Tennessee Head-On Collision Lawyer

Get the Facts About Head-On Collisions

As the name suggests, a head-on collision occurs when a single vehicle hits an object head-on or two vehicles make frontal impact, at any rate of speed. For this reason, the terms “frontal collision” and “frontal crash” may be used interchangeably to describe a head-on accident.

Figures from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute (IIHS HLDI) reveal that head-on collisions make up more than half of all fatal highway crashes. In fact, 2016 passenger deaths from single-vehicle head-on crashes made up 53 percent of car incidents, 48 percent of pickup incidents, and 45 percent of SUV incidents. Multi-vehicle head-on crash statistics from the same year resulted in even higher percentages for each type of vehicle.

Why Head-on Collisions Occur

Although head-on crashes can happen for a variety of reasons, they’re more apt to occur under the following conditions:

  • The driver of one vehicle is distracted (e.g., texting, eating).
  • The driver of one vehicle is under the influence (e.g., alcohol impairment, drug impairment).
  • The driver of one vehicle is driving inappropriately for weather conditions (e.g., during rain storms, snow, sleet).
  • The driver of one vehicle is speeding.
  • The driver of one vehicle does not follow proper roadway measures (e.g., running a stop sign, neglecting to look both ways).
  • The driver of one vehicle veers into another lane.
  • The driver of one vehicle is inexperienced (e.g., driver-in-training, young driver, first-time SUV or pickup driver).

Of course, frontal crashes occur under other circumstances as well. When they do, they can be devastating, and even deadly.

Common Head-on Crash Injuries

In 2017, Tennessee reported 598 highway fatalities, according to the TN Department of Safety & Homeland Security. Of those incidents, a high percentage likely involved some type of head-on crash.

Of course, despite the high fatality rates for head-on collisions, numerous drivers and passengers do survive these types of events. While a few leave the scene without lasting injuries, survivors are often left with temporary or permanent problems.

Some of the more common injuries for head-on crash victims include:

  • Injuries to the neck (e.g., whiplash)
  • Injuries to legs, knees, and hips
  • Injuries to the chest or abdominal cavity
  • Broken bones
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or concussions
  • Back injuries
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Many times, victims’ injuries may not be apparent at first. For instance, a man could walk away from an accident feeling fine, only to discover later that he simply didn’t notice his physical issues due to shock. In extreme cases, physical or mental injuries can lead to loss of work, heightened social anxiety, loss of income, and other significant fallout. At that point, legal help from a highly credentialed, experienced attorney may allow for recovery of damages.

Safety Precautions to Reduce Head-on Collision Occurrence and Injury

It’s not realistic to think that you can eliminate all the risks associated with head-on collisions and other types of vehicular crashes. At the same time, every driver and passenger can take some easy-to-follow safety measures before getting on the highway.

The first is to always wear a seat belt. Even in the case of a head-on collision, a seat belt can save the lives of everyone in the vehicle. A good example is a May 2018 White Pine, Tennessee, head-on collision where all three victims survived despite one vehicle’s turning on its side. According to reports, everyone wore a seat beat.

Second, be sure that you always drive with a clear mind. If you’re in a new place or driving on an unfamiliar road, pay close attention to signs. Follow the rules of the road, especially in “no passing” zones. Be sure to check weather forecasts, which can change rapidly. The climate in Tennessee offers several seasons of potentially challenging driving conditions.

Next, never drive if you’ve had anything to drink or taken any drugs. As an April 2018 Nashville incident shows, drivers who drink and cause a head-on crash can be criminally charged. Also, don’t assume that prescription drugs make it safe for you to get behind the wheel. Some pharmaceuticals, such as narcotics, are known to hamper driving ability.

Finally, always operate a vehicle that is safe for travel. Get inspections on time and fix issues. Be sure to pay attention to any recalls for your specific make or model. If you’re buying a new vehicle, examine the vehicle’s crash test rank and ratings. The IIHS HLDI offers its safest vehicle recommendations each year.

Had a Head-on Collision? What You Do Next Matters.

It happened in an instant despite your best efforts to prevent it: you were in a head-on collision.

Hopefully, your frontal crash resulted in no fatalities and only minor injuries. But if you have any lasting problems or questions regarding fallout from the incident, you may want to check on your legal rights with a knowledgeable attorney.

John R. Colvin has spent years working with victims of car accidents and is available to discuss your situation. Contact our Winchester, Tennessee, office to arrange a free initial consultation so you can get a better picture of your options.

Licensed to Practice in Tennessee & Alabama