obligation to avoid causing harm to another person on the road. This means that motorists need to pay attention while driving, remain sober, and stay alert.
- The At-Fault Party Breached This Duty: If a party breaches their duty of care, their actions can be found negligent, especially if their conduct falls outside of what is expected from a reasonable person in the same or similar situation. This means that if the at-fault party was driving the wrong way or drinking and driving, they can be found negligent.
- The At-Fault Party’s Breach Caused the Accident: To be successful in an injury claim, the victim’s lawyer needs to show that the victim’s injuries were a direct and proximate cause of the at-fault party’s actions. For example, the attorney can show that the victim would not have suffered spinal cord damage had the liable party not swerved into the victim’s car head-on.
- The Injuries Resulted in Significant Financial Damages: The last element requires proving that the victim’s injuries resulted in extensive financial damages.
After a head-on crash, it is difficult enough trying to figure out what happened or who caused the accident, let alone trying to gather evidence that can prove negligence.
When you work with a skilled head-on car accident attorney, you will not have to prove these elements. Instead, your attorneys can promptly get to work, investigating the crash, figuring out who was responsible for the accident, and obtaining the evidence to hold all those liable accountable for the losses and injuries you endured.
Things You Should Do Following a Head-On Accident
Following a head-on collision, you need to realize that the actions you take are not only critical in protecting your health and safety but your legal rights as well.
For these reasons, following a head-on accident, you should:
- Call 911 and notify emergency responders that they need to get to the scene immediately
- Obtain a copy of the police report, as it can provide you with valuable evidence regarding the accident
- Obtain a copy of the medical report associated with your treatments related to the accident
- Watch what you say to others after the accident, as comments such as “I’m sorry” or “It was my fault” can hurt your case and decrease the money you receive
- Gather evidence from the crash scene, including pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident, their placement on the road, your visible injuries, the traffic signs near the accident scene, skid marks on the road, and any other evidence that can help show what happened
- Check for witnesses, as these individuals can often provide you and your lawyer with helpful information regarding what happened
However, do not worry if you cannot obtain all of this evidence following the accident. Once you retain experienced legal help to assist you with your injury claim, these lawyers can work on gathering this evidence and testimony for you.
Get the Legal Help You Need Following a Head-on Collision
After a head-on crash, the last thing you want to worry about is preparing strong legal arguments to prove your claim. However, if you want to obtain compensation for the injuries and losses you sustained after the accident, you need to be able to prove what happened and who was responsible for the accident.
With an experienced head-on car accident lawyer on your side, you will not have to do this alone. Instead, you can focus on what matters most your healing and recovery while these skilled legal professionals take on this legal battle on your behalf.
Once you retain these attorneys, they can:
- Evaluate your case, determine if you have a viable claim, and help you figure out the legal options you have.
- Go over all of your questions and concerns and provide you with the support you need during this challenging time.
- Thoroughly investigate the accident and obtain the evidence needed to prove fault and damages.
- Bring in experts, including accident reconstructionists and physicians, to validate your claim.
- Ensure that your legal motions and documents are appropriately prepared and filed with the correct court before time runs out.
- Handle all the negotiations with the other side and the insurance company and go after a fair settlement offer on your behalf.
- Prepare for trial if the other side is unwilling to negotiate fairly, and fight for maximum damages.
If a head-on car accident seriously harmed you or a loved one, do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Instead, reach out to a skilled head-on car accident attorney today for a free case evaluation, and let these lawyers show how they can handle your case and help you fight for the financial damages you deserve.