Collecting Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Head-on Collision

Dec 20, 2016

Collecting Compensation for Injuries Sustained in a Head-on Collision

The severity of injuries sustained in a car accident has a lot to do with the type and number of cars involved and the speed at which they were traveling. There are, however, some types of crashes, such as head-on collisions, that almost always result in injuries. This is at least partly due to the fact that many head-on collisions occur at high speeds and involve intoxicated or fatigued drivers. The repercussions of being involved in a head-on collision can be deadly, so if you or a loved one live in Charlotte and were recently injured in a car crash, it is critical to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can help you seek compensation for your medical costs.

Causes of Head-on Collisions

Many drivers assume that head-on collisions only happen when a driver attempts to pass on a two lane road. In reality, most fatal head-on crashes occur in non-passing situations, where a driver drifts from his or her lane and into oncoming traffic. Another common cause of head-on collisions is when driver’s attempt to enter a roadway from another street or a driveway and mistakenly turn into the path of an oncoming car. Head-on collisions are often the result of negligent or reckless driving, including:

  • Speeding;
  • Drowsy driving;
  • Driving while distracted; and
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In fact, many head-on collisions are so severe because the at-fault driver did not engage in standard crash-avoidance behaviors, such as swerving out of the way or braking before the collision. Although less common, head-on collisions can also be caused by the following:

  • Improper lane control due to poor weather conditions;
  • Unexpected mechanical problems; and
  • Veering to avoid an animal or other object on the road.

While there are a variety of scenarios in which a head-on collision can occur, all can have devastating and even life-threatening results.

Common Injuries

As a result of the angle of impact and extreme force involved in most head-on collisions, injuries sustained by victims tend to be especially severe. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injury, which is usually the result of a driver hitting his or her head against the steering wheel, dashboard, or window;
  • Severe damage to the spinal cord, which occurs as a result of the fracture or dislocation of a person’s vertebrae, which then penetrate the spinal cord;
  • Whiplash, which is caused by a driver’s head snapping forward as a result of a significant impact;
  • Hyperextension of the spine, which is usually the result of a sudden impact causing the spine to stretch or contract;
  • Sternum and rib fractures, which are often caused by a driver forcefully making contact with the steering wheel or as a result of a seat belt restraint or airbag;
  • Crushed knees, legs, and hips, which occur as a result of a person’s legs slamming into the dashboard;
  • Internal organ damage is usually caused by a sudden impact with another part of the vehicle, such as a seat, dashboard, or windshield and can lead to internal bleeding;
  • Facial fractures, which often occur as the result of coming into contact with an airbag; and
  • Death.

Catastrophic injuries of this nature are extremely expensive to treat and are more likely to keep victims out of work while they heal. Fortunately, if an injured party can establish that another driver was negligent, he or she may be able to collect the following types of damages:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future income;
  • Property damage;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Scarring;
  • Loss of the use of a body part;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of companionship; and
  • Funeral and burial costs.

While nothing may be able to return a person to his or her pre-accident level of health, collecting compensation from the wrongful party can go a long way towards helping injured parties and their families begin the long process of recovery.

Establishing Negligence 

Because head-on collisions are almost always caused by another driver’s negligence, injured parties are often able to recover compensation for their losses. However, establishing that another driver was negligent can be difficult and will require an in-depth investigation, which includes:

  • Taking measurements of any skid marks;
  • Photographing the scene of the accident, including debris and gouges in the pavement;
  • Collecting information from event data recorders installed in vehicles;
  • Collecting statements from those who witnessed the accident;
  • Reconstructing the accident;
  • Photographing the damaged vehicles and the extent of the injuries sustained; and
  • Collecting a copy of the police report.

Carefully conducting an investigation and compiling evidence is especially important in North Carolina. This is because North Carolina follows the legal theory of contributory negligence, which means that victims who are partially at fault in causing an accident are barred from collecting compensation.

Statute of Limitations

North Carolina residents who were injured in a head-on collision must file their claim within three years of the date of the injury. However, if a loved one lost his or her life in a crash, family members must file a claim against the responsible party within two years of the date of the victim’s death. Adhering to these procedural requirements is of the utmost importance in these types of cases because failing to bring a claim within the time limits could lead to the case being dismissed.

Contact an Experienced Charlotte Car Accident Attorney Today

Head-on collisions can take an especially devastating emotional, physical, and financial toll on victims and their families. Severe injuries may require years of physical therapy and painful surgeries, while others may leave a victim permanently disabled. Those whose negligence or recklessness caused an accident can and should be held responsible, so if you live in Charlotte and were injured or lost a loved one as the result of a car crash, please contact the dedicated Charlotte auto accident attorney at the law firm of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. by completing and submitting one of our standard contact forms and a member of our dedicated legal team will assist you in scheduling a free consultation with an experienced car accident lawyer who can evaluate your case.