Head-on collisions may occur when a driver is driving the wrong way on a street or swerves into oncoming traffic. This type of crash can result in catastrophic injuries or even death. Often, accident victims face huge medical bills and need to take time off from work after this type of collision. Generally, it is best to do everything possible to avoid a head-on collision if confronted with the possibility. At The Law Office of Black & DePaoli, PC, our Folsom car accident attorney can help you recover damages if you are in this difficult situation.
Claims Based on Head-on Collisions
Head-on collisions happen when one driver ends up in another driver’s path. In some cases, it is purely driver error, but in other cases, there may be unsafe road conditions or a problem with a defective vehicle. There are also some instances in which both drivers get out of their lanes, resulting in a collision. People in vehicles involved in this type of collision can expect to suffer catastrophic injuries, particularly if the cars are going fast. The faster that the cars are going, the more severe or fatal that the injuries are likely to be.
In some cases, it is clear who was at fault. A driver who was driving in the wrong lane or in the wrong direction or who swerved into oncoming traffic is likely to be held responsible for the damages that result. To establish liability, you will need to show that the defendant owed you a duty of care, the defendant breached this duty of care, there was causation, and you suffered actual damages.
When a defendant drives the wrong way on a one-way street or swerves into oncoming traffic, it is likely that the duty of care has been breached in the context of a head-on collision. In fact, it may be possible for your Folsom car accident attorney to recover damages under a theory of negligence per se (negligence as a matter of law). However, there are instances that may be more complicated, or in which this type of action might be excused. For example, if a defendant suddenly had an epileptic seizure and lost control of the car so that it moved into your lane, this might be excused, depending on whether or not the seizure was foreseeable.
It is wise to contact the police if you are able to do so after a head-on collision. A police report may be used to show negligence per se. Negligence per se applies when a defendant violates a safety law or regulation that was designed to protect a class of which the plaintiff is a member against the type of injury sustained by the plaintiff. In most cases, being able to show negligence per se shifts the focus of the case to damages because liability is clear.
Comparative Negligence in Head-on Collisions
Sometimes both parties are at fault for a head-on collision, or another party is partly at fault for the collision. For example, if both drivers are distracted and fail to maintain their lanes, they may crash. The defendant may allege comparative negligence if this happened in your case. In some cases, it is necessary to retain an accident reconstruction expert to identify who was at fault and by how much. The jury will determine the total damages and also assign a percentage of fault to each person alleged to be at fault. The plaintiff’s damages are reduced by an amount equal to their percentage of fault. For example, if the total damages are $1 million, and you are found to be 40% at fault, you can recover $600,000 from the other driver.
In other cases, an accident occurs due to a failure to put up appropriate signs during construction, weather conditions, or poor road design. It is crucial to retain an attorney who understands how to establish liability in different situations that may be complex.
Damages that you may be able to recover include medical bills, lost earning capacity, lost wages, household services, vocational rehabilitation, lost enjoyment of activities, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.