Were you injured in a head-on collision?
It’s time to talk to an experienced Georgia auto accident lawyer.
Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous motor vehicle accidents on our highways and rural roads. Even with the protection provided by airbags and seatbelts, these crashes are often catastrophic and even fatal. Although head-on collisions are less common than other types of car crashes, such as rear-end accidents, the potential for serious injury and fatality is significantly higher.
If you were injured in a head-on collision — or if your loved one was killed — know that you don’t have to handle this difficult situation on your own. Our Duluth and Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you explore your best options for financial recovery. We have the knowledge, skill and expertise needed to help families through the complicated medical and legal issues arising from serious crash cases such as these.
A “head-on” or “frontal” car accident refers to when the front of 2 vehicles (cars, trucks, trains, boats, etc.) hit each other while traveling in opposite directions. Compared to side-impact (T-bone) crashes and rear-end accidents, head-on collisions are less common but often more severe due to the opposing force of both vehicles moving towards each other.
Why contact our expert car accident lawyers?
Atlanta-based attorney Charles Scholle is a highly rated personal injury lawyer with the understanding and knowledge to help victims and their families handle the consequences of a head-on crash. We know the legal process is stressful and we protect our clients from dealing with that stress.
We help our clients deal with the emotional, physical and financial impacts of head-on collisions. We support and protect local families by helping them through the process of medical recovery, rehabilitation, insurance claims and the litigation process.
We’ll fight for the compensation you deserve after a serious accident. We will work to secure what you and your family are entitled to receive from the responsible party or parties.
Our law firm team’s experience in handling the medical, emotional and financial impact of a personal injury case helps us provide the support and guidance our clients need throughout their recovery process. Scholle Law has represented crash victims all across Georgia. We have extensive experience with auto accidents of all kinds, including tragic head-on collisions.
Contact us to speak with a lawyer about your accident.We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free.
Call 866-972-5287 or send us a message online
Anatomy of a head-on car crash
What really happens to your body when you’re involved in a head-on collision? Why are head-on collisions so deadly?
Simply put, cars are hard and people are soft.
When your 2-ton moving vehicle comes to a complete stop within a second, that’s a lot of momentum and force placed upon your body.
For instance, if your car hits a barrier, a tree, a parked car or another stationary object, it will stop suddenly but your body doesn’t. Your head may hit the steering wheel or windshield, or you could be ejected from the car entirely if you’re not wearing a seatbelt. Upon impact, your body organs smash against anything hard – bones, skull, plastics in the car, etc. – and they can become severely damaged.
For example, let’s say that you are driving at 30 miles per hour. An oncoming vehicle is also driving at 30 mph. The other driver veers into your lane at the last minute, causing a head-on collision. In this scenario, the force of the impact on your body would be the same as if you hit a tree or wall at 60 mph.
Considering that many of Georgia’s rural roads and highways have speed limits up to 60 or 75 mph, it’s no wonder that head-on collisions are often catastrophic or fatal.
Head-On Collision Statistics
- In 2017, an estimated 58 percent of vehicle occupants were killed in frontal impact crashes nationally.
- Here in Georgia, crashes that occurred at an angle or head-on accounted for 37.8 percent of traffic fatalities in 2006, and 83.5 percent of the fatalities involving 2-vehicle collisions.
- Head-on crashes are more prevalent in rural areas, making up 13 percent of all rural fatal crashes. In urban areas, head-on crashes are responsible for less than 7 percent of all urban fatal crashes.
- 75 percent of frontal crashes happen on undivided 2-lane highways, and 83 percent occur on 2-lane rural highways and roads.
- Head-on crashes are the most deadly types of collision. Of those in Georgia who were injured in head-on crashes in 2006, 2.75 percent were killed (compared with only 0.23 percent in rear end crashes).
Common Head-On Collision Injuries
Due to the intense force, momentum and pressure a person experiences in a head-on collision, these type of collisions commonly result in the following bodily injury:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Soft tissue neck injury
- Tracheal and larynx damage
- Facial bone fractures
- Fractured sternum
- Crushed chest
- Abdominal injury (ruptured spleen, bowel or liver)
- Pelvis, hip or femur breaks
- Organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Common Causes of Head-On Car Accidents.
There are many possible causes of head-on collisions in which one vehicle leaves its lane of travel and moves into oncoming traffic. These factors most commonly include driver negligence (such as impairment due to alcohol or drugs), driver impairment due to a medical emergency or failure to stay in the correct lane due to lack of knowledge of a particular roadway. Many head-on collisions are caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel and drifting into oncoming traffic.
Sometimes, lack of clear roadway markings for on-ramps and off-ramps can also result in a head-on collision. Occasionally, head-on collisions can happen due to poor weather conditions, such as rain or fog. These contributing factors are known as “Acts of God.” However, an argument can be made that the driver should have adjusted their driving according to the road and weather conditions, and therefore, they should still be held liable.
- Reckless and aggressive driving (speeding or tailgating)
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Poor road conditions (ice, snow, heavy rain or fog)
- Unsafe lane changes or cutting off drivers
- Defective brakes or bald tires
- Driver inattentiveness and distracted driving
- Drowsy driving and falling asleep at the wheel
Determining Liability (Fault) for a Head-On Collision
Head-on collisions are almost always the fault of a negligent driver. This is because most frontal crashes are caused when 1 driver swerves or drifts into another line, thereby striking an oncoming vehicle. This behavior is in violation of Georgia law (O.C.G.A. § 40-6-41), which says that:
Drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right, and, upon roadways having width for not more than one lane of traffic in each direction, each driver shall give to the other at least one-half of the main traveled portion of the roadway or as nearly one-half as possible.
As a result, determining who violated state law and caused the head-on collision is a crucially important step in your auto accident claim. If one driver was distracted, was impaired by alcohol or drugs, fell asleep at the wheel or violated a traffic law, then it should be relatively easy to show that they were negligent and therefore responsible for paying any damages.
However, liability is not always so easy to determine.
In the case of a head-on collision where neither driver admits fault, it may be up to a judge or jury to determine liability. They could decide that both drivers were partly responsible for the collision, and split up the resulting damages accordingly. Under Georgia’s contributory negligence law, a judge or jury can reduce the amount of compensation awarded to a plaintiff in proportion to their degree (or percentage) of fault.
For instance, if an oncoming driver collided head-on with your vehicle, the jury might say that the other driver was 75 percent at fault. They assign you 25 percent of the liability because you didn’t have your headlights on while driving at night. If your medical expenses and other damages totaled $100,000, then the maximum you would be able to recover in this scenario would be $75,000.
If the court were to determine that you were 50 percent or more at fault for the crash, then you would lose your right to recover any compensation whatsoever.
Should you file a car accident injury claim?
Personal injury claims involving head-on accidents are the same as other cases, but the severity of injuries is often more extensive. General damage claims for pain and suffering are available, as well as recovery for medical bills, lost wages and expenses associated with meeting appointments for treatment of accident injuries.
Vehicle owners may also be reimbursed for physical property loss. There are several factors that can impact the value of your personal injury claim, and an experienced accident attorney at Scholle Law can craft the best possible case for maximum settlement.
Wrongful Death Head-On Accident Claims
Wrongful death claims for the surviving family could also be available following a fatal head-on collision, but the elements of the claim are different from other personal injury cases. Surviving spouses, dependent children or others (depending on the decedent for financial support) could be granted financial compensation for the loss of their loved one. Parents of minor children can be reimbursed as well when a child is the victim.
The fact that someone died in the accident is not always sufficient for allowing a wrongful death claim, as there must be extenuating evidence indicating gross negligence for the wrongful death claim to move forward. Many wrongful death claims are decided by a jury trial, and the Duluth wrongful death attorney you choose to represent your case can be very important to the final outcome.
Punitive damages could also be awarded when the at-fault driver demonstrated gross negligence in causing the head-on collision, such as being intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Contact Duluth Car Accident Lawyers Today
As an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer, Charles Scholle and his legal team at Scholle Law know that after a head-on collision, injured victims and their loved ones need the support of an experienced legal expert. Let us start investigating your case immediately. We’ll keep you informed along the way about any progress in your case.
For over 20 years, we’ve helped injured victims and their families recover the financial compensation they deserve following a serious crash. If you or a loved one were hurt in an auto accident, we are here to help. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.