Head-on collisions can be some of the most devastating kinds of car accidents, leading to serious injuries, and even death, for both passengers and drivers. The Maine car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have been helping victims obtain compensation for their injuries since 1976. If you have been injured in a car accident in Portland or other parts of Maine, our personal injury attorneys can examine the details of your case and help determine who may be at fault. If it is in your best interest to file a car accident lawsuit, we will work with medical and crash reconstruction experts to help establish liability and do everything possible to ensure that you and your family receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to by law.
Dangers in head-on collisions
Head-on collisions are more dangerous than other types of car collisions. According to government studies, head-on collisions account for only 2% of all auto accidents, but they produce 10% of car accident-related fatalities.
In a head-on collision, the drivers and front seat passengers are flung toward the windshield, often colliding with the oncoming vehicle. Even when these accidents are not fatal, they can cause serious brain injuries and other debilitating effects.
Common causes of head-on collisions
Head-on collisions take place when a driver crosses to the wrong side of the road and can occur because of bad luck, bad behavior, or bad judgment. Sometimes a driver loses control because of bad weather conditions or attempting to avoid an obstacle in the road. More often, however, the driver who crosses into oncoming traffic is impaired – by alcohol or lack of sleep, for example – or uses poor judgment in entering oncoming traffic to pass another vehicle.
Impairments leading to head-on collisions
Studies show that the majority of head-on collisions occur on rural, undivided, two-lane roads and do not involve a driver attempting to pass another driver. Rather, they tend to involve some other cause, such as impaired driving.
Head-on collisions are especially common – and deadly – when a driver is drunk. A completely false myth is that drunk drivers take more precautions on the road because of their impairment. But what experts have discovered is that drunk drivers who believe they are being extra cautious are prone to crossing the center line on the road or freeway and driving below the speed limit in what they believe is the slow lane – what is actually the high-speed lane for the on-coming traffic.
According to the CDC, drowsy drivers cause a disproportionate number of head-on and rear-end collisions. It has also been reported that drowsy driving collisions are more likely to produce injuries or death than collisions not involving drowsy driving. Even if not asleep, drivers impaired by drowsiness have trouble determining special relationships and keeping control of the vehicle so that it does not drift into an oncoming lane.
Effects of head-on collisions
Because of the physics involved, head-on collisions often result in serious or fatal injuries.
Head-on collisions often result in:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries, ranging from concussions to memory loss to traumatic brain injury
- Deep cuts and severe bruising
- Neck and back injuries including broken vertebrae, whiplash, neck sprains, and herniated discs
Proving liability in a head-on collision lawsuit
Someone is often at fault for a head-on collision but a plaintiff often needs to be able to prove that to a jury in order to receive compensation.
To establish liability in your case, car accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing will:
- Work with engineering experts to show how the accident occurred and, therefore, which party was at fault
- Consult with doctors to ensure that the full scope of the injuries is understood and included in any compensation package
- Present a client’s case to a jury in a clear and easy to understand way
Insurance coverage for car accidents in Maine
Maine follows a fault-based auto insurance system, so someone injured in a head-on collision through the fault of another driver may seek compensation from the at-fault party.
Compensation in a Maine car accident lawsuit can include:
- Bodily injury – including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages
- Property damage – the cost to repair or replace the damaged vehicle
If the at-fault party does not have adequate, or any, car insurance, someone injured may be able to recover from the uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage under their own auto policy.
Portland, ME attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing can help
People injured in auto accidents generally receive a larger recovery under an insurance policy when they are represented by a lawyer. The car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have nearly four decades of experience in representing and negotiating insurance claims for injured clients – we know how the system works and how to get the job done.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a head-on collision in Maine, contact our personal injury lawyers for a no-charge, no-obligation consultation: 1-800-INJURED.
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report: Drowsy Driving — 19 States and the District of Columbia, 2009–2010, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6151a1.htm
- Transportation.org, Head-On Collisions: Executive Summary, http://safety.transportation.org/htmlguides/HOcrashes/exec_sum.htm
- Maine Bureau of Insurance, A Consumer’s Guide To… Personal Auto Insurance, http://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/consumer/auto.htm