Head-on collisions are some of the deadliest and most terrifying accidents possible. When two vehicles hit each other head on at highway speeds, the combined impact can take place at over 100 miles per hour. This impact unleashes forces that can crumple cars like an accordion, destroying both vehicles and having a high possibility of killing both drivers.
Head-on collisions are fairly rare, but they are some of the deadliest accidents there are. In fact, the only type of accident with a higher fatality rate is a roll-over accident. With a high degree of lethality, head-on collisions also leave some of the most visible and disturbing wreckage of any type of accident. It’s no wonder that head-on collisions are the most feared of all collisions.
If you or a loved one has suffered injury or death as a result of a head-on collision, the first thing to do is make sure everyone gets adequate medical care. These accidents can lead to serious injuries even when they are not fatal, so there is no time to lose. Once you’ve taken care of your medical needs, consider talking to a trusted attorney. You may be entitled to a personal injury claim, so contact an attorney to see if you have a case.
Causes of Head-On Collisions
Head-on collisions can generally be traced to a fairly narrow range of causes. Of course, every accident is different, but here are some of the most common causes of head-on collisions:
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street (known as a wrong-way accident)
- Crossing the center line into oncoming traffic
- Passing incorrectly on a two-lane road
- Falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into oncoming traffic
- Speeding, either too fast for conditions or over the posted limit
- Impairment on account of drugs or alcohol
- Distracted driving, often as a result of cell phone use, including texting while driving.
In many cases, the fault for the accident can be attributed to one of the drivers fairly easily. Obviously, the fault for a wrong-way accident will almost always go to the driver who was going the wrong way. In other cases things can be a little more confused, though, so the court may have to determine fault.
Common Injuries and Consequences of Head-On Collisions
Head-on collisions are frequently fatal. So as you’d expect, they also lead to some of the most severe injuries even when they aren’t fatal. A few of the most common injuries experienced in head-on collisions include injuries to the head, broken bones, contusions, concussions, bruises, cuts, and organ damage.
Head-on collisions can also lead to instances of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While any accident has the potential to lead to PTSD, head-on accidents are particularly likely to, on account of their “dramatic” nature. People who suffer from PTSD may experience flashbacks, nightmares about the accident, persistent anxiety or depression, avoiding anything that reminds them of the accident, and difficulty sleeping. PTSD sufferers also often have difficulty concentrating. These symptoms may go away in time, or they may be something an individual has to learn to live with.
The Numbers on Head-On Collisions
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found that between 2004 and 2009, there were a total of 1,566 fatal head-on collisions in the United States. In those crashes, 2,139 people died. The NTSB found that 10 percent of all car accident fatalities during that period came from head-on collisions, even though head-on collisions constitute only 2 percent of accidents.
Head-on collisions occur more often in rural than in urban areas—in rural areas, head-on collisions account for 14 percent of fatalities, while in urban areas they account for 7 percent. Rural drivers are more likely to be in a head-on collision, and these accidents are more likely to be fatal in rural areas.
Head-on collisions lead to far too many deaths and injuries on Georgia’s roads. Individuals who experience these kinds of accidents often suffer serious physical and psychological problems as a result of the incident.
What to Do if You’ve Been Injured
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, you should first seek medical attention. You should also make sure you contact authorities. If your injuries were the result of neglect by another party, you should seek legal assistance. The Stoddard Firm has years of experience handling accident injuries, and we even offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Call us at 678-RESULTS.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I have to go to court?
Not necessarily. Many wrongful death and personal injury cases are settled before they go to court. However, it is our experience that the most successful cases are built as if they are going to court. Our firm prepares every case to go all the way to trial, even if it is ultimately resolved before the trial starts.
Why is an attorney important in a personal injury case?
Personal injury law can be complex, and filing a successful claim can require a great deal of time, effort and experience. A lawsuit often involves several other parties, including defendants, insurance companies and other attorneys. There are also many procedural rules that must be followed. Having experienced, skilled legal representation maximizes your chances of success.
How do I pick the right attorney?
You’ll want to look for several qualities when choosing who will represent you. Your attorney should meet with you instead of sending an investigator, and he/she should be available throughout the process instead of having you consistently talk to a legal assistant. Your attorney should have a low number of cases so he/she can devote significant time to you and your case. Your attorney should have experience handling cases with facts similar to yours, and your attorney should have a proven track record with similar claims. Your attorney should also be able to devote significant money to your case so that he/she can hire experts, travel the country finding witnesses, and depose whomever is necessary to achieve justice. It’s also important to make sure your attorney is the right fit on a personal level, which is why you should take advantage of a free consultation.
How much time do I have to file a lawsuit?
There is a time limit on how long a person has after an injury to begin a lawsuit. This window is called a statute of limitations. For most personal injury cases in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the time the injury was suffered. However, there are exceptions and subtleties that might change the amount of time you are afforded. Sometimes the period can be as short as 6 months, and other times it can be much longer than two years. Determining the statute of limitations requires a detailed analysis of the facts of your case.
What do I need to bring with me to the consultation?
For your free consultation, bring all relevant documents that you’ve collected regarding your case. If there are police reports, bills or correspondence from insurance companies, you’ll want to bring those items to the consultation so an attorney can learn as much about your case as possible.