One of the most dangerous types of truck accidents is a head-on collision, when the front of the truck strikes the front of a car. Head-on collisions are relatively unusual, but they cause a disproportionate number of serious injuries and deaths. Since the vehicles are traveling in opposite directions, the force of the impact is magnified. Even if a victim survives, they may suffer spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, amputations, or damage to internal organs. People involved in head-on truck accidents also may develop post-traumatic stress disorder or other psychological conditions.
Since two vehicles should never be traveling in opposite directions in the same lane, head-on collisions almost always arise from driver errors. Common causes of these accidents include distracted driving, such as using a cell phone or eating or drinking behind the wheel. This may prevent a driver from seeing one-way traffic signs or hazards that could cause them to lose control of the vehicle. Truck driver fatigue also may cause a head-on collision if the driver falls asleep and veers into oncoming traffic. Sometimes these accidents result from alcohol or drug use by truck drivers, which may prevent them from properly controlling and maneuvering the vehicle. Other possible causes of head-on truck accidents include:
Passing on a solid yellow line, especially around a curve
Making a wide turn, which may require swinging the truck to the left, without making sure to avoid oncoming traffic
Poor weather, although truck drivers and other drivers have a responsibility to adjust their behavior to weather conditions
Chain reaction accidents in which a previous crash pushed a vehicle into oncoming traffic
Pursuing Compensation After a Head-On Truck Accident
To get compensation, a truck accident victim must prove that the defendant failed to use reasonable care in operating their vehicle, and this caused their injuries. In most head-on collisions involving only two vehicles, this is straightforward because the driver of the vehicle traveling in the wrong direction was almost certainly at fault. However, causation can be more complex in collisions involving multiple vehicles, such as when an initial impact pushes a vehicle into the path of an oncoming vehicle. A truck accident lawyer will investigate the events leading to a crash to ensure that they bring all the appropriate parties into the litigation.
Victims of head-on collisions often can recover damages for their medical expenses and any costs of future treatment. If the accident affects their ability to work, they may receive damages for lost income and lost earning capacity. Awards for non-economic damages like pain and suffering also may be substantial in these cases. If their injuries affect their ability to participate in activities that were important to them, a victim may recover damages for lost enjoyment of life.
After a fatal head-on collision, the family members of a victim may recover damages through a wrongful death claim. These damages are based on the financial support received from the victim and their intangible relationship to the victim. State laws define the family members who are eligible to receive damages through wrongful death claims.
Damages for the Estate
The estate of a deceased victim can receive damages for the costs of treating the victim before their death, in addition to any income lost between the injury and their death. Sometimes the estate can recover damages for the conscious pain and suffering of the victim.