Head-on accidents occur when two drivers collide straight on from the front. They are among the most dangerous types of crashes. This is because this type of collision doubles the force, so that if each car is traveling at 40 mph, this is the equivalent of a crash at 80 mph.
If you were the victim of a head-on collision through no fault of your own, or if you have lost a loved one to one of these crashes, you should contact a lawyer. You need to make sure your rights are fully protected, including your right to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered. Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., can help you. We have a long record of working with injured victims and their families in Chicago and throughout Illinois.
How Do Head-on Collisions Occur?
Head-on accidents are commonly called “lane-departure” or “road-departure” accidents. A number of different types of behaviors can cause drivers to leave their lanes and veer into oncoming traffic. Some of the top causes of these car accidents include:
- Losing control around a curve – Transportation.org estimates that 23 percent of fatal head-on car wrecks happen when a driver takes a curve too fast or otherwise loses control of the vehicle on a curve.
- Unsafe passing – According to Transportation.org, 4.2 percent of fatal head-on crashes occur when a driver tries to pass on an undivided two-lane roadway.
- Distracted driving – Drivers who aren’t paying attention because they are focused on their cell phones or other distractions can swerve or drift out of their lanes. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 18 percent of all injury-producing traffic accidents in 2010 occurred as a result of a distracted driver. The NHTSA also says that drivers who are using a hand-held device is between four and 23 times as likely to get into a crash, depending upon whether they are talking or texting.
- Drowsy driving – A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study found that 4.2 percent of more than 147,000 surveyed drivers had fallen asleep behind the wheel at least once in the prior 30 days. A dozing driver can easily cross into oncoming traffic.
- Drunk driving – According to the 2013 DUI Fact Book, there were 323 drunk driving fatalities in 2011 in Illinois. Drunk driving crashes made up 35 percent of all fatal accidents over the course of the year. Drunk drivers frequently cross into the wrong lane of traffic as they swerve or lose control of their vehicles.
While head-on accidents can happen any time that drivers engage in these and other dangerous behaviors, these types of collisions are much more likely to occur on rural roads. In fact, Transportation.org reports that 75 percent of all head-on crashes occur on rural roads, where undivided two-lane roadways are commonly found. About 68 percent of deadly head-on accidents occur while the drivers are going straight, Transportion.org says.
Head-On Collisions are More Severe
Head-on accidents account for approximately two percent of all vehicle accidents in the U.S., but they cause 10 percent of the fatalities. Unfortunately, head-on accidents are more likely to be deadly for many different reasons, including the combined force of the vehicles’ impact.
Head-on accidents are also more likely to be deadly because the drivers are often unable to engage in customary crash-avoidance behavior. For example, a drunk or sleeping driver who crosses into another lane will not be able to slow down, slam on the brakes or swerve to avoid a head-on crash. The cars are not only more likely to hit head-on, but they are also more likely to hit at high speeds. For all of these reasons, the driver is likely to suffer serious injury as a result of the crash.
Types of Injuries After a Head-On Crash
Some of the different types of injuries that drivers may experience after a head-on accident include:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI) / brain damage
- Spinal injuries causing paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Broken bones, especially facial bones
- Neck injury
- Soft tissue damage
- Air bag injuries
- Injuries to the knees, hips or legs
The more serious your injury, the greater the amount of compensation you should recover from the driver who caused the crash. The driver who is responsible for causing your head-on accident – or rather, the driver’s insurance company – should cover your medical costs, including any future or ongoing medical care that you will need.
You should also be compensated for lost income if you have to miss work or take sick/vacation days and for lost future income if your injuries leave you unable to work. Pain and suffering and emotional distress damages are also required for serious injury cases. Alternatively, if the accident resulted in death, then the family members of the victim can take legal action in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact Our Head-On Collision Attorneys
You deserve compensation if you were injured in a head-on collision caused by another driver. The head-on collision attorneys at Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard P.C., will pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact us today for a free consultation. Offices in Chicago and Waukegan.