All car accidents are scary, but a head-on collision can be especially traumatic. The split-second realization that it can’t be avoided, the direct crash, and the pain of impact can cause long-lasting physical and emotional injuries. In 2017, there were more than 82,000 head-on collisions across the U.S. that resulted in death or injury.
Common Causes of Head-on Collisions
While most accidents are caused by driver error, there are a variety of factors that contribute to a head-on collision. Some of the most common causes include:
- Traffic flow confusion. Traveling in the wrong direction on a one-way road, whether due to poor signage, GPS failure, or simple confusion, creates a serious risk for a head-on collision.
- Improper passing. Passing, especially on two-lane roads, should be done with caution. Failure to adhere to the proper passing guidelines can result in a dangerous crash.
- Narrow roadway. Narrow roadways or those with tight, sharp turns can be difficult to navigate, particularly for inexperienced drivers and those traveling too fast for road conditions.
- Impaired driving. Impaired drivers are more likely to drift out of their lane, miss road signage, and lack the general attentiveness necessary to drive safely.
- Distracted driving. Similar to impaired drivers, distracted drivers may miss important changes in road conditions and fail to stay in their own lane, which can lead to a head-on collision.
- Defective parts. Defective brakes, tires, or steering functions may make it impossible for a driver to keep his vehicle in its proper place on the road. In those cases, the vehicle or parts manufacturer may be held accountable for selling dangerous products.
- Road hazards. Debris on the road, large potholes, animals, and other hazards may cause a driver to swerve suddenly. Swerving into oncoming traffic could cause a head-on collision.
Serious Injuries Can Result From a Head-on Collision
In any car crash, the force of the impact can cause irreparable damage to a vehicle and seriously injure those inside, and this is especially true for head-on collisions. The vehicles collide in such a direct manner, there is no way to mitigate the impact. While those involved in a sideswipe accident, for example, may be able to avoid some of the force of the crash, the forces of both cars act directly upon one another in a head-on collision. Some of the most common injuries in these accidents include:
- Bone fractures. Broken bones are often caused by the pressure from the seatbelt in a frontal crash. They can also be the result of other points of impact in the vehicle.
- Pneumothorax. A pneumothorax is a collapsed lung, caused when air leaks into the space between the lung and the chest wall and pushes on the lung. Blunt force to the chest from the seatbelt, steering wheel, or other object is a common cause of a pneumothorax.
- Lacerations. Cuts from broken windows and flying debris often occur.
- Burns. Burns can result from both the release of vehicle airbags as they strike the skin and from the heat generated by the crash itself.
- Traumatic brain injury. During a crash, the head can be whipped forward or to the side violently, resulting in a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Concussions are one common TBI and can cause serious and sometimes long-lasting physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.
- Spine injury. The force of a car crash can compress, fracture, or dislocate one or more vertebrae along the spinal cord. These injuries can cause symptoms ranging from weakness to total paralysis, and auto accidents are the leading cause of spine injuries.
What to Do After a Head-on Collision
If you or someone you love suffered injuries in a head-on collision, it’s important to seek medical help as soon as possible. In some cases, injuries may not be apparent, or the extent of your injuries may be unknown. Only a medical professional can assess your situation and ensure that the appropriate measures are taken to safeguard your health.
Additionally, it’s important to retain as much information as possible about the accident and the scene. Call the police to file an official report, take photos of the scene and vehicles involved, and speak to witnesses and retain their information.
Holding at-Fault Drivers Responsible
The rules about fault are extremely strict, so it’s best to have as much information as possible to hold the at-fault party accountable. While legal action cannot undo the pain and damage that has been done, it can force the driver responsible for your injuries to cover any costs associated with the crash. This can include compensation for:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Future medical care
- Future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our dedicated lawyers have helped head-on collision victims and their families understand their rights and obtain the compensation they needed to recover as fully as possible. Our legal team understands what a difficult time this can be, and we work hard to provide compassionate, effective legal representation, so our clients can focus on what really matters—their recovery and return to normal life.
Get in touch with our team today. Call our Mobile office, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page. We can answer your questions and help you decide how best to move forward.