Lane and road departures often result from a loss of control by the driver. Intoxicated drivers are much more likely to temporarily lose control or focus and accidentally drift into oncoming traffic.
Drowsy driving is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents. According to the NHTSA, drowsy drivers accounted for approximately 44,000 traffic injuries and 800 deaths in 2013. According to a 2005 poll, about 60% of Americans admitted to driving while drowsy, and a scary 37% have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.
It only takes a few seconds for a distracted driver to lose focus on the road and drift out of his or her lane. If a driver is distracted by a cell phone, eating, or grooming, it’s much more likely that the driver’s wheel will become uncentered and cause the vehicle to depart from its lane.
The three most common causes of head-on collisions have one thing in common - an inattentive and/or impaired driver. A sober, well-rested driver who is focused on the road is much less likely to cause one of these devastating accidents.
In many head-on collisions, the at-fault driver can be clearly identified. Since most of these accidents are caused by some form of reckless or irresponsible driving, investigators and police can usually identify the cause of the accident and the guilty party. If there are any witnesses to the crash, they will most likely be able to give a statement about which driver drifted from a lane into oncoming traffic to cause the crash.
However, there are certain situations which make it more difficult to assign blame for the accident.
An At-Fault Third Party
In some head-on collisions, a third-party driver may be responsible for the crash. For example, if Driver A makes a reckless move and cuts Driver B off without warning, Driver B may panic and swerve into oncoming traffic to avoid a rear-end collision. This may cause him to collide head-on with Driver C on the opposite side of the road. Sometimes, Driver A may not realize his mistake and continue driving, leaving B and C to deal with the aftermath.
Unsafe Road Conditions
Some head-on collisions are caused by dangerous road conditions due to weather-related factors, poor maintenance, or obstructions. Some examples include:
- An icy or snow covered road may cause a driver to lose control and swerve into oncoming traffic.
- A large pothole may cause a tire to blowout or a temporary loss of control, leading to a collision.
- Another motorist may have lost a large object, such as a mattress tied to the roof of the car, forcing another driver to avoid the obstruction and consequently cause an accident.
The first two examples may place the municipality at fault for the accident, while the third is another example of an at-fault third party.
Occasionally, an automotive defect may lead to a collision. For example, a faulty brake system may cause a driver to veer into oncoming traffic in order to avoid a rear-end collision with the driver in front of him or her. In these cases, the automobile manufacturer may be held liable for the accident. If the car had recently passed an inspection without an identification of the problem, the repair shop could be held liable.
Life After A Head-On Collision
Head-on collisions are some of the most difficult to recover from, if a victim is lucky enough to survive the crash. Although they only account for about 2% of total traffic accidents, head-on collisions are responsible for 10% of fatalities. Many individuals who do survive such crashes are forced to undergo a long and difficult rehabilitation process. Some of these people spend years or decades recovering physically, mentally, and financially.
The victims of these accidents may have difficulty returning to their normal way of life, and the families of those involved in fatal accidents may never recover from the pain of suddenly losing a loved one. In many cases, financial compensation from the guilty party may help to partially alleviate such difficulties as:
Many head-on collisions result in permanent disabilities and chronic health problems which may require extensive medical treatment. For many victims, health insurance caps may prevent adequate treatment. In these cases, the liable party may be ordered to bridge the financial gap.
Lost Wages and/or Employment
Victims are often forced to miss extended periods of work, which may result in lost wages and possibly unemployment. Civil courts may hold the at-fault party financially responsible for future and past lost wages or the victim’s inability to find further employment as a result of the accident.
Quality of Life
Some victims may be saddled with lifelong disabilities as the result of a head-on crash. For instance, victims who are physically unable to work in their field again, or those who were previously very physically active in their personal life may receive financial compensation for a loss of quality of life.
The families of victims involved in fatal accidents are forced to deal with the anguish of losing a loved one for the rest of their lives. Along with pain and suffering, these families also deserve compensation for unpaid medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of financial support.
Victims and their families may be overwhelmed with the complicated recovery process following a head-on collision. We suggest contacting a Pennsylvania car accident lawyer who can assist you in building a case and receiving the financial compensation you need to recover as fully as possible.
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