At the very least, you will know whether or not you are receiving a fair offer, and you will be able to make a more informed decision and how you wish to proceed.
What Causes Head-On Crashes?
There are a number of reasons why head-on collisions occur, here are some of the most common:
- Speeding: Going over the speed limit or driving faster than you can safely navigate adverse road conditions is a major contributor to head-on crashes. The danger is heightened when you are driving on curving and winding roads, or when you are driving in rainy, icy, or windy conditions.
- Reckless driving: Reckless or careless actions on the road put motorists in greater danger. Excessive speeding is one example of reckless driving. Others include following too closely (i.e., tailgating), weaving in and out of lanes, refusing to yield the right of way, and playing “chicken”.
- Drowsy or fatigued driving: Driving while fatigued or drowsy can cause a head-on collision when the tired or sleepy driver inadvertently weaves over the center of an undivided road and into oncoming traffic. Drowsy driving is more common among motorists who drive for a living and spend long hours on the road, such as commercial truck drivers.
- Chemical impairment: Driving while intoxicated negatively impacts the physical and cognitive skills of the driver. Some become drowsy, which slows reaction times and sometimes causes them to fall asleep at the wheel. Others become reckless and careless, with very little regard for the rules of the road and the safety of others.
- Failed passing attempts: When someone is driving on an undivided road with one lane going each way, they need to enter the oncoming traffic lane when they want to pass the vehicle in front of them. Sometimes, however, a driver attempts to pass a vehicle in a “no passing” zone and/or without adequate space to complete the maneuver safely.
- Wrong-way driving: Motorists driving the wrong way down a one-way street or entering a freeway ramp can end up in a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle. Wrong-way driving is usually inadvertent, and it often happens at night when it is more difficult to see the road signs. Regardless of the driver’s intention, however, driving the wrong way is still a negligent act.
- Distracted driving: Texting while driving and other forms of electronic activity while behind the wheel take a driver’s complete focus away from the road. This can cause them to inadvertently swerve into oncoming traffic.
Pursuing a Head-On Collision Injury Case in Virginia
Injuries resulting from head-on auto wrecks may include:
- Blunt force trauma;
- Head and facial injuries;
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI);
- Neck, shoulder and back injuries;
- Spinal injuries and paralysis;
- Burn injuries;
- Fractures/broken bones;
- Amputations/loss of limbs;
- Wrongful death.
Many of these injuries are severe, and there may be a long road to recovery before things get back to normal. Unfortunately, in some cases, those injured in a head-on crash never fully recover.
When another party is at fault for a head-on collision, the injured party has the right to be compensated for their losses, which is referred to as “damages”. Compensatory damages can be divided into two general categories:
- Economic damages: These are monetary losses the injured party incurs for things like hospitalization costs, the cost for surgeries and other medical treatments, rehabilitation expenses, the cost for ongoing medical care (in the case of a permanent and debilitating injury), lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and funeral and burial expenses (in the case of wrongful death).
- Non-economic damages: These are losses that are more intangible and difficult to quantify. Examples include physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment, disfigurement, and loss of consortium.
In rare cases in which the actions of the responsible party were especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to “punish” the wrongdoer and help deter them (and others) from committing similar acts of wrongdoing in the future. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000 (§ 8.01-38.1).
Pursuing a personal injury case in Virginia is more difficult than most other states because plaintiffs have a very high bar to clear. Virginia applies the “contributory negligence” legal standard. This means that if an injured party is found to have “contributed” in any way to the underlying accident that caused the injury (in this case a head-on collision), they may be barred from recovering damages. For this reason, it is very important to work with an experienced attorney who has the proven ability to successfully recover compensation on behalf of their clients with these types of cases.
Speak With a Skilled Virginia Auto Accident Lawyer
Head-on collisions result in some of the most serious and catastrophic injuries. If this has happened to you, you need strong legal counsel by your side working tirelessly to obtain full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call Schilling & Esposito today at 804-261-1001 to schedule a free consultation, or send us a message through our online contact form.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case.