Head-on collisions are a rare but extremely dangerous type of car accident. Those involved often suffer catastrophic injuries that they will be dealing with for a long time. These crashes also have a high risk of fatal injuries.
Friedman, Domiano and Smith’s experienced attorneys help victims of serious crashes seek compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages they may have suffered.
Below, we have compiled a helpful overview of head-on collisions. We discuss why these crashes often happen, how fault is evaluated, evidence, the importance of hiring a lawyer and more.
If you or a loved one were injured in a head-on crash, call our Cleveland auto accident lawyers today to learn how we may be able to help you.
No upfront costs or legal obligations. Call today: 216-621-0070.
What Happens in a Head-On Collision?
Head-on collisions are also referred to as frontal collisions. These accidents occur when two vehicles heading in opposite directions crash into each other, often at high speed.
These accidents are extremely dangerous no matter what types of vehicles are involved. However, head-on collisions involving motorcycles or vehicles of different sizes are particularly risky. For example, head-on crashes between a commercial truck and a passenger vehicle often result in fatal injuries. There is a similar danger when the crash involves an SUV or large pickup truck and a motorcyclist or someone in a smaller passenger vehicle.
Catastrophic Injuries From a Head-On Crash
These are some of the injuries that often occur in head-on collisions:
- Leg injuries, especially those to the feet, ankles and legs requiring extensive surgery and possibly amputation
- Traumatic brain injuries, as vehicle occupants could suffer blunt force trauma to the head
- Internal injuries, such as ruptured organs or a punctured lung
- Spinal cord injuries, as victims could suffer blunt force trauma to the back
- Whiplash, as your head and neck can get violently whipped forward and backward
- Broken or bruised ribs
- Hip fractures
Why Do Head-On Collisions Occur?
These accidents are often the result of impaired driving – drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs cross the center line into oncoming traffic and collide with another vehicle. Drunk drivers may also drive the wrong way without realizing it and collide with an oncoming car.
Here are some of the other causes of head-on crashes:
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Drowsy driving/falling asleep while driving
- Distracted driving, which may result in turning the wrong way on a one-way street, entering an interstate highway in the wrong direction, or drifting across the center line into oncoming traffic
- Attempting to pass a vehicle on a two-lane road by driving on the wrong side of the road
Evaluating Fault For a Head-On Crash in Cleveland
Fault for a car accident is based on negligence. The driver who was negligent is at fault for the crash. He or she is also financially liable for damages that result from the crash.
The Four Elements of Negligence
To establish you are eligible to recover compensation for damages, there are four elements of negligence that your lawyer must prove:
- Existence of a duty of care – Your attorney must explain the duty of care the other motorist owed you. For example, drivers have a duty to stay on the right side of the road. They also have a duty to not drive when they are intoxicated.
- Breach of a duty of care – Your lawyer must provide evidence that the other driver breached a duty of care that was owed to you.
- Causal link between the breach of duty of care and the accident – Your lawyer must show a direct connection between the breach of a duty of care and the crash. In other words, you must show the crash would not have occurred without the breach.
- Existence of damages – Finally, your lawyer must provide evidence of the damages that resulted from the crash, such as invoices for your medical costs, employer records for lost wages, and more.
Wrong-Way Drivers Are Usually at Fault
Typically, the person who was driving the wrong way is 100 percent to blame for a head-on collision. Often, this is because the driver was distracted, drunk, drowsy or simply not paying enough attention to where he or she was going.
Drivers who traveled the wrong way on a one-way street may not have realized what they were doing until it was too late, but ignorance is not an excuse. These drivers are still liable for the crash.
Evidence For a Head-On Collision Lawsuit
While it may seem obvious who is at fault for a head-on collision, insurance companies are known for casting doubt on accidents that seem like open-and-shut cases. Your lawyer is going to need to gather detailed evidence to show what happened and why the other driver should be held liable. This may include:
- Pictures of the vehicles, particularly the front-end damage
- Pictures of where the vehicles came to rest
- Debris from the collision and its position in relation to the vehicles
- Pictures of skid marks
- Citations issued to the other driver, such as a citation for drunk driving or driving the wrong way on a one-way street
Your lawyer may also consult an accident reconstruction expert to conduct a detailed analysis of the crash. These individuals use the evidence gathered from the scene and other technology to reconstruct what happened. They also analyze crash test reports on the vehicles to explain what occurred.
Your statements about what happened also carry a lot of weight, particularly when your statements back up the evidence that has been collected.
The problem is evidence can get lost quickly, which is why it is vital to call a lawyer right away. When you call Friedman, Domiano and Smith, we can quickly determine if you have a case. If you hire our firm, we can get to work right away preserving evidence and building a case.
We can also handle communication with the insurance company. This is of vital importance because it helps protect your credibility. If you talk to the insurance company on your own, you might say something that contradicts a previous statement. You might even say something that sounds like an admission of fault without realizing it.
Injured By a Wrong-Way Driver? Contact Friedman, Domiano and Smith Today
Despite the severity of these collisions, victims cannot rely on the liable insurance company to pay full compensation for damages. Insurance companies often deny claims or give victims flimsy excuses for offering far less compensation than victims need.
You can level the legal playing field by hiring an experienced law firm. At Friedman, Domiano and Smith, we have secured millions for crash victims in Ohio, and there are no upfront costs for our services. Unlike the insurance company, our goal is to recover the compensation you need to put your life back together.
Have legal questions? Call to set up a free consultation: 216-621-0070.
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