In the majority of head-on (frontal) collisions, the at-fault party is the driver who is traveling in the wrong direction. However, the liability for these crashes isn’t always obvious.
While they don’t happen frequently, head-on collisions are considered the most dangerous types of car accidents. They account for around 10% of driving fatalities. When not fatal, head-on crashes often lead to serious injuries.
Determining who is at fault in a head-on collision is key to recovering damages. If you’ve been hurt in a frontal collision, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out who is responsible, learn about your options, and get the money you deserve, consider contacting car accident attorneys from Eltringham Law Group.
Who Is Responsible for a Head-On Collision?
The main causes of head-on collisions are:
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
When determining the responsibility, the first thing to consider is the location of the vehicle. In the majority of cases, the driver of the vehicle traveling in the wrong direction is responsible for the crash. In this case, the driver’s insurance should pay for the other party’s damages. Other responsible parties could be:
- Jaywalking pedestrians – if a jaywalking pedestrian caused the vehicle to swerve and hit another car head-on, they can be found partially responsible for the accident.
- Vehicle manufacturers – if a vehicle manufacturer installed a faulty part (steering column, brakes), they could be liable for the driver losing control of the car and causing a head-on collision.
- Government entities – in rare cases, it may be possible to prove that local or federal government entities are responsible for the collision. This can happen if the government doesn’t provide proper road maintenance and, for example, a driver swerves to avoid a pothole and ends up in the opposite lane.
In some cases, both drivers may be responsible for the frontal crash. That’s where comparative negligence rules kick in.
Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that you can recover damages according to the percentage of your fault in the accident.
For example, driver A is distracted by a phone call and swerves into the opposite lane where driver B is speeding. After a head-on collision, Driver B sues driver A for $10,000. The insurance company or the judge determines that driver A is 90% responsible for the injuries while driver B is 10% liable.
Driver B can only recover 90% of $10,000 which is $9,000. If driver A decides to sue driver B for the accident, they can only recover 10% of the amount.
While helpful in some cases, the pure comparative negligence rule can be detrimental in others. That’s why if you aren’t sure about your liability, it’s important to hire an attorney. A car accident lawyer will do their best to make this rule work for you.
How do I Determine Liability in a Head-on Collision?
To determine liability, attorneys of both parties and the insurance company will work on collecting evidence, obtaining witness statements, studying the police report, and more. Proper investigations are key to evaluating liability, especially if it’s questionable.
According to the 2021 Florida Statutes, the crash report must be submitted within 10 days after the law enforcement officer finishes the investigation. This type of report contains crucial information, including:
- Direction vehicles were traveling in
- Traffic violations recorded at the scene of the collision
- Photos and videos of the scene recorded by the police
- Observations and notes made by the police officers
- Witness statements
Besides helping insurance companies or the court evaluate liability, a crash report is useful for determining when the clock starts running for the statute of limitations. In Florida, the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is four years.
The evidence collected at the scene of the accident is vital to determining responsibility. Experienced lawyers don’t rely on the crash report to paint the full picture. By taking photos and videos of the accident site, you or your attorney can find something that the police aren’t obligated to record.
For example, you could take photos of a pothole that may have caused the other driver to change lanes rapidly. Another important piece of evidence is a video of the crash. It may be possible to obtain videos from nearby stores or private properties.
Witness statements can be highly helpful when trying to see the full picture of the head-on collision. While police officers will take witness statements, your attorney could follow up with some of them to clarify details.
Witnesses can see the accident from a different angle than cameras or drivers. Their testimonies could prove to be the deciding factor in determining liability.
While it’s possible to collect evidence, study the crash report, and speak to witnesses without an attorney, it’s not always a good idea. Trying to determine liability without legal experience could cause you to lose your shot at a higher payout.
How Much Money Can I Get from a Head-On Collison Case?
Once you determine liability and prove another party’s negligence in a head-on crash, you can try to recover damages. The payouts in car accident claims vary from thousands to millions of dollars.
One of the most important factors in determining the final amount is the extent of your injuries. Since head-on collisions often result in serious health issues, the payouts are generally higher than in other car accident lawsuits. To get the money you deserve, you would need to:
- Present extensive evidence
- Provide expert witness testimonies
- Negotiate with the insurance company
The experience and expertise of your car accident lawyer are crucial to the positive outcome of your case.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
If you sustained injuries in a head-on collision, you have a chance to recover damages. Fighting for your money while you are recovering can be complicated. An experienced car accident lawyer can take care of all legal aspects of your case and help you obtain fair compensation.
At Eltringham Law Group, we work hard to help car accident victims get the money they deserve. Contact us for a free virtual case evaluation today.