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April 2017

Head-on Collisions

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Being involved in any type of car crash can leave victims both injured and frightened. This is especially true for those who are involved in head-on collisions because injuries sustained in these kinds of accidents tend to be particularly severe and in some tragic cases, can even be deadly. Although no amount of money can compensate someone for a permanent and debilitating injury or the loss of a loved one, collecting compensation from the at-fault parties can go a long way towards helping accident victims and their families begin the long road to recovery. Unfortunately, filing a claim can be difficult, especially for those who are dealing with serious injuries, so if you or loved one were recently involved in a head-on collision, it is important to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can represent your interests.

Causes of Head-on Collisions

Head-on crashes usually occur when a vehicle crosses the centerline or median and collides with an approaching car. While this can be the result of one driver’s attempt to pass another car on a two lane road, most fatal head-on collisions actually don’t occur in passing situations. Instead, these types of crashes are much more likely to occur when a driver inadvertently drifts from his or her lane into oncoming traffic. In fact, most head-on collisions involve at least one party’s negligent actions, which could include:

  • Speeding;
  • Driving while fatigued;
  • Distracted driving; and
  • Driving while intoxicated.

One of the reasons head-on collisions have such serious consequences is that the at-fault driver, due to his or her distraction, does not usually attempt to avoid the accident by braking or swerving. For this reason, head-on crashes usually occur at relatively high speeds and so cause significant damage.

Although less common, head-on collisions can also be caused by:

  • Poor weather conditions;
  • Mechanical problems; and
  • A driver’s attempt to avoid an animal or other object in the road.

Regardless of the underlying cause, head-on collisions can have devastating consequences, including catastrophic injuries.

Typical Injuries

Due to the extreme force involved in most head-on collisions, injuries sustained by occupants tend to be particularly severe and include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries, which are often the result of a person’s head coming into contact with an object in the vehicle. Sudden impacts can lead to swelling or bleeding in the brain, which if not immediately treated can cause permanent damage or death.
  • Spinal cord damage, which often occurs when fractured pieces of the vertebrae come into contact with and damage the bundle of nerves that make up the spinal cord. Spinal cord damage can have permanent consequences, including paralysis.
  • Burns caused by exploded fuel tanks can also cause significant injuries and scarring and often require victims to undergo multiple surgeries and physical therapy.
  • Severe whiplash, which is the result of a driver’s head snapping forward and backward after a sudden impact. This motion causes the muscles and ligaments in the neck to become strained or stretched, which can lead to restricted movement and chronic pain.
  • Fractures to the sternum and ribs, caused by a driver forcefully coming into contact with the steering wheel or seat belt. Broken ribs can make movement and breathing difficult and are known for taking a significant amount of time to fully heal.
  • Crushed legs and hips, which are caused by the sudden impact involved in head-on collisions, but are also often the result of a victim’s being trapped beneath the wreckage of the vehicle.
  • Internal organ damage is usually caused by a person’s torso coming into sudden contact with another object, such as a seat or dashboard and can lead to internal bleeding.

These types of catastrophic injuries are notoriously difficult and expensive to treat. Their severity also requires injured parties to take a significant amount of time off from work. Fortunately, injured parties can collect compensation for these and other expenses if they can demonstrate that another driver’s negligence contributed to or caused their accident. If successful, a plaintiff could collect some or all of the following damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future income;
  • Property damage;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Funeral and burial costs.

The last thing a person who was injured in a serious head-on collision needs to worry about is paying medical bills, which makes it especially important that these individuals seek compensation from the responsible parties.

Establishing Negligence

Unlike other types of car crashes, when a head-on collisions occurs, there is no doubt that someone was clearly at fault. However, proving that another driver was negligent can still be difficult and requires the collection of convincing evidence, such as:

  • Measurements of skid marks and gouge marks at the scene of the accident;
  • Photographs from the scene of the crash;
  • Information stored on in-vehicle technologies;
  • Video recordings of the accident;
  • Testimony from eyewitnesses;
  • Medical records;
  • The results of BAC tests;
  • The police report;
  • Photographs of the injuries sustained by the victim; and
  • Photographs of the damaged vehicle.

Collecting this type of evidence is crucial to the success of a case, so if you were injured in a head-on collision, it is critical to contact an attorney who has the resources and experience to conduct the proper investigations.

Comparative Negligence

Fortunately, even if an injured party contributed to the accident in some way, he or she will not be barred from recovery. This is because Washington follows the legal theory of comparative negligence, which means that plaintiffs can still collect compensation even when they were partly at fault in causing the accident. However, the amount that victims are able to recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

At the Khan Law Firm, we understand how stressful it is to be involved in a car accident, especially when the collision was particularly severe. For this reason, we dedicate ourselves to helping relieve our clients of some of their burdens by aggressively representing their interests, whether in settlement proceedings or in the courtroom. To learn more about your rights to compensation, please contact us today by calling 206-472-1379 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate your case.