In a head-on collision scenario, the front of one vehicle strikes the front of an oncoming vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. These accidents typically happen on dual-lane roadways with one travel lane proceeding in each direction. When drivers fail to watch the road attentively or engage in distracted or intoxicated driving, they may cause a head-on collision with another vehicle. Moreover, head-on collisions are the most common type of accident that can lead to a permanent injury or fatality.
If you recently suffered injuries in a head-on car crash, you need to speak with an experienced local car accident attorney as soon as possible to explore your legal rights and options. Your attorney can review the police report in your case or, if necessary, retain a certified accident reconstructionist to investigate your accident circumstances and file a legal claim on your behalf.
During settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives, your attorney will advocate for your legal interests and aggressively pursue the financial compensation you deserve. Moreover, if the insurance company does not compensate you fairly, your attorney can take prompt legal action by filing a lawsuit within the statute of limitations.
What are the Most Common Causes of Head-on Car Accidents?
Head-on car crashes are among the most severe and dangerous types of accidents. The dynamics of head-on collisions may result in significant injuries and fatalities due to the combined force of both vehicles’ speeds. Understanding how these accidents occur sheds light on the factors contributing to their severity.
Most head-on car accidents occur when other drivers are negligent under the circumstances. Some of the most common causes of these accidents include:
- Wrong-way driving – One common cause of head-on accidents is wrong-way driving, where one vehicle travels against the traffic flow on a one-way road or enters a highway or road through an exit ramp (often against a “do not enter” sign). Confusion, impaired or distracted driving may lead to wrong-way driving maneuvers.
- Overtaking other vehicles in designated no-passing zones – Head-on accidents may also result from drivers attempting to overtake other vehicles in designated no-passing zones. When drivers ignore road markings and attempt to pass other vehicles on curves, hills, or areas with limited visibility, the risk of a head-on collision significantly increases.
- Distracted driving – Driver distractions, including texting, talking on the phone (i.e., without using a hands-free Bluetooth device), adjusting the radio, or interacting with in-car technology, divert a driver’s attention from the road. Inattentiveness to oncoming traffic or failing to stay within the proper lane significantly increases the likelihood of a head-on traffic accident.
- Driver fatigue and inattention to the road – Fatigued or drowsy driving can mimic the effects of impaired or intoxicated driving, leading to a loss of focus and an increased likelihood of drifting into oncoming traffic. Inattention to road signs, lane markings, and traffic flow may contribute significantly to unintentional veering into opposing travel lanes – and the potential for a head-on crash.
- Impaired driving – Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction times. Impaired drivers may drift into oncoming travel lanes, increasing the risk of a head-on collision with another vehicle. DUI-related head-on crashes are often severe and result in catastrophic and sometimes fatal injuries.
If you recently sustained injuries in a head-on car crash that a negligent driver caused, a skilled car accident attorney can file a personal injury claim on your behalf and pursue the settlement compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurer.
Types of Injuries that Drivers and Passengers May Suffer in a Head-on Car Collision
Head-on car accidents, known for their severity, can lead to various injuries due to the direct impact between the front ends of two vehicles. The nature of these collisions often results in more substantial injuries compared to other types of accidents. Some of the most common injuries that victims of head-on car crashes suffer include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) – The force of a head-on car accident may cause the accident victim’s head to strike the dashboard, steering wheel, or windshield, leading to traumatic brain injuries. Concussions, contusions, and more severe TBIs (i.e., comas) can occur, affecting memory and overall cognitive function.
- Chest injuries – The impact from a head-on collision can propel the driver or passengers forward, causing chest injuries. Bruised or broken ribs, sternum fractures, and damage to internal organs like the heart and lungs are common. Seat belts and airbags provide crucial protection in an accident but can also contribute to chest injuries.
- Whiplash injuries – Despite being a common injury in rear-end collisions, whiplash can also occur in head-on accidents. The rapid back-and-forth motion of the head and neck can cause strain on the neck’s soft tissues, leading to whiplash symptoms such as neck and upper back pain, headaches, and muscular stiffness.
- Spinal cord injuries – The sudden deceleration and impact in head-on car collisions may lead to spinal cord injuries. These injuries can result in full/partial paralysis or varying degrees of impairment, depending on the severity and location of the spinal cord damage.
- Facial injuries – Facial injuries can occur when airbags deploy or when the accident victim’s body makes contact with the steering wheel or shattered glass inside the vehicle. Fractures, lacerations, and mouth, nose, and eye injuries may also occur.
- Injuries to the lower extremities – The lower limbs may sustain injuries due to the impact and intrusion of the vehicle’s structure. Bone fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries to the legs and knees are common in head-on collisions.
- Psychological trauma – Beyond the physical injuries a car accident victim suffers, head-on collisions may cause significant psychological trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety may develop, affecting the mental well-being of everyone involved in the crash.
Prompt medical attention is crucial for individuals involved in head-on collisions, even if injuries initially appear minor. Many internal injuries are not immediately evident, and a comprehensive medical evaluation increases an accident victim’s likelihood of achieving a full medical recovery.
While you concentrate on your complete recovery from injuries sustained in the accident, your car accident attorney can adeptly manage the legal components of your case. They’ll gather the necessary documents and meticulously prepare your case for a potential settlement, ensuring comprehensive representation on your behalf.
Taking a Head-on Car Accident Case to Court
Taking a head-on car accident case to court is a legal process that involves presenting evidence, making legal arguments, and seeking a resolution through a judge or jury. After a car accident, hiring an experienced personal injury attorney can significantly increase your monetary recoveries, such as mediation or arbitration; certain circumstances may lead an accident victim to litigation in the court system.
The first step in taking a car accident case to court is consulting with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after your accident. An experienced attorney can assess the strengths of your case, offer you sound legal advice, and determine whether pursuing litigation is the best course of action (as opposed to pursuing an out-of-court settlement).
If you and your attorney decide to take the case to court, your attorney will file a complaint on your behalf against the at-fault driver. The complaint outlines the legal basis for the lawsuit, including details of the accident, the injuries you sustained, and the monetary damages you seek. After filing the lawsuit, your attorney will serve the at-fault driver with a copy of the lawsuit. The at-fault driver will then refer the matter to their insurance company, which will appoint a defense attorney.
During the discovery stage of litigation, your attorney will exchange documents with the defense attorney, answer written Interrogatories, and prepare you for your discovery deposition. Your lawyer may also continue settlement negotiations with your case’s defense attorney.
If the case doesn’t settle, it will move forward to trial. During the trial, both attorneys present their evidence, and witnesses testify. A judge or jury then decides the outcome based on the presented evidence and applicable law.
Taking a head-on car accident case to court is a complex and time-consuming process, requiring careful preparation, legal experience, and a commitment to navigating the intricacies of the legal system. An experienced car accident attorney can handle every step of the process for you and work to maximize the financial compensation you receive for your car accident injuries.
Recovering Financial Compensation for Injuries in a Head-on Car Crash
Recovering monetary damages following a head-on car accident requires a strategic and well-documented approach. A skilled car accident lawyer in your area can review the facts and circumstances of your case with you and estimate your likely settlement or verdict value.
The compensation you recover will depend upon various factors, including the extent of your injuries and the total cost of your medical treatment. Common types of monetary damages include compensation for:
- Related past and future medical expenses
- Mental distress
- Lost income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Personal disability or disfigurement
- Loss of use of a body part (such as from a paralysis injury)
- Lost quality of life
- Loss of spousal consortium
- Wrongful death
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Your Area Today
Without experienced legal representation in your corner, proving the elements of a car accident claim or lawsuit can be an uphill battle. However, a knowledgeable car accident attorney can retain the professionals necessary to prove the legal elements of your claim, making you eligible to recover monetary damages. Your attorney can also represent you at all legal proceedings throughout your case and pursue the highest compensation for your injuries.
Schedule your free case evaluation with a trusted personal injury lawyer in Tulsa as soon as possible. Time is of the essence.