Who Is at Fault in a Head-On Collision?
Head-on collisions are among the most devastating and deadly types of car accidents. When two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide frontally, the consequences can be catastrophic, but who is at fault in a head-on collision?
Determining and proving liability in the aftermath of such devastating accidents is essential, especially when it comes to seeking compensation for the injuries and damages that are necessary for head-on collision accident victims to heal.
The Houston catastrophic injury attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here to explore what happens during a head-on collision, discuss how to prove fault in head-on accidents, go through common injuries associated with severe accidents, and explain why accidents with head-on impact are often worse than regular collisions.
What happens during a head-on collision?
A head-on collision occurs when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide with the front ends of their vehicles making direct contact. These incredibly destructive kinds of accidents often result from a combination of factors, including:
- Negligence. Collisions often happen because of a driver’s negligence. Whether that is distracted driving, drunk driving, failing to yield the right of way, or drifting across centerlines that divide the directions of traffic on roads without a median.
- Road conditions. Poor road conditions caused by things like ice or rain make it more difficult to control your car and often lead to people drifting into oncoming traffic.
- Fatigue. Falling asleep at the wheel is a common cause of head-on collisions on interstate highways, and is a particular cause of concern for commercial drivers.
- Speeding. Cars careening around bends in the road or trying to make turns too quickly are common causes for a driver to lose control and collide head-on with another vehicle.
Why is knowing this important? Because determining what caused your collision will be essential to determining who is at fault.
Is a head-on collision worse than a regular collision?
What is the difference between a collision and a head-on collision? It should be noted that head-on collisions are a particularly dangerous type of collision, even when compared to similarly destructive high-speed collisions and t-bone accidents. A few reasons why this is the case are as follows.
- Force of impact. Because both vehicles in a head-on accident are traveling toward each other, the force of impact is greatly increased. Two cars traveling 30 miles per hour in opposite directions will create a lot more force than one car traveling 30 miles per hour at a stationary target.
- Limited crumple zones. Although most modern vehicles are designed with “crumple zones” to absorb the impact of accidents, many of these zones are located on the body of cars, and they will still bear the brunt of the impact when colliding head-on.
- Risk of ejection. Items and passengers have a high risk of being ejected from the vehicle in a head-on accident, which can cause particularly grievous injuries. Additionally, everything in the car that is not properly strapped down becomes a projectile when the inertia of the car stops so abruptly.
- Lack of reaction time. In many collisions, drivers have an opportunity to maneuver their vehicle or hit the brakes to reduce the potential impact of a wreck. When cars collide head-on, there is rarely any time to react or mitigate the impact in any way.
Although this isn’t always the case, head-on collisions are often much more severe than other types of car accidents and can cause permanent, irreparable damage to victim’s lives in the blink of an eye.
Common head-on collision injuries
Head-on collisions are notorious for causing severe injuries due to the immense force generated by two vehicles colliding head-on. Some of the most common injuries associated with these devastating accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). TBIs can occur when a person’s head impacts the steering wheel, dashboard, or windshield, or comes into contact with a projectile inside the car. They can range from concussions to severe brain damage with long-term consequences for the victim.
- Spinal cord injuries. The impact of a collision can lead to spinal cord injuries, which may result in paralysis or lifelong mobility issues.
- Bone fractures. The force of a collision can lead to fractures of the limbs, ribs, and pelvis, often requiring surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
- Internal organ damage. The abrupt deceleration in a head-on accident can cause internal organs to shift or rupture, leading to life-threatening injuries.
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a common neck injury in car accidents, including head-on accidents. It can result in chronic pain and reduced mobility.
- Burns. Vehicle fires can occur in severe collisions, leading to burn injuries.
- Wrongful death. Tragically, destructive collisions often result in fatalities due to the extreme forces involved.
In addition to the sometimes extreme physical injuries, head-on collisions are very likely to cause significant emotional trauma and lead to the development of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and/or anxiety.
How to prove fault in a head-on collision accident
Proving fault in a head-on collision is crucial for those seeking compensation for their injuries and losses. To establish fault for an accident with head-on impact, several pieces of evidence will come into play:
- Police reports. The first step after a collision is usually to call the police. Law enforcement officers will investigate the scene, interview witnesses, and create an accident report that can serve as valuable evidence when determining fault.
- Eyewitness testimonies. Eyewitnesses who were present at the scene can provide crucial accounts of what they observed.
- Accident reconstruction. In complex cases, accident reconstruction experts may be called upon to recreate the accident scene and analyze the factors that led to the collision.
- Traffic violations. One of the drivers involved in the collision violating traffic laws, such as running a red light or speeding, can strongly indicate fault on their part.
- Vehicle data. Modern vehicles are often equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) that collect data about the vehicle’s speed, braking, and other factors leading up to a collision.
- Driver statements. Statements made by the drivers involved in the collision can be used as evidence. Admissions of guilt or descriptions of the events leading up to the accident can often be telling — even if a driver is reticent to admit fault.
Proving fault in a head-on collision case can be complex, and it often requires the expertise of an experienced personal injury lawyer, like those at Grimes & Fertitta.
Injured in a head-on collision? Call the attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta today!
Because head-on collisions can be so uniquely devastating, it is essential that you hire an attorney with experience taking high-stakes personal injury claims to court, proving liability beyond a shadow of a doubt, and winning sizable settlements for their clients.
Whether you’re a car accident victim looking to receive compensation for your serious injuries after an accident or are a loved one looking for a Houston wrongful death lawyer to help you find justice, the head-on collision accident attorneys at Grimes & Fertitta are here for you.
In summation: what do you do for a head-on collision? How can you prove that you weren’t at fault? You call the best Houston car accident lawyer that you possibly can, like those at Grimes & Fertitta, and ask them to help fight for you.
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