No one anticipates a car accident, particularly a head-on collision, when driving around town. Regrettably, the unexpected happens daily. Witnessing another vehicle heading directly towards you is one of the most frightening experiences while driving. Whether or not you see a head-on collision coming, you will inevitably feel the abrupt impact of the crash.
After a head-on car accident that injured you or a loved one, always reach out to an experienced car accident lawyer in Austin promptly. Injured victims may recover monetary compensation for their injuries, and obtaining the rightful compensation often necessitates the involved guidance of experienced legal representation.
Head-on Collisions are Serious Collisions
It’s undeniable that head-on collisions stand out as one of the most severe types of car accidents that can unfold on America’s roadways. Given the gravity of these incidents, numerous victims and their families turn to seasoned car accident attorneys to pursue the rightful compensation they deserve.
Two pivotal factors contribute to the severe outcomes associated with these accidents. First, as the front ends of both involved vehicles collide, drivers and front-seat passengers face a heightened risk of injury or fatality. This risk intensifies if the impact causes the front end of the vehicle to crumple, potentially crushing the driver and passengers.
Additionally, when two vehicles approach each other, sometimes at significant speeds, the combined force and speed result in a much more impactful collision than if the vehicles were moving in the same or different directions.
To illustrate, a head-on collision involving two vehicles traveling at 30 miles per hour each creates an impact force equivalent to a single-car accident at 60 miles per hour colliding with a stationary object. Head-on crashes on highways, with the high velocities of the involved motor vehicles, tend to cause deadly injuries.
Due to the violent and abrupt nature of head-on collisions, both drivers and passengers are susceptible to sustaining severe injuries. These injuries often lead to substantial medical expenses, necessitate surgeries, require hospitalizations, lead to lost income during recovery, and entail extensive property damage.
To embark on the path of rebuilding one’s life after such a traumatic event, obtaining comprehensive and equitable financial compensation for these damages becomes imperative.
Causes of Frontal Collisions
The primary cause of most head-on collisions is a driver heading in the wrong direction, which can happen when a driver crosses the centerline of the roadway or travels against posted directions. However, many wrong-way crashes occur due to a driver’s failure to exercise reasonable care while driving. While there isn’t a singular cause for front-impact crashes, several common reasons contribute to these accidents:
Distracted driving poses a significant risk to life and property and is a prevalent cause of head-on collisions on U.S. roads. Advances in technology, particularly the use of mobile phones, have led to an increase in accidents. Texting while driving, which is illegal in 48 states, is especially hazardous.
However, distractions extend beyond cell phones and can include activities such as:
- Consuming food or beverages
- Playing loud music
- Adjusting controls in the car
- Conversations with passengers
- Managing children or pets inside the vehicle
Inattentiveness caused by distractions increases the likelihood of motorists crossing the center line and resulting in head-on collisions.
Recent studies indicate that driving while sleep-deprived or drowsy can have effects similar to those of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Fatigued driving often occurs when a driver hasn’t had sufficient sleep, has worked extended shifts, or has been on the road for an extended period. Many head-on collisions are the result of fatigued drivers falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into oncoming traffic. These accidents can occur suddenly, resulting in severe, catastrophic, or even fatal injuries.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
Despite widespread public awareness and extensive educational campaigns, some drivers irresponsibly choose to drive after consuming alcohol, drugs, or potent prescription medications.
These substances significantly impair driving skills, reducing a driver’s reaction time. Intoxicated motorists may not realize they are traveling the wrong way until it’s too late. Driving under the influence is a frequent cause of head-on collisions and can lead to devastating consequences.
It’s well-established that speeding poses a danger to all road users. Drivers who exceed posted speed limits or drive too fast for road conditions increase the risk of losing control of their vehicle and colliding with oncoming traffic. When two vehicles collide head-on at high speeds, catastrophic, if not fatal, injuries are likely for both drivers and passengers.
Driver Disorientation or Confusion
Motorists can experience confusion while navigating unfamiliar roads or even on a familiar route, especially at night or in construction zones. This confusion may lead them to unintentionally travel in the wrong direction, contributing to various car crashes. On one-way roadways, instances of driver confusion have been a key factor in several collisions.
Additionally, aging drivers, facing challenges with night vision, may inadvertently enter highways and ramps in the wrong direction. Regardless of the cause, driver confusion poses a significant risk, exposing themselves and others to the potential of severe head-on collisions.
Unsafe Passing Maneuvers
Frontal collisions frequently occur on rural two-lane highways, where impatient drivers often feel frustrated behind slower-moving vehicles. In an attempt to overtake the vehicle in front of them, some motorists choose to pass on double yellow lines.
Passing on a two-lane road is inherently risky, even when legally permissible. Whenever a driver deliberately enters the oncoming traffic lane, the risk of a head-on collision significantly increases.
Sudden Medical Emergencies
Instances like a heart attack or seizure can lead to an immediate loss of control for a driver, resulting in unintentional drifting into oncoming traffic. If a driver is aware of a medical condition that poses a risk of sudden loss of control, continuing to drive may lead to liability for any resulting accidents.
Mechanical issues such as brake failure or a blown tire can contribute to a driver losing control and swerving into oncoming traffic. In certain scenarios, responsibility for the head-on collision may extend to the vehicle or its parts manufacturer, especially if the malfunction was a contributing factor.
Potential Injuries Arising from Head-On Car Collisions
Regardless of the triggering factors behind a head-on collision, drivers and their passengers often endure severe physical trauma leading to incapacitating or life-altering injuries.
Some of the most frequently documented injury types include:
- Lacerations: Cuts, ranging from minor to severe, can result from flying glass, debris, or other items within the vehicles. While some lacerations may be minor, others necessitate stitches or even surgical intervention, with deep, severe lacerations leaving permanent scarring.
- Burns: Certain head-on collisions may trigger fires, exposing victims to severe burns. Chemical or inhalation burns may also occur, and tissue burns can lead to scarring and disfigurement, sometimes requiring skin grafts. Severe burns covering extensive body areas can be life-threatening, often accompanied by complications such as infections.
- Broken and Fractured Bones: The force of a head-on collision or crushing impact within the vehicle can lead to broken or fractured bones. Minor fractures typically heal with cast stabilization within a few weeks or months, while severe fractures necessitate surgery, fixation, and potentially extended periods of physical therapy. In some cases, severe fractures may result in disability or require limb amputation.
- Whiplash: The tendons, cartilage, and muscles of the neck and upper back are ill-equipped to withstand the force and impact of head-on collisions, often resulting in whiplash. Despite being classified as a soft tissue injury, whiplash can be extremely painful and may take weeks or months to heal.
- Neck and Back Injuries: Head-on collision victims may suffer various back and neck injuries, including slipped discs, facet joint injuries, spinal cord injuries (SCI), fractured vertebrae, and pulled muscles. Individuals with spinal cord injuries may experience temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI), Head Injuries, and Concussions: Head injuries stemming from head-on collisions can be severe, potentially leading to life-threatening conditions. The jolting of the brain within the skull or external impacts can result in severe bleeding, potentially causing brain damage or death. Survivors may face a prolonged journey of treatment and recovery, even in cases of mild concussions that require recovery time and time away from work.
- Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage: Despite the protection offered by the ribs, spine, pelvis, and fatty tissues, severe accidents can still result in internal bleeding and organ damage, often of a serious nature.
Regrettably, fatalities aren’t uncommon in head-on collisions. In instances where a driver’s negligence precipitates an accident resulting in severe injury or death, victims or their surviving family members may pursue financial recovery for related economic and non-economic losses.
Thus, engage a compassionate car accident lawyer who can navigate your case through court proceedings, if necessary, ensuring you receive rightful compensation for injuries and damages.
Determining Fault in a Head-On Collision
Suppose you have recently suffered injuries in a head-on collision. In that case, you may wonder if you are eligible for compensation. Successful personal injury claims hinge on proving negligence, and head-on accidents are no exception.
To secure a favorable outcome, you or your car accident attorney must establish the four legal elements of negligence, which include:
- Duty of care: Motorists are legally obligated to drive reasonably and safely to prevent accidents. This duty involves actions such as staying in the correct lane and taking necessary precautions to avoid causing a head-on collision.
- Breach of duty: Breach of duty: If a driver engages in risky or unlawful behavior, such as texting while driving or speeding, they have breached their duty of care.
- Causation: The at-fault driver’s breach of duty directly led to your injuries. For example, if a motorist crosses into oncoming traffic due to falling asleep, resulting in a collision and a broken pelvis.
- Damages: The victim sustained damages as a direct result of the accident. These damages can include medical expenses, lost income, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering, among other types of losses.
In the aftermath of a head-on crash, it’s crucial to recognize that insurance companies aim to maximize profits rather than provide substantial payouts to claimants. Insurance claims adjusters might employ tactics to minimize their insured’s fault for the accident. Unfortunately, many will use aggressive methods to devalue, diminish, or even deny your injury claim.
Protect your rights by enlisting the services of a knowledgeable and reputable car accident lawyer who will relentlessly pursue maximum compensation for your injuries, refusing to yield to the pressure from claims adjusters.
Consult an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
After involvement in a head-on collision, consulting with a car accident attorney is crucial. While you have legal rights, insurance companies may not cooperate. An attorney can assess the viability of your injury claim, estimate its potential value, and guide you on the next steps.
If you decide to retain an attorney, they will conduct a thorough investigation into the accident’s circumstances and determine liability. They will identify all relevant insurance policies that may apply to your case and help assess your compensable damages. Furthermore, your personal injury attorney will skillfully negotiate with the insurance company to secure a comprehensive settlement.