All kinds of car accidents are dangerous, but head-on collisions are particularly risky. A direct, head-to-head crash concentrates the maximum amount of kinetic energy and momentum into the collision. This drastically increases the chance of injury for all parties. Accordingly, it is important to understand why head-on collisions occur, what injuries are likely after a crash, and how to protect your rights and recovery if you’ve been hurt, or if you’ve lost a loved one, in a head-on accident.
Why Head-on Collisions Happen
Head-on collisions can occur for any reason that any other crash may occur. However, some of the common causes of head-on collisions include:
- Impaired driving: Alcohol and drugs are often cited as a contributing cause for head-on crashes. Alcohol use rises in the afternoon and evening hours, which increases the chance of nighttime disorientation causing a driver to enter a lane of oncoming traffic. Alcohol’s ability to impair driving judgment is greatly intensified by certain over-the-counter medications. Drivers should not get behind the wheel if they are impaired by drugs or alcohol.
- Fatigue: In many cases, the driver causing the accident was drowsy or actually fell asleep at the wheel. The monotony of driving after dark can lull a driver into a semi-hypnotic state. Obviously, the best solution to this is for a driver never to drive when he is feeling tired. Instead, a driver should leave the road and find a place to sleep. Other strategies for fighting off sleepiness, such as opening windows or turning up the radio, have been proven ineffective.
- Fog or snow: Surprisingly few head-on crashes cite weather conditions as a crucial factor. However, bad weather that limits visibility could cause an accident.
- Distracted driving: Cell phones, electronic gadgets, eating, drinking, daydreaming, and other distractions take a driver’s mind off driving safely, a driver’s hands off the wheel, and a driver’s eyes off the road.
- Confusion over one-way roads. Poor signage indicating that a road is one way, or the failure of a GPS to warn a driver about a one way road can result in a serious head-on crash.
- Other issues, such as debris in the road that causes a driver to swerve into another lane, can also result in a head-on accident.
Common Injuries Caused by Head-on Collisions
Regardless of the cause of the head-on car crash, serious injuries can result. Some of the common injuries sustained by drivers and passengers in a head-on collision include:
- Neck injuries. When the force of a head-on collision suddenly impacts the vehicle and whipping the body forward and to a sudden halt, it can often lead to severe neck injuries.
- Head injuries. Even with the proper deployment of an airbag, serious head injuries during a head-on collision are common.
- Cuts and bruises. Shattered glass and crushed metal and plastic commonly occur in head-on collisions. When shrapnel comes in contact with the driver or passengers, cuts and bruises are the usual consequences.
- Death. A very unfortunate attribute of head-on collisions is their high death rate. Although they only account for a small percentage of accidents, head-on crashes account for a significant percentage of car accident deaths.
In December 2012, the National Transpiration Safety Board (NTSB) issued an important special report. According to that report, there were 1,566 wrong-way fatal crashes in the United States between 2004 and 2009. Those accidents resulted in 2,139 deaths. Many thousands more were injured.
How to Protect Your Rights If You’ve Been Hurt in a Head-on Crash
If you have been hurt or if you have lost a loved one in a head-on collision, then you are going to have to collect the necessary evidence and advocate for own fair recovery. If someone else caused the crash, then you may be able to recover for…
- Past, current, and future medical expenses.
- Past, current and future lost income.
- Out-of-pocket expenses, including any funeral costs.
- Physical pain and emotional suffering.
The insurance company may fight back and try to minimize the amount that it pays you for the accident injuries. Accordingly, it is important to be prepared and to contact an experienced head-on collision injury lawyer as soon as possible so that you can be sure that your rights—and your recovery—are protected. For more information, please fill out our online contact form on this page today.