Just witnessing a head-on vehicle collision can be a traumatic event. Being involved in one can be the most devastating event of a person’s life. These types of motor vehicle accidents can be especially destructive among vehicle collisions, typically resulting in significant property damage and severe injuries or death. If you, a friend, or a family member are involved in a head-on collision, you face challenges, not just in the often lengthy medical recovery but further in recovering the compensation you deserve.
In all of the mayhem that ensues following a head-on collision, victims naturally have many questions and confusion about how to move forward. The aftermath of an accident of this magnitude can extend into every facet of a person’s life. Medical treatment and rehabilitation take front and center of your daily priorities.
Your work is likely affected, from having to miss days of work and wages, to permanent deficits in your ability to perform certain tasks. Meanwhile, medical bills begin to pile up and the phone rings with requests for more information and statements surrounding the head-on accident, as well as decisions related to pending insurance claims.
The weeks and months following a head-on collision are a painful and stressful time for victims. The ordeal can quickly become overwhelming for victims and their loved ones. As hard as it is to take on another thing in all of the disarray, it is important for victims to understand their legal rights and how they can pursue the compensation they need to move on. Understanding what you can expect after a head-on collision can help you ensure you take the right steps to protect yourself as you recover medically and financially after a head-on collision.
Head-on Collisions Often End in Fatalities
Nearly 30 percent of motor vehicle collision fatalities are attributed to head-on collisions, amounting to almost 5,000 individual deaths in a given year on the roadways of the United States. Those who experience or witness these accidents shouldn’t be surprised. A head-on collision combines the forces of two massive metal machines right up against one another, compounding the impacts on the vehicles and passengers involved. It is very difficult to endure any kind of motor vehicle collision unscathed. When it comes to head-on collisions in particular, fatalities are a too common outcome.
Why Are Head-on Collisions One of the Most Dangerous Car Accidents?
Several elements contribute to the severity of a head-on collision. A head-on collision happens when two vehicles collide with one another while traveling in opposite directions. The impact and force of this type of crash focus on the front end of both vehicles involved.
There is no minor head-on crash; even accidents that occur at lower rates of speed between 20 to 30mph can still result in violent crashes causing injuries to drivers and passengers. The amount of power exerted between both competing forces of the vehicles is a recipe for disaster. While motor vehicles over time have developed safer design elements and features to protect occupants, there are still many head-on collisions that leave little chance of survival.
Factors that contribute to the dangers of a head-on collision include:
- Speed. One factor that determines the level of destruction in a head-on collision is the speed at which the vehicles were traveling on impact. Even at lower speeds, significant damage can occur; but as the speed increases, the damage and risk of injuries also increase exponentially.
- Airbag deployment. Airbags are a safety feature invented to reduce fatalities of drivers and passengers in moderate to severe accidents. However, this safety feature can also take a toll on a human body and contribute to additional injuries upon deployment to areas such as the head, neck, and spine. A head-on collision is exactly the type of accident an airbag is intended for, and airbags will, absent a defect, deploy in collisions from 10 miles per hour to 16 miles per hour and up.
- Size of vehicles involved. In any U.S. town or city, you will find large shipping trucks, work trucks, SUVs, and smaller passenger vehicles sharing the roadways. When a front impact collision occurs, the disparity in vehicle size and weight can mean significantly more severe injuries to those occupants in the smaller vehicle. Larger and heavier vehicles exert more damage due to their weight as well as their height and sturdiness of their design.
- Road conditions. While driver error is to blame in the majority of head-on collisions, road conditions can lead to head-on collisions and may control what else happens after the initial head-on impact of the collision. Wet or icy roads can result in a vehicle traveling against other vehicles or may lead to a rollover event.
- Passenger position. The seat in which a given passenger is located can significantly impact the level of injury sustained in a head-on collision. Drivers and front-seat passengers are at risk of receiving the most severe injuries and force of the accident. Rear passengers can still suffer significant injuries but, due to having more protective framing in front of them, have better chances of making it out of a head-on collision alive and without serious injury.
- Seat belt use. Wearing a seat belt saves lives, especially in head-on collisions. Occupants who fail to wear seatbelts are often ejected from the vehicle or thrown into the seats or front windshield. On the other hand, seat belts can cause some internal damage and injuries in a head-on collision, given the pressure they exert in holding a body back, even if they ultimately save a passenger’s life.
What are the Common Causes of Head-on Collisions?
A head-on collision may occur in a variety of circumstances. More often than not, a head-on collision is the result of a negligent driver crossing into oncoming traffic.
The most common causes of head-on crashes include:
- Distracted driving
- Driving while under the influence
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Reduced visibility
- Improper or unsafe passing
- Failure to obey traffic laws and signs
What to Expect After a Head-on Collision?
If you are a survivor of a motor vehicle head-on collision, you likely face a long road to recovery from your injuries. Your most urgent medical needs must be treated before you can begin to tackle the other challenges created by the accident. Following the accident, you will gain a better understanding of the gravity of your injuries as well as the influence of those injuries on your daily life and responsibilities.
It is important to approach the time after a head-on crash with patience. You will likely face significant pain and frustration. Keeping calm, receiving treatment, and letting yourself heal is the best you can do under these difficult circumstances.
Injuries That Can Result From a Head-on Collision
The forceful impacts and energy in a head-on collision create an environment in which occupants of a vehicle are exposed to many serious dangers and risks to their health and life. A head-on collision victim’s entire body is at risk of injury. In fact, nearly half of the victims in head-on collisions will suffer fatal injuries. For those individuals who survive, some particular injuries are more common.
Common injuries in head-on collisions include:
- Brain and spinal cord injuries including TBIs and paralysis
- Injuries to internal organs
- Crush injuries
- Broken bones
Liability in a Head-on Car Collision
The forceful impact of a head-on crash will often cause the vehicles involved to move in unexpected directions or travel some distance from the initial impact before coming to a halt. The chaotic scene and the rush to help accident victims in the seconds after a crash can lead to difficulties in deciding liability in a head-on collision case. The more evidence available; whether it is through witness statements, video/photographic images, or expert testimony and recreations; the better you can determine liability.
Insurance companies can be quick to determine liability without the consideration of all the evidence available. The reality is that insurers want to resolve accident cases quickly and at minimum cost. The faster they can settle or deny a claim, the better it is for their business. This is one place in which legal representation in a head-on collision case can be invaluable, as an experienced head-on collision attorney can help protect your rights throughout deliberations with insurance companies and provide the best evidence available to evaluate fault, injuries, and due compensation.
What Damages Can You Seek in a Head-on Crash?
The severe injuries that typically follow head-on collisions are costly to your health, quality of life, and finances. There are many losses that you can suffer as the result of a head-on crash, and you must understand the extent of these losses so that you seek the full extent of compensation you need and deserve. Your recovery in a truck accident claim is not limited to your medical costs and financial impacts and losses, but may include other, less tangible impacts you suffer, such as loss of enjoyment of life.
Examples of damages in a head-on collision injury claim include:
- Medical care expenses
- Lost wages, due to missing work while recovering
- Suffering and pain related to the accident
- Possible future medical care expenses or long-term impacts to earning capacity
- Damage to your personal property, including your vehicle
- Expenses and impacts related to the wrongful death of a loved one
Should You Seek a Lawyer if You Are in a Head-on Accident?
In such a severe and catastrophic case such as a head-on collision, do seek the assistance of a head-on collision attorney as early as possible in your case. These are complicated cases in many ways, from proving liability to determining all of the impacts and injuries that you may experience going forward and for which you should be compensated. An experienced and knowledgeable head-on collision lawyer can jumpstart your efforts and leave the work of recovering compensation to an expert while you focus on recovery.
There is so much at stake for head-on collision victims. By going it alone against insurance companies and at-fault parties, victims risk losing their chance to recover fair compensation. At the time you will need to start engaging with these parties, you are more than likely still in recovery from your injuries, and the time, effort, and resources that it will take to properly protect your rights and fight for what you deserve can easily be more than you can handle.
When you hire a head-on collision lawyer, you also may save time and recover fair compensation more quickly. Cases with severe injuries can take some time to ultimately resolve. With someone knowledgeable about head-on collision cases handling your claim, you can avoid additional delays.
Of course, many head-on collision victims cannot reach out to an attorney in the hours and days after an accident. It is not uncommon for head-on collision victims to be unconscious or face surgeries and procedures to combat their injuries. If you are a loved one of a head-on collision victim that is currently incapacitated, you can contact an attorney to discuss the legal options available to ensure your loved one’s legal rights are protected during this uncertain and difficult time.
What Can You Do if You Lose a Loved One in a Head-on Collision?
Losing a loved one to a head-on collision can leave surviving family and loved ones with significant impacts of their own. The loss of a loved one in a car accident is a tragic and overwhelming time. Those who lose loved ones to head-on collisions have the right to seek justice and deserve compensation for damages they incur.
After the loss of a loved one in a head-on collision, the surviving family can seek financial compensation for expenses, including such things as burial and funeral, medical expenses incurred before death related to their car accident injuries. You should consult a car accident attorney to determine all potential expenses for which you may recover in your case.