Harrisonburg Head-on Collision Attorney
Head-on collisions are among the most traumatic and damaging types of traffic accidents by their very nature. Their consequences can be utterly devastating, leaving accident victims with life-altering injuries, overwhelming medical expenses, and extensive property damage.
If you were injured in a head-on collision in Harrisonburg, you know all too well how terrifying these crashes can be. However, if someone else caused the wreck, you may be entitled to compensation that can ease your losses.
At Kendall Law Firm, our experienced Virginia car accident lawyers understand how devastating a head-on collision can be and are committed to helping people like you hold negligent parties accountable for their actions. Call us today at (866) 590-9773 or contact us online to learn more about your legal options during a free initial consultation with a head-on car accident attorney.
What Is a Head-On Collision?
A head-on collision is also often referred to as a “frontal” collision or a “front-impact” collision. This type of collision occurs when the front end of one vehicle crashes into the front end of another vehicle driving in the opposite direction. Head-on collisions can also occur when a vehicle runs front-first into a fixed object, such as a tree or barrier.
Dangers of Head-On Car Crashes
Although head-on collisions are rare relative to other types of accidents, studies suggest they’re significantly more likely to result in catastrophic damage, severe injuries, and fatalities. This is especially true when head-on collisions occur at high speeds.
The following statistics illustrate just how dangerous and destructive head-on collisions can be:
- According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in one recent year, head-on collisions accounted for 59 percent of all vehicle occupants killed in multi-car crashes.
- That year, 57 percent of car occupants, 66 percent of pickup occupants, and 60 percent of SUV occupants who were killed in multi-vehicle crashes died as the result of head-on collisions.
- Also in that year, 54 percent of all vehicle occupants who were killed in single-vehicle crashes died as a result of head-on collisions. This includes 55 percent of car occupants, 54 percent of pickup occupants, and 52 percent of SUV occupants who died in single-vehicle crashes that year.
- According to data from the National Safety Council, while head-on collisions accounted for just 2.7 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in one recent year, they accounted for nearly 5 percent of all injury crashes and a staggering 11 percent of all fatal crashes.
- That year, there were 4,000 fatal crashes, 5,000 fatalities, 153,000 injury crashes, and 277,000 nonfatal injuries resulting from head-on collisions.
- According to the Insurance Information Institute, vehicle occupants involved in head-on collisions do not benefit as much from vehicle safety features as their relative crash speed increases. For instance, researchers found that occupants involved in a head-on crash between two vehicles traveling at speeds of 56 mph would most likely sustain severe brain injuries, neck injuries, and leg fractures.
- Furthermore, IIHS found that, in one recent year, 29 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in two-vehicle crashes involving large trucks died due to head-on collisions.
Common Injuries as a Result of Head-On Car Accidents
Frontal collisions are particularly destructive because of the combined forces involved, and the results can be commensurately devastating.
Some of the most common head-on car accident injuries include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Spinal cord injuries
- Partial or total paralysis
- Back and neck injuries
- Knee and joint injuries
- Bone fractures and dislocations
- Burns, lacerations, and puncture wounds
- Abdominal and internal injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Amputation and loss of limb
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
Causes of Head-On Car Accidents
Like all types of traffic accidents, head-on collisions can occur due to many different factors, often in concert. These may include:
- Distracted driving – If a driver’s attention is focused on text messages, phone calls, or other distractions, they are much more likely to ignore road signs, overlook changes in traffic, or drift into oncoming lanes.
- Drunk driving – Even a relatively small amount of alcohol in the bloodstream can seriously impair safe driving abilities such as depth perception, reaction time, and good judgment. When people choose to get drunk and then get behind the wheel, their compromised driving abilities significantly increase the likelihood of disastrous head-on collisions.
- Drugged driving– Like alcohol, many intoxicating drugs slow drivers’ reaction times and impair coordination. They can also make drivers more reckless or aggressive. Even some prescription and over-the-counter medications can have intoxicating effects that increase the chances of head-on crashes.
- Drowsy driving – According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 24 hours of sleep deprivation can be just as detrimental to driving ability as a blood alcohol concentration above the legal limit. Drowsy drivers can cause head-on collisions if they nod off behind the wheel or accidentally drift into lanes of opposing traffic.
- Aggressive driving – Aggressive driving behaviors such as road rage and attempting to run others off the road can easily result in head-on collisions. If an aggressive driver swerves out of their lane to race ahead or block other cars, they may not have enough time to merge back before running head-first into oncoming vehicles.
- Reckless driving – Common reckless driving behaviors include lane weaving, passing on blind curves or hills, running red lights or stop signs, and street racing. Any of these dangerous behaviors can result in head-on collisions if negligent drivers fail to leave themselves enough space to react to vehicles in oncoming traffic lanes.
- Driving errors – Teen drivers, elderly drivers, and those with limited experience are more likely to commit simple driving errors that can result in head-on collisions. Examples include driving the wrong direction down a one-way street or failing to yield the right of way at an intersection.
- Defective car parts – Negligent manufacturing or a lack of proper maintenance can result in defective car parts that eventually fail. When an auto part fails while the vehicle is being operated, the driver can easily lose control and drift into oncoming traffic.
- Poor road conditions – Poor road conditions such as inadequate drainage or excessive potholes can contribute to loss of driver control that ultimately leads to head-on collisions. In some cases, even a single missing or concealed road sign can prevent a driver from seeing important road safety information, thus contributing to a head-on crash.
Who’s At Fault in a Virginia Head-On Collision?
If you were injured in a head-on collision, who’s at fault may be one of the first questions that come to mind. In most cases, a head-on collision accident occurs because one or more of the parties involved were negligent in some way. Generally speaking, a driver who enters traffic heading the wrong way is at fault for a resulting head-on collision, although they are not always exclusively to blame.
Depending on the circumstances, any of the following parties may be partially or entirely at fault in a Virginia head-on collision:
- One of the drivers – A driver would be at fault for a head-on collision if they entered a lane of oncoming traffic or failed to yield the right of way at an intersection because they were distracted, intoxicated, drowsy, careless, or otherwise negligent.
- Another road user – Another road user, such as a pedestrian or bicyclist, could be at fault in a head-on collision if they broke traffic laws in a way that caused a driver to swerve out of their designated lane. For example, this could occur if a jaywalking pedestrian forced an oncoming driver to veer into a neighboring lane to avoid striking the pedestrian.
- The at-fault driver’s employer – If the at-fault driver in a head-on collision was traveling for work-related purposes or driving a company car, their employer may be liable.
- A government agency – A government agency might be at fault for a head-on collision if the agency’s failure to conduct proper road maintenance contributed to the crash.
- A car parts manufacturer – A manufacturer might be at fault in a head-on collision if their negligent manufacturing contributed to the failure of a critical vehicle component, which in turn contributed to a loss of driver control.
Recent Head-on Crashes Near Harrisonburg, VA
Unfortunately, Harrisonburg is no stranger to head-on crashes. Just recently, the Augusta Free Press reported on two separate head-on collisions that left local residents dead:
- On January 6, 2022, a 43-year-old Edinburg man was rushed to Shenandoah Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries after a head-on collision with a box truck. The man had crossed a double-yellow line while traveling west on Route 55. He later died as a result of his injuries.
- On January 11, 2022, a 30-year-old Strasburg man suffered life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision along I-81. The driver entered the interstate going the wrong way and collided head-on with another vehicle. Although he was wearing a seatbelt, the driver later succumbed to his injuries at Shenandoah Memorial Hospital.
Contact Our Experienced Harrisonburg Head-On Car Accident Attorneys
Were you injured in a head-on car accident in Harrisonburg? If so, reach out to the compassionate head-on car accident lawyers at Kendall Law Firm. Call us today at (866) 590-9773 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about how we can help you seek fair compensation in a free initial case review.