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  • Head-On Collisions

    A head-on collision occurs when two cars traveling in opposite directions crash. Head-on car accidents are very serious and devastating because there is rarely enough time for a driver to react when they see a car heading straight for them. Both parties can be seriously injured or even killed.

    Like many car accidents, most head-on collisions could have been prevented, as they are most often the result of a negligent driver. The following are common causes of head-on collisions.

    Distracted Driving head on collisions

    Distracted driving is anything that takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and attention off driving, including the following distractions:

    • Cellphone use: Cellphones enable us to talk, text, get directions, send emails, take pictures, and more. Unfortunately, some people do these things while driving, causing accidents and deaths.
    • Rowdy passengers: Loud music, yelling, horseplay, and many other behaviors can cause driver distraction and potential accidents. Teen and young adult drivers are especially prone to having rowdy passengers in their cars.
    • Eating and drinking: Many people will grab a meal at the drive-thru and continue on their way, not thinking that eating and drinking can be distracting until it is too late.
    • Fooling with controls: Turning on the heat, finding a radio station, moving the seat, programming the GPS, and similar actions cause a driver to look down or otherwise away from the road. They can cross the center line in a second, plowing straight into an oncoming car.
    • Getting lost in thought: Sometimes, you can get lost in thought or begin to daydream, especially on a long highway trip. You need to keep focused on the road at all times.

    Drowsy Driving

    It is well-documented that most Americans lack adequate sleep. A fatigued driver is an unsafe driver, causing a delay in reaction time or leading to a driver falling asleep at the wheel. A front-end collision is often the result of a driver nodding off for a second or falling fully asleep.

    Impaired Driving

    Drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs are a common cause of serious injuries and deaths on the road. An impaired driver cannot usually stay in their lane and may head straight for a car coming in the opposite direction.

    Improper or Illegal Passing

    A driver may completely ignore signs and road markings that indicate passing is not allowed, or they may not know if passing is allowed. They may try to pass the car ahead of them and meet oncoming traffic with no time to react.

    Reckless Driving causes head-on collisions

    Reckless driving is a danger to any motorist in the path of this type of driver. Reckless drivers will often pass illegally or unsafely or weave in and out of traffic, making them liable for causing a head-on crash.

    Car Failure

    Sometimes, a car’s brakes, steering, or other systems fail, rendering a driver unable to control their vehicle. A front-end crash is a real possibility when this happens.

    Driver Confusion

    A driver may not realize they are going the wrong way on a one-way street or on a freeway ramp or the freeway itself. Whatever their reason for being confused, the result can be deadly.


    Speeding is harmful no matter where one is driving. A driver who needs to quickly react while speeding will most likely skid, sometimes right into the path of an oncoming car.

    Weather Conditions

    When it is rainy, foggy, snowy, or icy, drivers must change their driving for the weather conditions. Many do not and can easily hit a patch of ice, snow, or wet road and go skidding from their lane into the path of an oncoming car.


    Sometimes, a driver will swerve to avoid an animal or debris in the road or to avoid hitting a driver who abruptly stopped in front of them. Whether or not the swerve is innocent, it is still reckless if it causes a head-on or other types of collisions.

    What Are Common Injuries in Head-On Collisions?

    Head-on crashes by their very nature can cause severe injuries, including the following:

    • Traumatic brain injuries: The sheer force of a head-on collision can cause a driver or passenger to strike their head on the steering wheel, a windshield or window, the roof, or the back of the seat in front of them. This blunt force trauma can cause a traumatic brain injury, concussion, or other types of skull and head damage. Brain injuries are often lifelong and severely debilitating, usually affecting the person’s ability to work.
    • Whiplash and neck injuries: In a front-end collision accident, your head will often move violently forward and backward, causing neck injuries, such as whiplash. Neck injuries cause intense pain, stiffness, and limited movement. A whiplash sufferer will often need physical therapy and time off work to recover.
    • Back injuries: A head-on collision will fiercely jar a person’s back. They may severely strain the soft tissues and muscles of the upper, middle, or lower back. Back injuries are debilitating and usually require physical therapy, time off work, ongoing treatments, and possibly even surgery.
    • Spinal cord injuries: The spinal cord comprises delicate tissue and discs that can easily be impaired in a forceful head-on collision. These injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and leave a person with lifelong disabilities.
    • Broken bones: The force of a head-on collision will usually deploy an airbag, which could injure bones in the face, hands, or arms. Legs and knees will often be forced into a stationary object in a crash. This can result in fractures that may require surgery, long recovery periods, and a lifetime of pain and disability.

    Can I Sue After a Head-On Collision?

    All drivers owe a duty of care to avoid foreseeable risks of injury to another person. For example, choosing to drive drunk or text while driving is a breach of this duty because the driver is not avoiding foreseeable risks.

    To prove negligence in a head-on crash, you will have to show the following:

    • The at-fault party owed you a duty of care.
    • The at-fault party breached this duty.
    • You sustained injuries due to the breach of duty.
    • You suffered losses due to your injuries.
    Galfand Berger IconIt is best to start a potential legal claim by reviewing your case with a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury law. They will review the facts and present your options. Find a lawyer who has many years of experience in head-on car accidents. Galfand Berger has been helping injury victims for over 75 years!

    Why Do I Need a Lawyer After a Head-On Crash?

    If you have been hurt in a head-on collision, you will need to establish that the other driver was at fault. In other words, you and your lawyer have the burden of proof. This is true whether it is an insurance claim or if you decide to pursue a personal injury lawsuit.

    A lawyer will be the best resource to help you establish fault, negotiate an insurance claim, or pursue litigation. A lawyer can help in the following ways:

    • Know your rights and the law. A lawyer with a deep understanding of personal injury law can increase the likelihood of recovering the most compensation for your damages. They also know how insurance companies operate and how to defend against their tactics.
    • Handle insurance negotiations. Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing their losses, not making sure your losses are covered. They will try to lowball you and prey on your fears of medical bills and lost income. Do not accept anything from them. Let your lawyer handle all contact with the insurer and negotiate a fair settlement for you.
    • Determine compensation amount. It takes a skilled lawyer to determine the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive. They will analyze current and future medical expenses, lost wages or income, loss of ability to earn income, pain and suffering, physical therapy, and other related costs. They may subpoena records from health care providers for arbitration or trial purposes.
    • Prove liability. Someone injured in a car accident must prove the at-fault driver’s liability. Even if police and witness reports state the other driver was at fault, proving they were careless enough to breach their duty of care can be difficult.
    • Support the claim with evidence. A legal claim is only as strong as the evidence. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, calling in experts, such as accident reconstruction and medical professionals, to connect your injuries to the head-on collision. They will also collect documents, video footage, photographs, accident reports, statements from witnesses, and medical records and test results. They will use this evidence in both insurance negotiations and court if the claim gets that far.
    • Handle negotiations. Your lawyer will explain settlement offers and handle negotiations with the insurer. They can help you determine whether an offer is acceptable. Most car accident cases are settled out of court, so a trusted lawyer is a must.
    • Take the case to court. If negotiations with insurers out of court are not successful, your lawyer can take the case to court. They will file the claim and meet all process and deadline requirements. They will present the evidence confidently and defend against the insurer’s schemes and tactics.

    What Should I Do After a Head-On Collision?

    No matter how minor or severe the accident, the following are reasonable steps to take after a head-on collision:

    • Call 911 to summon medical help and ensure an official police report.
    • Always seek/accept medical help on the scene, even if you do not feel that the injuries are severe. If you do not receive or seek medical attention, an insurer can claim that you were not hurt and refuse to pay any medical bills.
    • Take pictures and videos of the scene. Capture the accident scene in its entirety, which includes vehicle damage, location of the accident, weather conditions, and injuries.
    • Talk to witnesses. Get witness statements, names, and contact information as quickly as possible.
    • Keep careful records of injuries and medical bills. A file of medical bills, insurance payments, medical records and conversations, out-of-pocket payments, and other costs related to your injuries will prove invaluable later.
    • Follow the doctor’s orders. Not following through on recommended therapies, medications, and other activities can make it seem as if you were not injured. Do not give insurers the chance to devalue your accident or injury.
    • Do not talk to, agree to, or sign anything with an insurance company, even your own. Consult with a car accident lawyer first to understand your legal options after a head-on collision.

    When Should I Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

    After any type of car accident, it is worth contacting a lawyer if:

    • You suffered injuries that required medical care and time off work.
    • Your children or other passengers sustained injuries.
    • You lost a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, or child, in the accident.

    It is important to note that Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule. This means you cannot receive any compensation in an accident if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the crash. However, do not let that prevent you from pursuing a claim. Your lawyer will advise you on your options.

    Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP Find Justice for Clients Injured in Head-On Collisions

    If you have been injured in a head-on collision or another type of motor vehicle accident, you should know your legal options. One of our seasoned Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can review your case. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or complete our online form to learn more and to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including Allentown and Harrisburg.