Head on collisions are one of the most devastating types of automobile accidents. It is rare to find crash victims who can walk away from a head-on collision unscathed. All drivers should understand and be wary of the scenarios and situations that could lead to a head-on collision. It’s also important to be aware of the types of negligent driving and also the injuries involved with head-on car crashes.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a head on collision caused by someone else’s negligence, we’d like to hear about your case. Our experienced Michigan personal injury attorneys can help you to receive the just compensation that you’re owed. And while the injuries, trauma, and painful experience of a traumatic car crash can’t be undone, our legal team can help to recover monetary costs and ease the financial burden resulting from an automobile accident. The aftermath of a head on collision is traumatizing and overwhelming. By getting in touch with the Lee Steinberg Law Firm, you can regain control over the situation and let our team focus on putting the pieces back together. Our knowledgeable and compassionate car accident attorneys will put you at ease following a head-on collision in Michigan. We will handle communications with insurance adjusters and opposing attorneys so that you can focus on your recovery.
What Makes Head On Collisions So Dangerous?
Head-on collisions are very dangerous and damaging crashes. When two vehicles head straight into each other, the force from each vehicle is considerable. Damage can be extremely high whether both automobiles are the same size or if one is larger than the other. Because both vehicles are moving directly toward each other, the impact is far greater than a standard motor vehicle crash, such as a rear-end collision. Even at lower speeds, head-on crashes can be devastating due to the force or velocity of the motor vehicles involved.
It’s absolutely critical to wear your seat belt while driving or riding in a car. Seat belts, airbags, metal framing, and impact-absorbing materials can help to reduce injury if an accident occurs. With head-on collisions, however, the damage can easily exceed what your car’s safety restraints and components can handle. That’s why head-on collisions may be the most dangerous type of automobile accident that can occur.
Photos of automobiles involved in head on collisions demonstrate the force and power involved. The car frames and body components are often crushed, severely twisted or bent. Although head-on crashes can occur on busy highways, they are prevalent on rural roads, in particular two-lane highways where the lighting is poor and drivers lose focus.
Typical Causes of Head On Collisions in Michigan
Head-on collisions typically occur when a driver fails to pay attention properly and drifts off onto the wrong side of the road. Sometimes, a driver may accidently drive the wrong way down a one-way road or in the wrong direction on a highway ramp.
In addition to being unfamiliar with roads, drivers can cause head-on collisions if they act negligently or drive when they should not be driving due to:
- Impairment by alcohol or drugs
- Being too tired to drive or falling asleep at the wheel
- Driving too fast for the conditions of the road
- Texting while driving or driving while using a cell phone
- Being confused or unable to properly navigate a vehicle due to a psychiatric or medical issue
Similarly, many driving situations and scenarios can lead to a head-on collision. These include driving over the centerline on a two-lane road, making a dangerous passing maneuver, or turning left or right into oncoming traffic. While some head-on collisions can result from clearly reckless behavior or significant errors of judgment, at other times, basic distracted driving can lead to a head-on crash.
Injuries Caused by Head On Collisions
Head-on collisions can result in devastating injuries due to the very high force of impact. While head-on collisions have higher fatality rates than many other types of crashes, they can also cause severe injuries. The whiplash force that is caused from the impact can creates severe and sometimes permanent injuries on the spine. Beyond the initial impact, broken glass and flying metal components can also cause severe injury. Injuries resulting from a head-on collision include:
- Internal injuries such as broken ribs, organ damage, or internal bleeding
- Head and brain injury, including traumatic brain injury and concussion
- Spine and neck injuries, including broken bones and fractured vertebrae, possibly causing paralysis
- Abrasions, bruises, and burns
Traumatic brain injury is another common injury following a head-on collision. When a collision occurs, the brain’s connecting nerve fibers shears or tears as it shifts and rotates inside the bony skull. This shearing can cause permanent brain injury, resulting in memory loss, speech problems, cognitive dysfunction and other long-term problems.
It is important to get to a doctor right away following any car accident so testing can be completed, and proper medical care delivered as quickly as possible.
Car crashes are traumatic events, and there is the real possibility of experiencing intense emotional and psychological damage. Car accidents are among the leading causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the United States, and the effects on your mental well-being can last for years or even decades. Victims of head-on automobile accidents may need mental health treatment to cope with the effects, and the cost of this therapy could be covered by an accident claim.
Because the medical treatments for such injuries can be extensive, it’s also important that an experienced Michigan auto accident attorney handles your case. Recovering from such an extensive injury is a long, arduous process, and you may be owed compensation for your pain and suffering and for the costs of your future medical treatments and therapies. All of these costs should be taken into account when seeking monetary damages.
Pursuing Compensation After a Head On Collision
Regardless of the severity of your injuries, you are entitled to pursue the compensation that you are entitled to under the law. After the accident, it is important to seek prompt medical treatment for all injuries. Doing so will also establish a record of medical treatment for insurance claims.
When another driver was at fault, our legal team can help you pursue a liability claim against the responsible party for recovery for your excess economic damages and for ongoing pain and suffering.
We can also ensure you have enough money for future medical treatment and expenses through the use of a life care plan. Our dedicated team of Michigan car crash lawyers will work hard to collect evidence to build your case, represent you in negotiations with the other driver’s insurance carrier and attorney. We fight to reach a fair settlement for you, or to seek a favorable verdict in court if necessary.
Head On Collisions and the Michigan No-Fault Law
All car accidents in Michigan are governed by the Michigan no-fault law. Head-on collisions are no different. Under the no-fault law, the applicable insurance carrier – such as State Farm or Allstate – is responsible for paying all PIP (personal injury protection) benefits up to the coverage limit. PIP benefits include the payment of hospital bills, doctor bills, rehabilitation expenses, prescriptions and out-of-pocket costs. The insurance company must also pay for lost wages, household replacement services and other benefits.
The insurance company responsible for paying these benefits depends on the situation. First, you always start with your own insurance company first. So if you have Geico or Progressive, and you are injured in a head-on collision, that carrier will pay your PIP benefits. If you don’t have auto insurance, then the auto insurance of a resident relative (spouse, sibling, parent, child, etc.) must pay the claim.
If there is no car insurance at that level, then in most situations the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP) must pay no-fault benefits up to a statutory maximum of $250,000. The MACP is an entity managed by the car insurance industry with oversight by the state of Michigan. After an Application for Benefits is completed and returned, along with other documentation, the MACP will assign a car insurance company to pay PIP no-fault benefits.
The at-fault driver who caused the head-on collision is responsible for paying the pain and suffering he or she caused. The owner of the vehicle operated by the at-fault driver may also be held responsible under the Owners’ Liability statute. The at-fault driver can also be held legally responsible to pay medical bills and lost wages once the PIP benefits of the injured person is exhausted or used up.
For example, an injured person has $400,000 in medical bills following a horrible head-on collision in Detroit. That injured person was insured with Farm Bureau for up to $250,000 in PIP benefits. Once the $250,000 is paid by Farm Bureau, the injured person can go after the at-fault driver or owner for the remaining $150,000 in medical bills.
Compensation and Damages Following a Head On Collision
While there are various damages for which you can be compensated for following a head-on collision, the accident lawyers at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm will focus on recovering monetary damages for:
- Medical bills and treatment costs
- Future medical treatment
- Past and future lost wages due to inability to work
- Pain and suffering
- Physical impairment and physical disfigurement
Within these broad areas, there are many considerations to take into account. That is why the experienced Michigan car accident attorneys at the Lee Steinberg Law Firm will be your advisor and partner when seeking damages after a head-on collision.
Michigan’s Comparative Negligence Laws
When considering compensation following a head-on collision in Michigan, understanding comparative negligence is essential. Comparative negligence allows for the possibility that the plaintiff bears legal responsibility for the accident. Even when another driver hit your vehicle head-on, if your headlights were off or you were distracted, you could be seen as partially responsible for the accident.
While comparative negligence laws vary from state to state, in Michigan comparative negligence laws differ for economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include outstanding medical bills, medical liens and lost wages. Non-economic damage includes intangible losses and hams, such as pain and suffering and emotional distress and trauma. Under Michigan law, courts determine the extent of fault of each driver as a percentage of fault. For economic damages, your settlement will be reduced based on your percentage of fault. For example, if you are 40% at fault and a jury awarded you $100,000 in economic damages, you would be entitled to receive $60,000. If your percentage of fault was 70%, you would be entitled to receive $30,000.
However, if your percentage of fault is found to be more than 50%, Michigan law prevents you from receiving any non-economic damages.
Therefore, it’s critical to have a legal team on your side that’s compassionate, thorough, and experienced. Our Michigan car accident attorneys know how to right and win your case. This includes painting a full picture when it comes to determining fault.
How Can the Lee Steinberg Law Firm Help Me?
Following a head-on collision, the recovery period can be painful, long, and confusing. There are many steps and processes that a car crash sets into motion, and the amount of work and questions can be overwhelming as you’re trying to recover from a major accident.
By contacting the Lee Steinberg Law Firm as soon as you’re able following a Michigan car accident, our legal team can get to work right away. We will:
- Investigate the accident scene and look for evidence for your claim
- Contact and interview eyewitnesses
- Seek other witnesses and experts who can testify on your behalf as needed
- Review legal matters while keeping you informed
- Work with your doctors and help the insurance company and jury understand your injuries and the medicine behind them
- Handle negotiations with insurance adjusters and defense lawyers
- Remain committed to recovering fair and just compensation for your damages
Even though you need to focus on your recovery from the start, contact the Lee Steinberg Law Firm at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) as soon as possible so we can begin to help protect your rights and build your case..