Who Is At Fault In a Head-on Collision?

Head-on collisions result in casualties more often than any other type of collision. Drivers who survive the impact of such an accident will often suffer severe injuries and damage. Driver negligence is nearly always the cause of such collisions and negligence claims should not be pursued until you have spoken to a car accident attorney who has experience interpreting the laws of negligence and liability. They can advise you on your specific circumstances and your options for receiving the compensation you legally deserve.

Vehicle Orientation

To determine how the accident occurred, officers at the scene will document all contributing factors and evidence.  This will include clear photos and descriptions of the scene and vehicle placement. Based on where the cars stopped, officers can determine the general area where the crash happened. Officers consider these factors along with witnesses’ and drivers’ statements to decide who caused the accident.

These observations are documented in the official accident report. Although the accident report may not be admissible in court, it can be helpful for persuading insurance companies to pay compensation claims.

Driver Negligence

Every driver on the road is responsible for the safety and well-being of their fellow motorists. Drivers who act with disregard for the safety of others and who directly or indirectly cause harm or damage to other drivers are negligent. Signs, signals, and traffic laws give the right of way to one driver or the other to prevent accidents from happening. Failure to observe the right of way or maintain proper lanes are the most common negligent acts that result in head-on collisions.

After an accident caused by another driver’s negligent actions, you are entitled to be compensated for the damages and losses you have suffered. If your loved one died as a result of another driver’s negligence, you are entitled to receive compensation for that loss as well on behalf of your loved one. In the event the negligent driver dies as a result of the collision, you are still entitled to receive compensation from the estate of that driver. 

Fault and Liability

When a driver is found to have acted negligently causing a head-on collision, that driver is legally at fault for the injuries and damages sustained by the other driver. When a driver is at fault in an accident, they are liable for compensating the other driver for their losses and damages. There are three types of damages for which you may be able to seek compensation after a car accident.

  • Economic damages- These damages are easily valued. Property damage, medical costs, and lost income are all economic damages.
  • Non-economic damages- These damages are not as easily valued and can include reduced quality of life, and loss of enjoyment.
  • Punitive damages- This compensation is not for specific damages. Punitive damages are imposed as punishment for the defendant found grossly negligent. 

You may be entitled to compensation for some or all of these factors.

  • Medical bills, present, and future
  • Lost wages, present, and future
  • Damage to property
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of employment
  • Mental health needs

State Laws of Liability

Each state has laws that determine how negligence is assigned and who can seek compensation.

  • Comparative negligence assigns a percentage of fault to each driver.
  •  In a pure comparative negligence state, you are allowed to seek compensation for your injuries and damages even if your percentage of fault is higher than the other party’s. There are 13 states that use pure comparative negligence.
  • In a partial comparative negligence state, only the party with the lower percentage of fault is allowed to seek compensation. If your percentage of fault is higher than the other party, you may not seek compensation for any injuries or damages. There are 33 states that recognize a modified form of comparative negligence. Most of these states require you to be less at fault than the other party.
  • Five states recognize contributory negligence which prohibits you from seeking compensation if your negligence contributed to the event in any way. 

Why a Liability Lawyer Is Necessary

The laws of negligence and liability are confusing and must be interpreted with a thorough understanding of the law. An experienced attorney can not only advise you on the laws that will affect your liability claim, they know how those laws apply to your specific situation. Many factors can affect your ability to seek compensation and the amount you are allowed to seek as well.

Many liability lawyers offer free consultations and handle claims on a contingency fee basis, meaning they do not get paid until you receive compensation for your claim. This ensures that a liability attorney will not encourage you to pursue a claim that you are not likely to be awarded. If you have suffered injuries and damage due to a head-on collision with a negligent driver, you need an attorney who looks out for your best interests.

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