Law Charter

How Is Fault Determined in a Head-On Collision?

Not a week seems to go by when a head-on collision isn’t reported in the news.  In this article regarding a crash that happened in Lexington, the author states that around 2% of car crashes are head-on crashes, and 30% of the people involved in these types of accidents end up dying.  Who is responsible for a crash like this depends on negligence.  That is what we are going to take a closer look at in this article.

Negligence

Who is at fault for a head-on collision depends on negligence, but things aren’t usually as simple.  When fault is determined, a jury will look at things like whether the drivers were driving with reasonable care, whether the drivers were under the influence, whether the vehicles were safe, and whether the drivers were distracted.  Sometimes, both parties will be to blame for the accident, and it is usually up to a jury to determine this.  In cases like this, both parties may be able to claim damages.

When determining fault, a jury will look at the negligence laws in the specific state.  In order for a claimant to receive damages, they usually need to prove that the defendant’s negligence played a large part in their injuries (and/or death), that the defendant breached their duty of care due to negligence, and that the defendant owed a duty of care in the first place.  For the latter, the claimant will need to prove that the defendant wasn’t using reasonable care when driving.

Damages

If you have been injured in a head-on collision that wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to make a personal injury claim for both financial and non-financial damages.  Some of the things you can claim for include pain and suffering, repairs to your vehicle, medical and ambulance bills, ongoing treatment and medication, lost wages and lost earning capacity.  Some of these things may be easy to prove, whereas it may be best to hire a lawyer to help you make a claim for the remainder.

In addition to the above, if it can be proved that the driver intentionally caused harm or acted with clear recklessness, the claimant can also sue for punitive damages.  In states like California, there is no cap on the amount that can be claimed for these kinds of accidents.

Get Legal Advice

Due to the complexities surrounding personal injury claims like these, it is best to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible after the collision and hire someone to help with your case.  Many lawyers will work on a no-win no-fee basis, and many others will provide a free consultation to give you an idea of what the process will entail and how much you may be entitled to claim.  In most cases, your auto insurance company will not take care of everything in the weeks following an accident, and the other driver’s insurance company may encourage you to settle.  Speak to a lawyer to achieve the compensation you deserve.

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