Head-on auto accidents are incredibly dangerous. Though they are comparatively rare when compared to other types of auto accidents (like rear-end and T-bone accidents), head-on collisions can lead to severe injuries and thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
What Are Head-On Collisions?
Head-on collisions are some of the most dangerous auto accidents. A head-on accident occurs when two cars driving in directions opposite one another crash directly. Both cars’ front ends impact, resulting in a large and deadly release of kinetic energy. The severity of such crashes is primarily because the intensity of the collision results from the combined speed of both vehicles.
Because head-on impacts typically involve greater combined speeds and harder collisions compared to many other types of auto accidents, the injuries sustained by both parties can be quite serious.
How Most Head-On Collisions Occur
Head-on collisions can occur for the same reasons as any other auto accident. For example, one driver may be drinking and accidentally drift into the wrong lane. If both drivers are blinded by the other’s headlights, a head-on impact can result.
However, head-on collisions can also occur due to brake failure. For instance, a car may drift into the middle of an intersection if its brakes are not working, causing it to impact a car moving forward under the direction of a green light.
In short: head-on collisions can happen either due to causes that are purely mechanical and outside of a driver’s control, or due to human error or negligence.
How Frequent Are Head-On Accidents?
Each year in New York, auto accidents cause an average of over 1,000 deaths, and over 12,000 hospitalizations.
Fortunately, head-on crashes only represent about 2% of all car accidents throughout the United States. However, they do account for over 10% of all fatal crashes. Data from 2018, for example, indicates that there were a total of 3,651 head-on and fatal crashes that year.
Furthermore, head-on collisions are more likely to be fatal for passenger vehicle occupants. More data from 2018 indicates that 31% of passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks were struck head-on by the truck in question. This data helps to show how dangerous head-on accidents can be, even compared to other types of auto accidents.
Head-on car crashes are statistically more likely in rural areas. They account for 13% of all rural fatal crashes in New York. Meanwhile, head-on collisions are responsible for less than 7% of all of New York’s urban fatal crashes.
Common Injuries from Head-On Collisions
Head-on crashes involving two vehicles can inflict a number of serious injuries, even if both occupants are wearing seatbelts and airbags function properly. Injuries can be even more severe if either of these two safety features don’t function properly or are damaged in the accident.
Head-on collisions can cause injuries including:
- Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). A victim’s head can snap back and impact their seat, or snap forward and impact the car dashboard or steering wheel. Either example can lead to concussions, skull fractures, and other TBIs.
- Broken bones. The kinetic energy involved with head-on collisions can lead to broken bones across the face, chest, and limbs.
- Bruises and lacerations. Head-on crashes may cause bruises or lacerations for one or more victims, both due to blunt force trauma and threats like shattered glass.
- Spinal injuries. The sudden shock of a high-speed impact could result in heavy injury to victims’ spines, leading to difficulty moving, long-lasting pain, or even a broken back.
- Paralysis. If spinal damage is severe enough, paralysis could follow a head-on collision for one or both parties.
- PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder. The possible physical tolls inflicted by head-on crashes are often accompanied by PTSD, a mental injury that leaves long-lasting scars. PTSD can cause symptoms such as fear of driving, anxiety, and other effects.
Additionally, and as seen from the data above, head-on crashes have a five times greater than average chance of leading to fatalities. They only represent 2% of total crashes throughout the US, but 10% of all crashes that result in fatalities.
Recovery from Head-On Accident Injuries
Because head-on accidents can cause such a severe range of injuries, it’s often more difficult for victims to recover from those injuries compared to those suffered from other types of auto accidents.
- Broken bones can take up to several weeks or several months to heal, depending on the severity of the initial injury.
- Head injuries can take months or even years to fully recover. Long-lasting TBIs can change one’s quality of life forever.
- Bruises and lacerations may take weeks or months to heal. Severe lacerations could leave scars that may never disappear.
- Spinal injuries are very complex and often quite dangerous. Recovery can take months or years. If paralysis occurs, full recovery may be impossible.
- PTSD can remain with a victim for the rest of their life. Otherwise, it may take months or years to recover from fully.
Head-On Auto Accident Lawsuits
Ultimately, any head-on auto accident victim should seek compensation to recover from the serious injuries likely sustained during the accident. Hospital bills and loss of income from being out of work can quickly drain anyone’s finances.
Though New York is a no-fault state, skilled legal counsel could help to establish serious negligence on the part of the driver mostly at fault for causing the head-on accident in question. Once gross negligence is established, compensation can be pursued for things like:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income, both during recovery and permanently if a victim is paralyzed
- Damages for physical and mental pain and suffering
- Damages for loss of companionship and loss of income if a fatality occurred during the accident
Head-on auto accident lawsuits can result in compensation well into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Auto Accident Attorneys in New York
Victims of head-on car accidents will only get the compensation they need to fully recover if they contact licensed, knowledgeable attorneys like Sobo & Sobo. They can work with victims to establish the facts and prove negligence on the part of the other driver. Contact them today and get a free consultation for an upcoming lawsuit.