The Head-On CollisionIn a head-on collision, two vehicles traveling in opposite directions crash into each other, and while these accidents often occur at high speeds, they can take place virtually anywhere and at any speed. Because the two vehicles throw their separate weights directly into each other, the force of the impact can double. Usually, both vehicles are seriously damaged and every occupant of both vehicles faces a significant risk of serious injuries. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that head-on impacts accounted for 54 percent of car-accident related deaths in 2016. These accidents are responsible for more driver deaths than any other kind of car crash. The amplified force associated with these accidents makes them extremely dangerous. While the impact of a head-on accident may effectively stop the two vehicles’ forward motion, the vehicles’ occupants may continue traveling onward into airbags, steering wheels, dashboards, or windshields—and they often sustain significant injuries in the process. In addition, because the vehicles’ front ends rarely collide exactly head-on, the impact may send one or both of the cars spinning or flipping, which can exacerbate occupants’ injuries, create an even more dangerous situation on the road (including additional impacts with other vehicles), and cause one or both vehicles’ airbags to fail to appropriately protect the car’s occupants, if side airbags do not deploy. Furthermore, the intense force of head-on collisions can cause glass, plastic, and metal pieces within the vehicles to become deadly flying weapons as the accident plays out. It’s difficult to overstate the deadly nature of these accidents.
Head-On Collisions: The Common InjuriesBecause cars now come with advanced safety mechanisms—including standard airbags and crumple zones in the hood, which help absorb the immense energy of head-on impacts—these accidents are no longer as likely to cause serious head and facial injuries (though such injuries remain obvious threats). While head-on collisions can lead to any number of injuries, several serious injuries are most closely associated with them: Neck injuries - While many people think that neck injuries, such as whiplash, are related to rear-end accidents, these injuries are also common to head-on crashes. Although whiplash gets a bad rap as an exaggerated or even faked injury, these extremely serious injuries may produce severe pain and heal slowly. There is absolutely nothing funny about a whiplash injury. Torso injuries - Injuries to the torso are common in head-on collisions. Such injuries can include fractured ribs, which can lead to intestine, liver, lung, or spleen damage. Such internal injuries can go undetected and thus undiagnosed, allowing them to progress into more serious health issues before treatment. Lower leg and femur injuries - Even when passengers belt themselves in and when airbags engage properly, the intense impact of a head-on collision can hurl the front passengers into the instrument panel and the knee bolsters, which can cause serious injuries to the lower extremities. Secondary injuries - The impact of a head-on collision is so intense and dangerous that it can lead to serious overarching health consequences that often include secondary injuries. Such injuries evolve out of the original injuries and can include infections. Front-end accidents are so powerful that—even if you don’t think you were seriously injured—seek immediate medical attention. Some injuries, including whiplash and internal injuries, have a way of developing with time, and prolonging treatment can exacerbate the condition. Remember that early diagnosis is important for both your health and your legal case.
Head-On Impacts and Their Common CausesNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data reveals several variables that frequently contribute to head-on collisions:
- Drivers who exceed the speed limit or who fail to moderate their speed related to road conditions, including inclement weather, damaged roadways, and road construction (speed correlates closely with head-on impacts)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Drivers who drive when exhausted
- Drivers who interact with their smartphones—or who are otherwise distracted
- Drivers who don’t adequately compensate for their unfamiliarity with the roads they’re traveling
- Reckless and negligent drivers, including drivers who disobey the rules of the road
- Aggressive drivers—and drivers who allow their aggression to morph into road rage
Distracted DriversDistracted driving has become such a growing concern that the federal government has devoted a website to the issue. Anytime a driver doesn’t focus all attention on the singular task of driving safely, that driver engages in distracted driving. Distracted driving is broken into three categories: visual distractions that engage the driver’s vision, cognitive distractions that engage the driver’s thoughts, and manual distractions that engage the driver’s hands. The smartphone’s ascent of necessity into the every-day lives of society has boosted distracted driving to previously unknown levels. These handheld devices manage to incorporate all three classifications of distraction into one dangerous activity, making the smartphone the pinnacle of distractions. Driving is no time to interface with your smartphone—not when the lives of others are at stake due to a selfie.
Your Damages in a Head-On Accident ClaimEvery car accident claim is unique, but calculating your comprehensive damages is critical to the successful and fair resolution of your claim. Serious accidents like head-on collisions often result and extensive if difficult to estimate damages. A skilled car accident attorney will endeavor to ensure that your claim adequately represents the totality of your losses. Obvious, extensive, quantifiable damages, such as your medical expenses, are likely to include:/p>
- Emergency transportation from the scene of the accident and emergency care
- Surgery and aftercare
- Appointments, treatments, and care with doctors, specialists, and therapists
- Ongoing treatments and care
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medications
- Home adaptations and adaptive medical devices
The Car Insurance CompanyMost drivers carry car insurance due to the law, and for the very purpose of covering themselves in case they ever in an accident like a head-on collision. In no way should that mean that you should rest easy and simply allow the insurance company to take care of your head-on accident claim. While you’re obligated to carry car insurance, and the insurance company is bound by federal regulations and industry standards, insurance companies are first and foremost in the business of making money for themselves. Their motivation means they will exercise whatever means are necessary to minimize any and all payouts, including yours. Suffice it to say that your just compensation is far from the insurance company’s top priority.
What Not to DoIf you were injured by another driver’s negligence in a head-on car accident, a car insurance company is going to attempt any and ALL forms of contact in order to close the case as soon as possible, to pay out as little as possible, so prepare for that eventuality. The insurance company is not your friend. You’re not obligated to provide the negligent driver’s insurance company with a statement related to the accident. In fact, it’s in your own best interests—and the best interest of your claim—not to do so. Insurance company representatives are skilled at tripping accident victims over their own stories and later using those victims’ own words to deny or diminish their claims. While you may need to provide your own insurance company with a statement, a dedicated car accident lawyer can coach you on the process. The best policy is to hire a skilled attorney to handle all communications with a claims adjuster on your behalf. Unfortunately, insurance companies aren’t known for consistent and forthright deals. The American Association of Justice published a report, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse and Refuse, which highlights exactly how low some insurance companies will go to maximize their profits. The report relays that some of the nation’s most prestigious companies pour a great deal of effort into denying claims, delaying payments, confusing claimants with insurance double-speak, and endeavoring to retroactively refuse anyone who could end up costing them money. It’s harsh but true—the insurance company is not on your side.
If a Head-On Collision Injured You, Call an Experienced Houston Car Accident LawyerHouston has so much to offer as a cultural hub, but one element of its offerings is traffic—in abundance. As such, dangerous head-on accidents happen here in Houston. The nationally recognized legal team at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, has protected the rights of car-accident victims for more than 20 years, and we’re here to help you. Please contact or call us right now at 800-898-4877 to schedule an evaluation of your case. Don't Take Chances - Let Us Help You!
See what past clients have to say:
Review: 5/5 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"As a relatively new resident of Houston, I did not know of an attorney to contact for a personal injury suit. I randomly went through the yellow pages contacting two attorneys that had rejected my case prior to me contacting Stewart Guss. Stewart took my case on and settled for far more than I had anticipated. The silver lining of this is that I will now have enough money to go back to school for retraining, so I will be able to reenter the workforce in a new capacity. The paralegal, Angela, was kind and supportive throughout the process. If I did not understand the legal jargon, I did not hesitate to ask, and was never once made to feel that I was incompetent. Thank you Stewart and Angela for giving me a new lease on life." -Sally T.