It may only take a fraction of a second for a car accident to occur, but the effects can last a lifetime. Head-on collisions, which are the most common types of car accidents, can result in more serious injuries and even death than any other auto accident. One of the great fears that motorists have is the thought of coming around the corner and bumping into another motorist who has entered the wrong lane. When two vehicles moving towards each other collide, the speed impact is doubled. For instance, if a car and a bus are each going at 55 miles per hour and a head-on collision occurs, the impact speed would be equivalent to 110 m.p.h. This is largely a matter of physics.
Even when drivers and passengers wear seat belts and air bags deploy, head-on collisions may still result in traumatic brain injuries, paralysis or wrongful death. The recovery process for people who survive head-on collisions is often lengthy and expensive, making maximum compensation necessary for continuing care.
When such a tragedy occurs, it can render you and loved ones with pain and suffering and massive expenditures on treatment. In such a situation who can you turn to for the help that you and your family members need? In the greater Los Angeles area, you can turn to Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney for personal injury representation focused on seeking justice for you. You can call us today at 424-231-2013 or fill out an online contact form to schedule a free consultation.
California Law on Head-On Collisions
California Vehicle Code 21751 states that a vehicle should not be driven to the left center of a dividing line on a two-lane highway unless there is free oncoming traffic and sufficient distance to overtake a slow moving vehicle without interfering with vehicles from the opposite direction. Under California Vehicle Code 21752, the law prohibits outright traveling on the left of center in the following conditions:
- While approaching a bridge or tunnel where visibility is obscured.
- When approaching the crest of a grade or curve
- Within 100 feet of approaching an intersection or railroad crossing
Common Causes of Head-on Collisions
Typically, head-on collisions take place on roads that have no divider median or when a vehicle crosses a centerline or median and gets into oncoming traffic. In some cases, the initial movement will cause the crash while in others the crash occurs when the driver attempts to regain control of the vehicle. The vast majority of head-on crashes are caused by the negligence of a driver. Some of the common driving behavior that leads to head-on collisions includes:
- Distracted driving: This is the leading cause of head-on collisions in Los Angeles. People have become phone addicts and this not only puts their lives at risk but also the lives of all other individuals on the road at that time. While you are driving, avoid making calls, texting or even checking your phone. Other forms of distracted driving include eating, listening to loud music, smoking, grooming and applying makeup, reaching for objects in the vehicle and talking to other passengers in the vehicle.
- Drunk driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotic substances is one of the most dangerous causes of head-on car crashes in Los Angeles and is the most deadly. This is due to the fact that a person’s judgment is impaired and they fail to yield to oncoming traffic. If you know that you have had something to drink, consider taking a taxi or having a sober friend drive you. DUI is surely not worth the risk.
- Speeding: Driving at a speed that exceeds the legal limits can lead to a fatal crash. Most people are tempted to push the speed limit when running late. High speed decreases the stopping distance between cars. In short, driving at a high speed decreases your time to prevent an accident from happening. Always resist the urge of speeding and if by any chance an oncoming vehicle is headed your way, you will be able to control your car.
- Driver fatigue/ falling asleep at the wheel: It is unfortunate that there are drivers who decide to sit behind the wheel when they know perfectly well that they are extremely fatigued or sleepy. In such a situation, it is for the mind to switch off or for someone to sleep while driving. If you are asleep, it is easy to cross over to the other lane and bump into an oncoming vehicle.
There are also other causes of head-on crashes that are non-driver related. These include:
- Improperly maintained roads that make it difficult to maintain traction or stop in hazardous times
- Bad weather conditions such as rain, fog, and snow which make roadways slippery and impairs visibility
- Poorly maintained mechanical parts of a vehicle such as the brake system or tires
Common Head-on Collision Injuries
The type and severity of injuries sustained by vehicle occupants in a head-on collision is determined by different factors which include:
- Did the car have airbags?
- Were the vehicle occupants wearing seat belts?
- Was it a high-speed or low-speed collision?
- Were the occupants head facing straight ahead or in a certain direction
Injuries caused by head-on collisions can be classified into two wide categories and these include impact injuries and penetrating injuries. The former occur when the individual’s body hits a part of the car such as the head hitting the window or steering wheel. The latter on the other hand are as a result of shattering glass or sharp parts torn away from the body of the car. This typically results in cuts and scrapes which can be mild or severe.
When a head-on accident occurs, there is a high chance that the driver might get ejected from the car which could lead to death. This is especially true for drivers of older vehicles which are not equipped with airbags to protect against a fatal injury. Some of the most common injuries that victims of head-on car crashes sustain include:
- Head and traumatic brain injuries
Drivers in high-speed head-on collisions can suffer severe head injuries if they hit heads against the dashboard, steering wheel, or window. Such injuries may also result from piercing to the head caused by broken glass or other sharp car parts. This can cause traumatic brain injuries (TBI) which can be mild or severe. Some of these injuries may heal after a few weeks while others may lead to comas and permanent cognitive problems such as loss of vision, speech, memory, concentration and emotional control. Head injuries can also lead to facial or jaw fractures which may include loss of teeth.
- Neck and back injuries
Whiplash is one of the most common car accident injuries. A head-on collision may cause an unexpected movement of the head which can cause the neck to stretch and then snap back into place because the impact has caused the car to suddenly stop. A whiplash may lead to chronic neck pain and suffering and even temporary vocal cord paralysis. It can also damage the ligaments, disks, vertebrae and even the spinal cord itself. This can cause paralysis in one or more limbs. Blunt force trauma from a head-on collision can cause broken ribs, collapsed lungs, and internal bleeding in the chest area. These kinds of injuries require immediate medical attention.
- Leg and knee injuries
When a head-on car collision occurs, the other car smashes into the front part of the car. This is where the legs are and for that reason, there is a high chance for severe leg and knee injuries to occur. Such a collision can result in wounds that range from bruises to a fracture or even multiple bone fractures. Knees are also susceptible to be twisted or turned abruptly which can tear cartilage in the knee. The feet, toes, and ankles can be strained of fractured.
- Emotional problems
Apart from the physical injuries, a head-on crash can also affect the victim and their families emotionally. A victim may suffer depression if their lives are irreversibly changed severe and permanent injuries. The emotional trauma can also be as a result of steep medical bills and rehabilitation costs.
Victims of a head-on crash will need immediate and continued medical attention. Whatever your injury, Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can offer valuable assistance at this difficult time. We will offer legal guidance to get the much needed support for your damages.
Remember that some of these injuries are not readily evident after the collision. It can even take days, weeks, or months for symptoms to show. Therefore, if you have been involved in a head-on car accident, you should seek medical attention even for the slightest discomfort or indications of an injury. Some of these injuries that do not show immediately may heal in days while others could result in physical disability.
Winning Your Case
To win your case against the driver responsible for the collision and your injuries, you must be able to prove that negligence occurred. In other words, you need to provide strong evidence. At Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney, our resourceful lawyers know how to build claims through strategy and investigation. We can help acquire evidence required for your case by:
- Consulting with relevant professionals including medical experts and accident reconstruction specialists
- Getting police and medical reports
- Obtaining statements from witnesses
Memories may fade and documented reports may be misplaced. You don’t want to be in this situation which can happen if you wait for too long to file your claim. Therefore, it is really important to get started on filing your claim as soon as possible to avoid losing out on the much needed monetary compensation.
Liability for Head-on Collisions
The fault of a head-on collision in California is traced to the driver in the wrong lane, traveling in the wrong direction, or the driver who swerves their car in front of another car, truck vehicle in the correct lane causing a head-on collision. If you are a victim of an accident caused by such a driver, call 911 to get police assistance and immediate medical attention. Moreover, be sure that a police report (traffic collision report) is compiled.
In some cases, it may be difficult to determine the liable party from the accident scene and this, therefore, requires the expertise of an accident reconstruction expert. As a driver, you must always look out for other vehicles and follow all the traffic laws. Always use caution and be sure to use a vehicle that functions properly.
Getting Compensation for Head-On Collision Injuries
A head-on collision can have adverse effects on the victim and their loved ones. However, you can file a claim and get compensation for the medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, lost wages, disfigurement, rehabilitation, and life care expenses. Your compensation can be through the following channels:
- Directly file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver
- File a claim through the at-fault driver’s insurance company
- File a claim under your own insurance claim
Head-on Collision Statistics
Head-on collisions occur much more frequently in rural areas because drivers have more open space and less restriction. Head-on collisions contribute to only 2% of annual car accidents in the United States but 10% of all fatal crashes every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), head-on collisions comprise of up to 13% of rural fatal vehicle crashes and less than 7% of urban roadway fatalities.
The Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney can help you understand your options and advise you on the best course of action before accepting a settlement or making any legal decisions. The insurance companies only want to increase their profits and to limit or even deny your claim. We're committed to helping you recover compensation for the losses sustained in a head-on collision. Please contact our law offices at 424-231-2013 to schedule a free consultation and case evaluation. We won’t ask for any money for our services until we recover a fair judgment.