The U.S. has an increasing number of car accidents every year. More than 38,000 people died in car accidents in 2020, nationally. Car accidents often are the result of distracted or reckless driving. While some accidents only cause minor injuries, others can be extremely serious, resulting in severe injuries and even death. One of the major causes of fatal car accidents is head-on collisions. If you or your loved one has suffered a head-on collision, you can seek compensation for your damages by contacting us at the Law Offices of Brown & Gessell.
What is a Head-On Collision?
A head-on collision is a car accident that occurs when the front ends of two vehicles collide. Head-on collisions are less frequent than rear-end collisions, but they result in the most severe injuries. These injuries can be outwardly apparent or inwardly silent. Also, the two vehicles do not have to be directly head-on, to be a head-on collision.
Head-on collisions commonly occur on divided highways, also known as two-way roads. These collisions usually result from high-speed driving, risky passing, fatigued driving, driving while intoxicated, or distracted driving.
Common Head-on Collision Injuries
The injuries ensuing from head-on collisions can be catastrophic, and it can take the victim several months to recover. The following are the most common injuries resulting from head-on collisions:
- Severe head-on collisions can severely impact the skull and facial muscles, which is why injuries from such accidents include damaged, fractured, or broken facial bones.
- Whiplash can occur in head-on collisions due to the violent and sudden jolt experienced by the victims during the accident. It can result in torn muscles and ligaments in the neck.
- The impact of a head-on collision on the spine and neck can cause the spinal cord to rupture, resulting in paralysis. Severe spinal injuries can even cause death.
- Broken shards of glass from the vehicle’s windshields or windows can cause lacerations.
- Traumatic brain injuries are also common in head-on collisions.
- Internal injuries may occur that can be life-threatening.
Contributing Factors in Head-On Collisions
Generally, there are road signs and lane markings to prevent head-on collisions. However, if a driver is impaired, fails to ensure enough room for a safe vehicle passing, fails to yield to oncoming traffic, or makes an illegal turn, it can result in a head-on collision.
Drivers operating larger vehicles who are fatigued from working long hours are at a high risk of a head-on collision. Faulty traffic signals are another significant cause of head-on collisions. In some cases, inadequate or poor road conditions, such as faded road markings or broken guardrails, can result in a head-on collision.
Vehicles merging into a lane from the wrong direction or turning into an arterial thoroughfare can get into a head-on collision with the oncoming traffic. In addition, environmental factors and weather conditions that decrease road visibility can also lead to head-on collisions.
You must seek immediate medical attention if you are involved in a severe head-on collision. But, you should also try to gather as much evidence as possible from the crash site so your car accident attorney can use that evidence to strengthen your case.
Legal Options for Head-On Collision Victims
Filing a police report after is within the discretion of the investigative officer. It is discretionary, unless the damage exceeds a certain monetary threshold, there is a death due to the accident, or the vehicle that suffered the impact was totaled. However, it is rare to have such a collision and not have a police report created. This is the decision of the investigating officer. In California, the monetary threshold for a police report is $1000. However, a police report can help your case in court and establish the liability of the at-fault driver.
Given the likely injuries you or a loved one will sustain in a head-on collision, it is imperative that you seek good legal representation to make a claim against the offending driver and his or her insurance company for such damages as medical costs, lost wages, loss of household services and property damage. Should informal settlement efforts fail, your attorney can file a civil lawsuit, such as a personal injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit. The compensation obtained for wrongful death covers burial expenses and noneconomic damages, like the pain and suffering of the surviving family, in addition to the economic damages, both past and future.
Technology plays an important role in establishing liability and damages. EDR’s, or Event Data Recorders, a type of black box in all vehicles since September 2012, record collision events. This includes such information as speed, airbag deployment and sensor information. Such information that provides invaluable insight into the cause and severity of the collision. This is helpful in determining fault in a head-on collision.
California is an at-fault state, which means a comparative fault system is used to determine damage compensation for the parties involved in the accident. That means that each driver is responsible for the damages they cause. In essence, the proximate or comparative negligence rule dictates that a victim is only entitled to receive compensation depending on the offending person’s percentage of fault in the accident. You can also sue the offending driver for property damage, such as the damage done to your vehicle. In contrast, if a state is a no-fault state, the insurance company of each party pays for the costs of the client, regardless of who caused the accident.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Claim Attorney
Head-on collisions can result in significant injuries and can be followed by an extensive rehabilitation period for the victim, making it difficult for them to pursue legal action against the other driver. A personal injury attorney with experience in the field can guide you on all legal proceedings to help you obtain maximum compensation for your economic and noneconomic damages. They also advise you about potential compensation based on the facts of the case. We would be glad to set up a consultation session for you at the Law Offices of Brown & Gessell.