Head-on crashes are viewed as the most serious of all vehicle accidents. Even though only two of every 100 car wrecks are head-on collisions, they produce more than 10 percent of all car accident fatalities. They don’t have to be at highway speeds to be catastrophic. If two cars going 30 mph collide head on, that’s the equivalent of 60 mph of impact force. This alone explains why those who survive a head-on crash can easily incur astronomical medical bills for emergency, surgical, and post-operative care, as well as therapy, prescription medicines, and more. Head-on accident victims often can’t work for a long time as their recovery may be very slow.
Common Causes of Head-On Collisions and the Injuries They Produce
Head-on collisions usually happen in the blink of an eye. All it takes is one slip-up.
- Driver fatigue – Long-haul truckers, night-shift workers, and other sleep-deprived people have diminished reflexes if they must suddenly react to a situation on the road; more than that, they can fall asleep at the wheel and cause a calamitous head-on collision..
- Distracted drivers – Cell phones, in-vehicle infotainment systems, eating food, smoking, or daydreaming can draw a driver’s attention away from the road long enough to drift into your lane.
- Older drivers – Their reflexes are slower; it’s easier for them to become disoriented. Elderly drivers can suddenly appear before you, heading in the wrong direction on the highway or freeway ramp.
- Driver intoxication – This is by far the No. 1 cause of tragic head-on car wrecks. An intoxicated driver’s reflexes are significantly impaired, as is the ability to judge distance and direction.
- Poor road conditions – Large potholes, poor (or non-existent) lighting and degraded lane dividers can cause drivers to lose their bearings – especially at night – and veer into oncoming traffic.
Injuries that arise from a head-on vehicle wreck are more serious because the g-forces generated by two vehicles which violently meet in opposition can multiply exponentially. Here are some of the injuries that can occur:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) – While concussions are practically a given in head-on collisions, but collapsing windshield or some other flying object can cause serious, sometimes fatal, head wounds.
- Neck back and spine – Violent movements of the head and neck can cause serious whiplash, or even paralysis, especially if the body is pulled in several directions at once, but within a vehicle restraint system.
- Broken facial bones – These injuries can accompany head trauma caused by the upper body’s being severely struck by flying residue from a grinding head-on wreck, or even from front or side airbags.
- Chest and thoracic trauma – Most often this is caused by the very vehicle restraint systems we rely on to protect us, as the body is jerked around by the terrifying forces of the accident itself
- Broken bones – When a vehicle collapses due to a head-on crash, especially when one vehicle is significantly larger than the other, arms and legs can snap like twigs and leave a body truly broken.
- Wrongful death – Too often, any or a combination of the above types of injuries can lead to an untimely death for the victim of a head-on accident.
Filing a Claim for Damages
When preparing your claim, it’s important for your attorney to address any possibility that your actions caused or contributed to the collision. Texas is a Contributory Negligence state, which means that both parties might share responsibility for the wreck. If you were 20 percent responsible, you cannot collect more than 80 percent of the damages you seek. Your lawyer – through his investigation, coupled with law enforcement’s parallel criminal investigation – helps determine the applicable percentage..
The at-fault driver’s insurer also does everything possible to mitigate your claim by trying to pin as much (or all) of the blame on you. If a loved one suffered a wrongful death at the hands of this negligent driver, the monetary value of the claim dramatically rises, producing a more aggressive stance by the at-fault driver’s insurer. So having an attorney with experience at investigation AND working with law enforcement to determine the truth of what happened is a powerful force on your behalf.
After such a traumatic head-on accident, it is in your best interests to retain seasoned legal counsel to represent your claim — one who understands the tricks an insurance company will use to avoid paying the full and rightful damages owed you.
If you or a loved one has been in a Texas head-on collision, our Houston car wreck attorneys are ready to help you. Contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law today to schedule a free initial consultation about how to protect your right to compensation for your losses..