Few things may be scarier than seeing a car or other vehicle coming straight at you on the roadway. When the front of one vehicle crashes into the front of another, known as a “head-on collision,” it can be both emotionally and physically traumatic. The panic you feel when a car is barreling into you and there is little you can do to avoid it will not be soon forgotten and neither will the physical injuries that are likely to result as well.
Head-on collision injuries can make it impossible for a person to return to their life as they knew it. They can be extremely painful and debilitating as well as requiring intensive care and continuous follow-up treatment for years to come. For the pain you have suffered, the losses you have sustained, and the irreparable damage to your health and well-being, you deserve to be compensated. The experienced personal injury team at Pringle & Herigstad will work to ensure that your legal rights are enforced and you get the monetary compensation you deserve for the harm a negligent driver caused you.
The Most Common Head-On Collision Injuries
Head-on collisions often lead to debilitating injuries that leave lifelong damage. Some of the most commonly sustained injuries in head-on collisions include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Broken bone injuries
Many of these injuries require extensive and invasive treatment, such as complex surgeries. The healing process can also be quite involved and include follow-up procedures as well as intensive physical therapy.
What Causes Head-On Collisions?
We know that a head-on collision can leave devastation in its wake, but what leads us to that point? Why do head-on collisions happen? Well, there are some cases where there may have been a vehicle defect that led to a driver losing control of their car. There may have been inclement weather that led to little to no field of vision for the driver. A driver may have hit black ice and lost control of oncoming traffic. Most of the time, however, a head-on collision is the result of negligent or reckless driving. Some of the most common causes of head-on collisions include:
- Distracted driving: It only takes a second for a driver to take their attention or vision away from the road to drift into oncoming traffic.
- Driving while intoxicated: Those driving under the influence are more prone to drifting in and out of lanes and becoming easily disoriented. These are things that can lead to head-on collisions.
- Reckless driving: Reckless or aggressive driving behaviors are also commonly the root cause of head-on collisions. Consider, for instance, a driver on a two-lane road who is in too much of a hurry and desperate to pass a slower-moving vehicle ahead of them. They try to pass by entering the other lane, but there is an oncoming vehicle and they do not pass in time to avoid the collision.
- Fatigued driving: Sleepiness when driving can prove fatal. Dozing, heavy eyelids, or outright falling asleep can cause a driver to drift into oncoming traffic, leading to a head-on collision with a car traveling the opposite way.
- Failure to observe traffic signs: Cars turning down the wrong way on a one-way street is another common cause of head-on collisions, as are cars entering a highway exit ramp. A driver’s failure to note the traffic signs and control devices meant to alert them to the one-way direction of travel can lead to them colliding head-on with drivers that are going in the right direction.
Determining Fault in a Head-On Collision
We all owe each other a duty of care when we are out there on the roads and highways. When someone violates that duty and injures someone as a result, they are said to be legally negligent and those that suffered harm due to that other driver’s negligence have the legal right to pursue compensation from them, or their insurance company, as a result. Determining whose negligence caused an accident is critical in determining who you can recover compensation.
Fault is a fact-specific analysis and will vary depending on the circumstances of the crash. You will need proof of the other driver’s negligence such as their reckless driving behaviors and violations of traffic laws. Proof can come in the form of police reports, tickets for traffic violations, pictures, video footage, witness statements, and more. All of this proof will act as evidence to support your personal injury claim based on being injured due to the negligence of another.
Determining fault in a head-on collision can be further complicated by multiple parties contributing to a crash. In a head-on collision, however, it is rare that more than one party is at fault for causing the accident. It is usually one driver who drove into oncoming traffic and is completely at fault for causing the head-on collision. In some cases, and in many other types of accidents, the fault rests with multiple parties and it is important to understand how this can impact compensation.
North Dakota is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that anyone found to be less than 50% at fault for causing an accident will still be able to obtain compensation for their damages. Their damage award, however, will be reduced by the percentage of fault they have been assigned. If someone is found to be over 50% at fault for causing an accident, then they will not be able to recover compensation at all. When a crash is determined to be 50% the fault of one party and 50% the fault of another party, neither party will be able to recover compensation.
Experienced North Dakota Head-On Collision Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one has been in a head-on collision, then you may have suffered serious injuries. Your healing journey will likely be a long one and the team at Pringle & Herigstad is committed to helping you along the way by shouldering the legal challenges associated with pursuing full and fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. You can count on us to fight for you while you fight to get your health and life back on track. Contact us today.