Head-on collisions are some of the most devastating types of car accidents, often resulting in catastrophic injuries or death. These accidents occur when two vehicles collide front-to-front, and they can cause life-altering injuries that require extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care.
It’s important to understand your options for seeking compensation if a negligent driver collided head-on with your vehicle and severely hurt you or killed a close family member.
An experienced Fairfax car accident attorney can explain your rights and options for pursuing compensation from the at-fault driver, represent you throughout the process, and fight for the maximum compensation you need and the justice you deserve for your head-on car crash.
What Causes Head-On Collision in Virginia?
Head-on collisions can result from:
- Distracted Driving: One of the leading causes of head-on collisions is distracted driving. When drivers take their eyes off the road to text, make phone calls, eat, or engage in other distractions, they may inadvertently drift into oncoming traffic lanes, leading to a head-on collision.
- Impaired Driving: Alcohol and drug impairment can impair a driver’s judgment, coordination, and reaction time, increasing the likelihood of a driver veering into oncoming traffic or failing to stay within their lane.
- Driver Fatigue: Fatigued or drowsy drivers have reduced alertness and slower reaction times, making them more susceptible to drifting across lanes or losing control of their vehicle, which can result in head-on collisions.
- Speeding: Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to react to sudden changes in traffic conditions or obstacles in their path. High-speed collisions, when they do occur, are more likely to cause severe injuries.
- Reckless Overtaking: When drivers attempt to pass slower vehicles in unsafe conditions, such as on curves, hills, or in no-passing zones, they risk colliding head-on with oncoming traffic.
- Incorrect Lane Changes: Failing to signal properly, misjudging the distance or speed of oncoming vehicles, or merging into the wrong lane can lead to head-on collisions.
- Weather Conditions: Poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, ice, or fog, reduce visibility and make roads slippery. Drivers who fail to adjust their driving to these conditions may lose control and cause head-on collisions.
- Mechanical Failures: Vehicle malfunctions, such as brake failures, steering problems, or tire blowouts, can result in drivers losing control and crossing into oncoming lanes.
- Wrong-Way Driving: Some head-on collisions occur when drivers enter highways or roads in the wrong direction, often due to confusion or impairment.
- Medical Emergencies: In rare cases, drivers may experience sudden medical events, such as heart attacks or seizures, that cause them to lose control and collide head-on with other vehicles.
Preventing head-on collisions requires responsible driving practices, adherence to traffic laws, and being alert and focused while behind the wheel.
Defensive driving techniques, obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions, and staying sober are crucial steps in reducing the risk of these deadly accidents. However, accidents can still happen.
If you suffered injuries or lost a close family member in a Northern Virginia head-on collision, speak with a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. A lawyer can help investigate the crash, determine liability, and work to help you recover the full and fair compensation you need.
What Types of Injuries Do Head-On Collisions Cause?
Head-on collisions are among the most severe types of car accidents, and they often result in a wide range of injuries due to the significant forces involved.
The types of injuries that can occur in head-on collisions can vary in severity but may include:
- Whiplash Injuries: Whiplash is a common injury in head-on collisions. It occurs when the head and neck are suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing soft tissue damage to the neck and upper spine. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and shoulder pain.
- Fractures: The impact of a head-on collision can lead to bone fractures in various parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, ribs, and pelvis.
- Head Injuries: Head-on collisions can result in head injuries, including concussions, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and skull fractures. These injuries can lead to long-term cognitive and physical impairments.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: The forces involved in a head-on collision can cause spinal cord injuries, which may result in paralysis, loss of sensation, and a range of physical disabilities.
- Internal Injuries: Internal bleeding may not immediately appear, but the impact can cause fatal damage to the liver, spleen, kidneys, and intestines.
- Chest Injuries: Head-on collisions can lead to chest injuries, including rib fractures, lung contusions, and heart damage. Airbag deployment can also cause injuries to the chest.
- Pelvic Injuries: Injuries to the pelvis and hip area are common in head-on collisions and can include fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries.
- Lower Extremity Injuries: These accidents frequently cause leg and knee injuries, including fractures, ligament tears, and soft tissue damage.
- Burns: If there is a post-collision fire or if the vehicle’s safety systems malfunction, burn injuries can occur.
- Psychological Trauma: In addition to physical injuries, head-on collisions can lead to psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.
- Fatal Injuries: Tragically, the extreme forces involved in head-on collisions may cause fatal injuries.
The severity of injuries in head-on collisions depends on various factors, including the speed of the vehicles, the use of safety restraints, the presence of airbags, and the structural integrity of the vehicles involved.
Survivors of head-on collisions need immediate medical attention and legal assistance to receive the necessary medical care and compensation for their injuries.
What Should I Do After a Head-On Collision in Virginia?
Following a head-on car accident in Virginia that injured you or someone you love, you need to take certain steps to safeguard your well-being and protect your rights for pursuing compensation.
Here’s what you should do after a head-on collision:
Make Sure Everyone’s Safe
- Check yourself and passengers for injuries. Call 911 immediately if anyone is seriously injured.
- If it’s safe to do so, move your vehicle out of traffic to prevent further accidents. Use hazard lights and warning triangles, if available.
- Turn off your vehicle’s engine to reduce the risk of fire.
Contact the Police
- Call the police to report the accident. It’s essential to have an official accident report for insurance and legal purposes.
- Provide accurate and detailed information about the accident, including location, vehicles involved, and any injuries.
Get the Other Driver’s Information
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver(s) involved in the collision. Gather names, phone numbers, addresses, insurance policy details, and license plate numbers.
- Obtain contact information from any witnesses who saw the accident.
Document the Scene
- If possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, traffic signs, signals, and skid marks.
- Make a written record of the accident, noting the date, time, weather conditions, and any relevant details.
Get Medical Care
- Even if you don’t feel seriously injured, seek medical attention promptly. Some injuries, such as internal injuries or concussions, may not manifest symptoms immediately.
- Follow your doctor’s advice for treatment and attend all medical appointments.
Report the Accident to Your Insurance Company
- Notify your insurance company of the head-on collision as soon as possible. Provide them with the necessary information and details.
- Be cautious about making statements to the other driver’s insurance company without consulting an attorney.
- Maintain detailed records of all medical bills, expenses, and documentation related to your injuries and recovery.
- Keep copies of all correspondence with insurance companies and healthcare providers.
Be Cautious About What You Say or Post
- Avoid admitting fault or discussing fault with the other driver, their insurance company, or on social media.
- Refrain from discussing the accident, your injuries, or any legal matters on social media platforms. The insurance company will use what you say online against you.
Consult an Attorney
If you suffered injuries in a head-on collision, consult a personal injury attorney. A lawyer can help protect your rights and navigate the legal process while advocating for you and your interests each step of the way.
Will My Head-On Car Accident Case Go to Court?
Whether your head-on car accident case goes to court depends on various factors, and not all cases end up in court. Most personal injury claims, including those arising from head-on car collisions, resolve through negotiations with the insurance companies involved.
However, in some situations, a case may proceed to court:
- Liability Dispute: If the parties dispute fault for the head-on collision, and the insurance companies cannot agree on liability, you may need to go to court to determine liability.
- Failure to Reach a Fair Settlement: If the insurance company refuses to negotiate a fair settlement that adequately compensates you for your injuries, medical expenses, and other damages, your attorney may advise pursuing a lawsuit to seek a more appropriate compensation amount.
- Disagreement on Damages: Sometimes, there may be a dispute over the extent of your injuries or the value of your damages. If the insurance company and your attorney agree on appropriate compensation, you may need to sue litigation.
- Statute of Limitations: In Virginia, a statute of limitations sets a time limit on when you can file a personal injury lawsuit. If the statute of limitations is about to expire, you may need to file a lawsuit to preserve your right to compensation.
- Serious Injuries or Wrongful Death: Cases involving serious injuries or wrongful death are more likely to go to court, as the potential damages can increase, and insurance companies do not want to offer full compensation.
- Bad Faith by the Insurance Company: If you believe that the insurance company is acting in bad faith by refusing to negotiate or denying your claim without valid reasons, you may have a basis for a bad faith insurance claim, which could lead to litigation.
- Complex Legal or Liability Issues: Cases with complex legal or liability issues may be more likely to end up in court, as the parties may need a judge or jury to resolve intricate legal questions.
Your attorney will play a crucial role in helping you assess the likelihood of your case going to court. They will negotiate with the insurance companies and attempt to reach a fair settlement. If negotiations break down, they can advise you on the best course of action, which may involve filing a lawsuit.
Even if you file a lawsuit, many cases still settle before going to trial through pretrial negotiations or alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation.
Ultimately, the decision on whether your head-on car accident case goes to court will depend on the specific circumstances of your personal injury case and the actions taken by all parties involved. Your attorney will provide guidance based on your best interests and the pursuit of fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Can I Afford a Virginia Car Accident Attorney?
Yes. Working with a car accident attorney in Virginia should cost you nothing upfront because most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis.
Under this arrangement, the attorney will handle your claim and work to help you recover compensation without requiring a retainer or billing you for their services.
At Right Path Law Group PLLC, we represent all our injury clients on a contingency basis, and we will only accept a fee if we negotiate a fair settlement for you with the insurance company or win your case at trial. If we don’t recover damages on your behalf, you owe us nothing.
What’s Virginia’s Statute of Limitations for Filing a Head-On Collision Injury Claim?
Virginia’s statute of limitations for most personal injury claims based on negligence—including head-on car accident claims—is two years from the date of your injury. You must have an attorney file your lawsuit in civil court before the statute of limitations expires, or the court will likely dismiss your case and you will have no legal recourse for getting the compensation you need.
Keep in mind that certain exceptions can toll (or extend) the time you have to file, such as accidents involving minors and other factors. Also, claims against government entities typically have short timelines and special requirements for filing, so you need to consult a personal injury attorney right away.
Contact Right Path Law Group PLLC Today Regarding Your Northern Virginia Head-On Car Accident Claim
If the actions of a negligent driver caused a head-on collision that injured you or claimed the life of a close family member in Northern Virginia, contact the attorneys at Right Path Law Group PLLC as soon as possible.
Our dedicated legal team Fairfax personal injury attorneys will advise you of your options and work with you throughout the process to help you obtain the full and fair financial recovery you deserve.
Call us at (703) 637-9999 or complete our online contact form for a free consultation.