Head-on Collisions: The Worst Crashes of Them All
A head-on motor vehicle collision occurs when the front of one vehicle collides with the front of another vehicle. Although these accidents can occur anywhere, they are especially common on two-lane highways and roadways, where there is one lane in each direction and no median strip or concrete barrier that separates the lanes.
Head-on motor vehicle collisions can also result in extremely serious injuries for everyone who is involved. This is especially true if the accident occurs when the vehicles involved are traveling at a high rate of speed. Potential injuries that accident victims may suffer in head-on motor vehicle accidents include fractures, soft tissue injuries, back and spinal cord injuries (including paralysis), and traumatic brain injuries. Head-on collisions can also result in fatalities.
Suppose you have suffered injuries in a head-on car or truck collision caused by another driver’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligence. In that case, you might be eligible to recover monetary compensation and damages to compensate you for your injuries.
Similarly, if you lost a loved one in a head-on motor vehicle collision, you might assert a wrongful death claim against the at-fault driver. In either case, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer in your jurisdiction could determine your eligibility for filing a claim or lawsuit and help you pursue the compensation the law entitles you to.
Careless and Negligent Motor Vehicle Operation
Careless and negligent operation of vehicles are common causes of head-on car collisions. When a driver gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, he or she owes a duty to all other drivers on the road. Specifically, the driver implicitly agrees to operate his or her motor vehicle in a safe, careful, and prudent matter at all times. In some cases, failing to meet this standard of care can result in a serious head-on accident.
Negligent driving typically includes violating one or more of the road rules in the jurisdiction where the accident happens. In the context of head-on collisions, negligent driving often means failing to use a turn signal, speeding, failing to yield the right-of-way, passing a vehicle in a no-passing zone, or violating some other rule of the road.
When it comes to proving that another driver caused a head-on collision because of negligent driving, eyewitness accounts, and police reports can be extremely helpful.
For example, an eyewitness may testify about what he or she observed and how motor vehicle operators were driving just before the collision. An eyewitness could also describe how a driver weaved in and out of traffic—or around traffic—and grossly exceeded the speed limit just before a head-on collision. Similarly, a police report that is prepared by an investigating police officer typically includes an assessment of fault for the accident. The police report might also indicate whether the at-fault driver received a citation for reckless driving or some similar offense.
If you have suffered injuries in a head-on car collision that someone else caused, an experienced car accident attorney in your jurisdiction can investigate the circumstances on your behalf and determine whether you have a claim.
Distracted driving is another type of driver negligence that can lead to head-on collisions. Distracted driving occurs when a driver fails to pay attention to the road and pays attention to something else. Some of the most common driver distractions are cellular phones, music, tablets, other electronic devices, and even small children talking or playing in the back seat of the vehicle.
When a motor vehicle operator is distracted, he or she can make serious errors that can result in disaster. Even if the driver takes his or her eyes off the road for just a second or two, that is enough time for the driver to veer across the centerline or median strip and bring about a collision with another vehicle.
In some instances, it is easy to tell when a driver is distracted under the circumstances. For example, just before the collision, the accident victim might have noticed the at-fault driver looking down or having his or her head turned. In those instances, you should report your observations to the police officer who investigates the accident.
If you have suffered injuries in a head-on motor vehicle collision that you believe was caused by distracted driving, an experienced attorney could help you investigate the circumstances and pursue the compensation that you need.
Drunk and Drugged Driving
One other potential cause of a head-on motor vehicle collision is drugged or intoxicated driving. When an individual operates a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, it is much more likely that he or she will cause a collision. Alcohol, for example, can severely depress a driver’s central nervous system (CNS) functioning and slow it down considerably. When a motor vehicle driver is under the influence of alcohol, his or her vision might also become blurred, and the driver cannot see straight.
In addition to blurred vision, the motor vehicle driver might suffer from delayed reaction time. As a result, he or she cannot stop the vehicle in time to avoid a collision. In some instances, the impaired driver’s blurred vision might cause him or her to cross over the centerline of the road. After that point, it is often too late, and the driver cannot stop quickly enough to avoid impact with another vehicle or pedestrian.
If you believe alcohol played a part in your head-on motor vehicle accident, you should immediately report your suspicions to the responding police officer. The police officer may conduct sobriety testing to determine whether the other driver is, in fact, intoxicated. In addition, the police report will typically describe the circumstances of the accident, how it occurred, and who was likely at fault. Moreover, if the police officer arrested the at-fault driver for DUI or intoxicated/impaired driving, the report will note that fact. Therefore, if the at-fault driver’s insurance company disputes alcohol intoxication, the police report will serve as sufficient evidence to the contrary.
An experienced car accident attorney in your jurisdiction can assist you with proving all of the legal elements of your case and recovering monetary compensation.
Proving that the Driver Who Caused Your Head-on Collision Was Negligent
To recover monetary compensation in your head-on motor vehicle collision case, you, as the plaintiff, have the legal burden of proof. This means that you must satisfy all of the legal elements of your claim or lawsuit to prevail. You must prove that the at-fault driver violated a duty of care by behaving in a reckless, negligent, or careless manner under the circumstances. In other words, the at-fault driver must have acted unreasonably in some way.
In addition to proving that the at-fault driver violated the prevailing duty of care, the accident victim must show that this breach resulted in various injuries and damages.
You can rely on various pieces of evidence and documentation to prove these elements. For example, you could introduce the evidence of eyewitnesses who observed the head-on collision firsthand—either bystanders or passengers in the vehicle. In addition, you could then introduce various pieces of documentary evidence to prove his or her case. For example, you could submit a copy of the police report along with copies of his or her medical reports, medical bills, and loss wage documentation.
In motor vehicle accident cases that involve head-on collisions, property damage photographs can also serve as evidence. Since head-on collisions typically involve a tremendous amount of property damage, insurance companies tend to automatically assume that the accident victims were likely injured very seriously.
Finally, when it comes to proving the legal elements of your motor vehicle accident claim or lawsuit, pictures of injuries you took soon after the accident can be very helpful. These photographs often present a graphic image of the nature and extent of your injuries and could convince the insurance company that you deserve to be compensated fully and fairly for those injuries.
If you have suffered one or more injuries in a head-on car collision, a knowledgeable car accident attorney in your jurisdiction can help you prove the legal elements of your claim. In addition, your attorney will do everything possible to ensure that you are fully and fairly compensated for the injuries you suffered through no fault of your own.
Filing a Legal Claim Against the At-Fault Driver in Your Accident
Most jurisdictions throughout the country are at-fault states. This means that if you can demonstrate that another driver’s negligence caused your head-on collision, you could file a claim against that driver’s motor vehicle insurance company, seeking monetary compensation for your injuries. A claim typically begins by submitting a settlement demand letter and making a monetary demand for settlement. If you suffered extremely serious injuries in the accident, that demand might very well be for the full limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage.
Along with the demand letter, accident victims typically include copies of the relevant documentation mentioned above, including the police report, medical records and bills, lost wage documentation, and photographs. In the case of a head-on collision where the accident victim suffered an extremely serious or permanent injury, the accident victim might also wish to include a victim impact statement as part of the demand package. The victim impact statement describes the overall effect that the head-on collision and the resulting injuries had on the accident victim’s life.
Once the insurance company receives the demand, an adjuster will typically be assigned to handle the case. The adjuster will go through all of the documentation, evaluate the case, and likely make an initial offer to settle the case—assuming they have conceded liability. However, you should be cautious accepting an initial settlement offer from an insurance company since these offers are routinely very low and do not adequately compensate accident victims for their injuries.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney in your area could prepare the demand package on your behalf and negotiate with the insurance company adjuster—to see if a favorable resolution is within reach. If not, you and your lawyer could file a lawsuit in the state court system against the at-fault driver, seeking the compensation you deserve.
Pursuing Monetary Recovery for Your Injuries
Victims of head-on motor vehicle collisions often have to endure severe and painful injuries, along with a significant amount of expensive and long-term medical treatment. When a head-on collision occurs because of some other driver’s negligence, the accident victim deserves to obtain compensation for all of his or her injuries and other consequences of the accident.
As part of a car accident claim, an accident victim could seek recovery for all of his or her medical bills,
surgical costs, and physical therapy expenses, along with other types of treatment. For this treatment to be compensable, it must relate to the accident and the injuries that the accident victim sustained therein. In addition, if the accident victim lost work time because of his or her injuries, the accident victim could claim lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity.
Accident victims who suffer injuries in a head-on collision can also pursue monetary recovery for their non-economic losses, including emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and inconvenience. Accident victims who suffer permanent and debilitating injuries could also claim loss of the ability to use a body part and/or loss of life enjoyment as well any future losses.
An experienced car accident lawyer in your area can determine what damages you are eligible to pursue in your head-on car accident case. Your lawyer can then pursue a claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver on your behalf and work to help you recover the damages you need.