Head on collisions are usually life altering events with frightening and severe injuries occurring as a result. The sheer force of two vehicles traveling in opposite directions is much greater than that of a “traditional” car crash. It’s easy to see why these types of cases require special care and attention to detail. You only get once chance for recovery that you will need for the immediate future and the rest of your life. For this reason, you need a well-versed attorney that you can trust and you know can deliver the results you and your family will depend on. We have successfully handled numerous head-on collision cases in Michigan that have involved serious injuries and death. Our attorneys will do everything possible to ensure that both you and your family receive the maximum compensation that you are entitled to.
Due to the severity of the injuries and the accompanying medical treatment, the fallout from the accident will undoubtedly have an enormous impact on your financial future. Medical bills are piling up, you are unable to work for both the short-term and long-term future, and you are suffering mentally trying to put your life back together. You may be surprised to find that the insurance company is refuting your claim even though the accident was not your fault and you’ve been a loyal customer for years. The reason for this is that head-on collisions are the most expensive to auto-insurance companies and they don’t make money by just writing big checks without a fight. They don’t want to pay for the enormous property damage, medical bills, and the lifetime no-fault benefits even though they still make billions in profit a year.
Why Do Head-On Accidents Happen?
Unsurprisingly, negligence by one of the vehicle operators is the main cause for the accident in a majority of head-on collisions. There are a number a different reasons why the operator of the vehicle would fail to stay in their driving line and then move into oncoming vehicle traffic. Another major cause is referred to as wrong-way driving. There have been many instances of Michigan drivers entering the highway from an off-ramp exit instead of the on-ramp. The same can be said for a driver who makes an illegal turn onto a busy one-way street. Here are some more of the common causes for head-on collisions.
Distracted Driving – Drivers that are distracted account for more head-on collisions than any other cause. It’s easy to see why distracted driving is such a problem with the explosion of new auto-related technology. Cell phones, in-car video players, GPS, and other apps can easily the distract the driver. Drivers routinely text friends, check email, update their social media, and browse dating apps. Just this slight distraction of a few seconds is all it takes for the possibility of a head-on crash.
Extreme Weather Conditions – As you know, Michigan can receive some pretty extreme weather at times that contributes heavily to a number on head-on crashes every year. Heavy rain, snow, fog, or wintry mix can substantially reduce roadway visibility and create dangerous conditions where head-on collisions can occur. If you feel that you’re experiencing this type of weather the best thing to do is to slow down and get off the road until conditions improve. Unfortunately, most drivers don’t take this logical advice and create additional dangers to everyone on the roadways.
Drunk Driving -When a driver decides to take the wheel drunk, their decision making and judgement is substantially impaired. An intoxicated driver can easily fall asleep behind the wheel or become confused about their surroundings and drive the wrong way on a one-way street or off-ramp. This type of situation happens frequently and it’s usually late at night after the drunk driver has visited a bar or restaurant and is attempting to drive home. Unfortunately, late night head-on collisions are the most dangerous of all and usually result in tragic deaths.
Drivers Who Are Inexperienced – Inexperienced drivers are much more likely to turn the wrong-way down a one-way street or attempt to enter a freeway using the off-ramp. They are still unfamiliar with local roads and can easily be flustered or confused. They may find themselves in situations that are dangerous and instead of quickly eliminating it, they in fact make problems worse. Unfortunately, it’s hard to determine who the inexperienced drivers are until it’s too late.
Drowsy Driving or Driving When Tired – Semi-Truck drivers are notorious for pushing their limits and continuing to drive while extremely tired. An extremely tired driving in control of a massive truck is a recipe for disaster. This tired driver puts everyone at risk because of their poor decision making abilities and slowed reaction times. A large portion of head-on collisions occur by drivers falling asleep at the wheel. It’s extremely important for Truck drivers and other drivers who travel long distances need to stop periodically to recharge. They should either take a short nap, stretch, and/or drink some caffeine before getting back on the road and continuing to drive.
Aggressive Driving or Extreme Road Rage – This is a less common reason for head-on crashes, but they still do occur occasionally. An aggressive driver or a driver currently experiencing road rage makes dangerous maneuvers and very poor irrational decisions. An unpredictable driver can easily easily cause a head-on crash.
Construction Zones and Altered Traffic – If drivers ignore temporary construction signs and speed excessively, construction zones can be extremely dangerous to all drivers. Many zones alter traffic or implement a detour and driving need to paying full attention to make sure no errors are made. This altered traffic (which can sometimes put oncoming traffic extremely close) can cause confusion to driving not paying attention or traveling at a too high rate of speed. There is a reason signs are clearly posted and speed limits are reduced. Constructions zones can cause lots of dangerous situations including the possiblity for increased head-on collisions.
Common Injuries Caused By Head-On Collisions
Typically, the injuries associated with head-on collisions are more severe compared to other types of accidents such as T-Bone Accidents, Rear-End, Accidents, and Red-Light Accidents. As mentioned previously, the reason for more injuries is simply because the vehicles are driving at relatively high speeds toward each other and when the crash occurs there is very little impact absorption. Some of the more common injuries resulting from a head-on car accident include:
Broken Facial Bones – Unfortunately, one of the most common forms of injury from on a head-on collision is broken bones on or near the face. The impact from this type of accident is usually severe enough that the orbital bones, eye sockets, jaw, and chin are usually crushed or broken even if the airbags in the vehicle deployed properly and require extensive amounts of surgery and time to repair.
Scarring and Disfigurement – When a head-on accident occurs, small and broken objects including broken glass, plastic, and parts of the vehicle tend to fly around inside the car at great speeds which causes abrasions, lacerations, cuts, disfigurement, and scarring. Even though these injuries aren’t life-threatening, they can pose a major hurdle to continuing your life that you lived previous to the accident both physically and mentally.
Injuries To The Back andSpine – The sudden force of two vehicles colliding head-on results in a large number of different neck and spine injuries for obvious reasons. Upon impact, the vehicle causes the spine and body to move forward and then it comes to a sudden halt. When the vehicle stops, the driver and passengers are slammed down and back into their seats. If this force is severe enough (it usually is), discs in the spinal cord can become compressed or bruised which can result in a herniation, paralysis, and sometimes even death.
Whiplash – A very sudden deceleration which usually occurs in a head-on accident is the leading reason for whiplash injury. A whiplash happens when the victim’s brain actually slides inside the brain and makes surface contact. As a result of this contact, the brain tissue can become bruised or torn which can have severe and long-lasting impacts on the mental health of the victim.
Traumatic Brain Injury – Auto accidents are the leading cause for traumatic brain injuries and head-on collisions account for a large percentage due to the sudden stopping and large amounts of impact force. The skull or cranium can impact with the steering or any other hard object causing a fracture or severe brain bruising. Since the force is so large, closed-headed injuries are a real possibility and its why seeking medical attention immediately after this type of accident is a must. Many victims don’t realize the extent of their head injuries and timely medical treatment can prevent many complications and in some instances injuries from getting worse.
Abdominal Injuries – Since there is very little protection or absorption of the impact during a head-on crash, the abdominal area is very susceptible to injury. Vulnerable organs near the abdomen that are commonly injured include the kidneys, lungs, liver, and spleen. An injury to this area of the body can create lifelong conditions and be life-threatening.
Foot and Leg Injuries – Try to imagine being involved in a head-on crash. The first thing you might notice is how little protection the lower half of your body has. A very small amount of metal and space is protecting you from the oncoming vehicle. For this reason, many foot and leg injuries occur during this type of accident.
Blunt Force Trauma – Safety features such as a seat belt or airbag can potentially save your life, but they can also commonly cause blunt force trauma injuries. Chest injuries happen often due to the extreme amount of force being applied to the body resulting in broken ribs, torn shoulder ligaments, punctured lungs, and other internal injuries.
Death – Although head-on collisions only make up for a small percentage of all auto accidents, they account for a very significant amount of all car accident deaths. U.S statistics indicate that head-on crashes only account for roughly 2 percent of all crashes yet they make up over 10 percent of all fatal crashes.
How Can Our Car Accident Attorneys Help?
Our attorneys at The Clark Law Office help injured victims of head-on accidents collect financial compensation for medical expenses, loss of wages, and even for pain and suffering in some cases. Our top-rated team of Lansing car accident lawyers understand the complex Michigan No-Fault Laws and the best way to ensure your receive maximum compensation. Both David M. Clark and Matthew R. Clark will use their extensive experience litigating head-on auto accident lawsuits to get you the best financial outcome for your case. We work with some of the best accident reconstruction experts in the country and meet with treating doctors to give you the strongest possible case. Contact us today for a completely free and confidential consultation regarding your accident. We charge absolutely nothing unless we are able to obtain a financial award for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Head-On Collisions
What Steps Do I Take Following a Head-On Accident?
Obviously, the first thing you should do is to ensure everyone is safe and call 911. Even if you don’t think an injury has occurred, it’s still important to get checked over by a medical professional. Adrenaline can easily mask pain that you would normally feel so it’s important to not skip this step. Once the police and medical professionals arrive, you will need to explain how exactly the crash happened along with any injuries or pain that have been sustained by any party. You will also need to exchange vehicle and insurance information. You will need to get the license plate # of any vehicles involved, the specific model of the vehicle, and insurance policy information of everyone involved. Now is when you should document the scene yourself if you are able. Take as many pictures as you can, take note of everything you can remember, and don’t leave anything out. The more information that you can write down for yourself, the stronger your case will be in the future.
How Do I Prove That It Was The Other Driver’s Fault?
Even though Michigan has no-fault auto insurance, proving fault is still critical in any auto accident. In Michigan, a driver or passenger can only collect third-party benefits (more commonly known as pain and suffering) if the other driver was at least 50% at fault for the accident. The initial police report or the UD-10 traffic crash report plays a large role in determining fault in the case, so it’s important to speak with the responding officer and provide your tale of the events truthfully and in detail. The police investigation usually involves recreating the accident scene with the aid of experts. They can be looking for any signs or clues as to how the accident happened who might not be telling the truth. In order to ensure maximum compensation for our clients, we hire our own reconstruction accident experts and will leave no stones UN-turned.
If I’m At Fault For The Accident, Can I Still Get No-Fault Benefits?
The simple answer is yes. Michigan has no-fault auto insurance laws enacted. The fact that you were at fault for the accident does not change your ability to collect first-party or no-fault benefits which include medical expenses, wage loss, medical reimbursement, and other benefits. The at-fault driver is not able to collect pain and suffering compensation but all the other parties are eligible including the driver not at fault and all the passengers. In fact, you can still collect benefits if you don’t own a vehicle or have auto insurance of your own.
Is There a Time Limit or Statue of Limitations For Head-On Collisions?
Yes, there are 2 separate time limits for head-on accident cases in Michigan. A 1-year statute of limitation is in place for all no-fault benefit claims. This means if you want to collect compensation from your own insurance company that you will need to file suit with 1 year from the date of the incurred expense. A 3-year statue of limitation is in place for 3rd party lawsuits (pain and suffering along with other non-economic damages). If you were less than 50% at fault for the accident, you have 3 years to file a claim for your 3rd party benefits.
Statistics About Head-On Collisions
It was surprisingly difficult to find head-on crash statistics that are currently reliable. However, it has been found by the Fatal Analysis Reporting System that nearly 20% of all car crashes (excluding intersections) resulting in a fatality were head-on collisions. The same study found that of the 20% that were head-on, nearly 75% occurred on rural roads that were two-lane undivided roads. While not conclusive, this data suggests that these head-on crashes were caused mainly by failed passing attempts. When there isn’t a safe lane to pass slower traffic, many drivers will make aggressive passing maneuvers they normally wouldn’t make. Two-lane country roads that are undivided receive a majority of the head-on crashes for this very reason in my opinion.
How I Do Increase My Chances of Survival?
The best way to survive a head-on crash is simply to avoid them at all costs. Obviously, that is not possible so the best alternative is to drive slower before the collision. This can be just driving as slow as speed limits allow, avoiding 2 lane undivided roads, never passing without a proper passing lane, etc. Monash University conducted a study regarding the top speed vehicles should travel where a head-on collision is a possibility and published their recommendations. According to their recommendations, 43 mph should be the upper end of the speed limit for areas where frontal impacts could occur. This took into account the risk of both serious injuries and risk of death. Most undivided country two-lane roads where a majority of these crashes occur have speed limits posted of 55mph in the State of Michigan. Even with the advancement of safety technology such as lane assist, these small rural roads pose a significant extra risk to drivers.
Call a Michigan Head-On Collision Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured from a head-on collision in Michigan, you need a law firm that you can trust to collect the financial compensation that you need and deserve. It’s a fact that victims in auto accidents receive larger recovery when they are represented by an attorney. The car accident lawyers at The Clark Law Office have over 50 years of combined experience representing and advocating for injured clients. We know how insurance companies try to reduce your payout, and we know how to get you maximum compensation. Contact us today at (517) 347-6900 for a completely free consultation regarding your accident. We charge nothing unless you get paid.