Our head-on collision lawyers handle severe injury and wrongful death car and truck accident lawsuits. Our attorneys are based in Maryland but we handle head-on accidents in all 50 states when the injuries are grave injury or death.
When two vehicles collide head-on, their combined speeds drastically increase the impact force of a crash. Two cars traveling at just 40 mph down a highway who collide head-on suddenly experience forces as if they had been traveling 80 mph. This makes frontal accidents particularly dangerous.
Head-on accidents are dangerous for another reason besides sheer velocity. In these types of accidents, cars typically come to a complete stop immediately. This abrupt change in velocity, which accident reconstructionists term delta-V, is severe in this kind of accident.
Our head-on collision attorneys are familiar with jury awards and settlement compensation amounts for the injuries that commonly result from head-on accidents such as traumatic brain injuries, back and neck injuries, paralysis, and multiple broken bones.
How Do You Win Head-On Crash Cases?
Head-on collision cases are often easier to prove than other types of car accident cases because there is usually plenty of physical evidence at the scene. But you have to marshal all of the evidence quickly and in the right way. Our lawyers consider skid marks, breaking times, human error, black boxes, and other factors that can prove with a high degree of certainty the cause of an accident.
Our experts take this data and compile reports, diagrams, and animations so that we can show a jury just how a crash must have happened. As a result, our cases will likely settle long before trial. Our law firm has never lost a head-on vehicle crash claim.
Who Is Responsible When There Is a Head-On Car Crash?
Proving the other driver’s responsibility in a head-on car collision requires two things in Maryland. First, you must prove that the at-fault driver came out of their lane and into yours. In a contributory negligence state like Maryland, you also need to establish that you were in your established lane at the time of the crash. Under Maryland law, if both drivers are partially responsible, even if unequally at fault, neither party can recover.
As our lawyers said above, it is critical in a head-on wreck to immediately gather evidence after the crash. The location of the vehicle at the time of the crash is not always obvious after the crash because the cars rarely land where the impact occurred.
How Much Are Head-On Collision Cases Worth?
The median compensation award in head-on collisions nationally is just north of $30,000.
This is an incredibly misleading statistic. A quarter of the cases in the national study were for back strains. This must mean they factored in a great deal of parking lot accident cases where there is little property damage.
Most of the head-on vehicle crash cases we see involve death or a severe injury and these are almost invariably six and seven-figure cases (assuming adequate insurance coverage). Additionally, most cases head-on crash cases will settle before trial.
Often, the only thing that keeps the settlement value of these cases down is the insurance policies. Sometimes, the most important work we do in these cases is finding applicable insurance that can cover the loss in unexpected places.
What Is the Highest Verdict Your Law Firm Has Obtained in a Head-on Car Crash?
The highest verdict our law firm has obtained for a client in a head-on car accident was $8 million.
How Is Settlement Compensation Calculated in a Head-on Crash Lawsuit?
When you or a loved one are involved in a head-on collision, the physical, emotional, and financial toll can be staggering. As our lawyers have been saying, the force of the impact in these cases often leaves us surprised when our clients do survive.
In Maryland, as in other states, the law provides avenues for victims to receive monetary compensation for the myriad costs associated with such accidents.
One of the primary components of compensation in head-on collision cases is payment for medical expenses. These expenses can be extensive and include:
- Emergency Treatment: This covers the costs incurred from the time an ambulance arrives at the scene through emergency room treatment.
- Hospitalization: Often, severe injuries require prolonged stays in a hospital.
- Surgery Costs: Injuries from head-on collisions may necessitate one or multiple surgeries.
- Rehabilitation: Many victims need physical therapy to regain mobility and function.
- Ongoing Care: Some injuries may require long-term professional care, such as a live-in nurse or visits to a rehabilitation center.
- Medication: Prescription drugs can be a significant expense, especially if needed indefinitely.
- Medical Equipment: Items such as wheelchairs, braces, or home modifications to accommodate disabilities may be necessary.
The really important thing to understand here is that you can get compensation for all of your medical costs, including those that are paid by insurance under the collateral source rule that we have in Maryland and most states. The collateral source rule is a legal principle that allows you to collect the full amount of damages in a lawsuit even if you’ve already received compensation from other sources, like insurance. So if someone else pays for your medical bills after an accident, the person who caused the accident can’t use that to reduce the money they owe you.
Compensation for lost wages is another critical aspect, particularly future lost wages because of the length of the income stream that was missed. Victims are often unable to work while recovering, leading to a significant loss of income. In the case of debilitating injuries, the loss could extend to a diminished earning capacity over the victim’s lifetime. Factors considered include:
- Current Lost Income: This is the immediate income lost due to the accident.
- Future Earnings: If the victim’s ability to work is compromised long-term, future lost earnings are estimated and sought as part of the compensation.
- Loss of Earning Capacity: Sometimes, the injury might force a change in occupation, which could result in a lower-paying job.
- Retirement and Benefits: The impact on a victim’s retirement savings and other benefits like health insurance is also considered.
- Loss of Household Services: Even experienced car accident lawyers often miss this one. This is a huge element of damages, especially in wrongful death lawsuits. Loss of household services in a lawsuit means you’re asking to be paid back for the chores and everyday tasks you can’t do anymore because of an injury.
Pain and Suffering
The non-economic damages awarded for pain and suffering reflect the intangible consequences of the collision. In most personal injury cases where the injuries do not exceed the cap on damages, the biggest harm in the case is the pain and suffering. This includes:
- Physical Pain: The actual pain and discomfort experienced during and after the injury.
- Emotional Distress: Anxiety, depression, and PTSD are common after traumatic accidents.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: When victims can no longer participate in activities that were once part of their daily pleasure.
- Disfigurement: If the accident results in permanent scars or loss of limbs, compensation for the emotional impact of these changes is considered.
- Quantifying pain and suffering can be challenging since it’s not as straightforward as tallying bills and receipts. Lawyers often use expert testimony and previous case law to argue for a fair amount.
Pain and suffering in a lawsuit are tricky to put a price tag on because they are about the hurt and emotional stress from an injury, which does not come with a clear cost. Jurors tend to look at the medical bills as an anchoring starting point. They think that if the bills are high, the person probably went through a lot of pain and deserves more money for their suffering.
Is this reality? No. Often the correlation between medical bills and suffering is not strong. But there is a tendency to look for something – in the absence of guideposts – to find some basis to calculate pain and suffering.
Sadly, many of our lawyers’ head-on crash cases are wrongful death lawsuits. The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are complicated. Our law firm has a page dedicated to wrongful death damages under Maryland’s Wrongful Death Act.
Example Head-On Crash Settlement Amounts and Jury Payouts
Below are jury payouts and settlement compensation amounts in head-on car accident lawsuits.
Do these sample head-on accident stories and outcomes allow you to calculate a settlement amount for your claim. They do not. But these examples are instructive in understanding the relative range of compensation.
Keep in mind that if you are trying to drill down on a range of settlement compensation amounts, you are probably better served looking at the type of injury. Also, when you are trying to access how much your case is worth from a pre-trial settlement perspective, the car insurance company you are dealing with will have a huge impact on the amount of your settlement offer.
- 2023, Maryland: $100,000 Settlement The plaintiff was driving near an intersection in a mall entrance when then the defendant allegedly veered out of her turn lane and caused a head-on collision at low speed. The plaintiff suffered moderate physical injuries and the case settled for $100,000.
- 2023, Pennsylvania: $90,000 Settlement The decedent was driving northbound when a southbound vehicle driven by the defendant crossed over the center line into oncoming traffic and struck the decedent head-on at moderate speed. The decedent died the day after the accident from his injuries. The settlement included $60,000 from the at-fault driver (policy limits) plus $30,000 in UIM benefits from the decedent’s insurance (also policy limits). This is an example of how insurance policy limits can devalue auto accident settlements.
- 2023, Nevada: $230,000 Settlement The plaintiff asserted the defendant fell asleep at the wheel, crossed over the median, and crashed head–on into his vehicle. The plaintiff reportedly suffered a left ulna fracture which required surgery. The defendant admitted he caused the accident and the defendant’s fractured left ulna but contested the value of the plaintiff’s claims for pain and suffering.
- 2022, Georgia: $56,250 Verdict A 45-year-old man was struck head-on. He suffered bilateral meniscus tears, a head contusion, and bilateral wrist bruises. The man sustained residual knee swelling. He could no longer work as a carpenter. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he failed to take evasive action and recklessly operated his vehicle. The jury awarded $56,250.
- 2021, Maryland: $290,000 Verdict The plaintiff reportedly suffered rotator cuff tears to her right shoulder which required surgery that left her with residual weakness of the right hand which required extensive occupational therapy, as well as PTSD and post-traumatic headaches, when here westbound vehicle, stopped at an intersection, was struck head–on by an eastbound vehicle operated by defendant.
- 2021, Kentucky: $10,000,000 Verdict A man was struck head-on by a truck. He died at the scene. The man’s family alleged negligence against the truck driver. They claimed he negligently drove while suffering from chronic fatigue. The family received $10,000,000.
- 2021, Michigan: $1,250,000 Verdict A 60-something man was struck head-on. He fractured his hip, right knee, right fibula, sternum, and sacral disc. The man underwent multiple surgeries to address his fractures. He also underwent physical therapy. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he failed to stay in his travel lane. The jury awarded $1,250,000.
- 2021, Washington: $100,000 Arbitration Award A 41-year-old man was struck head-on. He suffered a fractured and sprained right wrist, a triquetral bone fracture, headaches, a head laceration, and spinal pain. The man alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. He claimed he fell asleep while behind the wheel. Following arbitration, the man received $100,000.
- 2021, Georgia: $26,141,628 Verdict A 19-year-old man was struck head-on by a drunk driver. He died at the scene. The man’s family alleged negligence against the at-fault driver. They claimed she drove while drunk and was on her phone while driving. The jury awarded $26,141,628.
- 2020, Idaho: $5,000,000 Settlement An intoxicated driver fatally struck a 71-year-old woman head-on. Compounding this tragedy, the woman’s family claimed in their lawsuit the at-fault driver was drunk. He was driving his employer’s truck. This changed the game in terms of how much insurance was available to satisfy any settlement or verdict. This case settled for $5,000,000.
- 2020, Pennsylvania: $42,500 Settlement A 14-year-old passenger was struck head-on by an uninsured driver. She suffered a finger fracture. Her father’s insurer, Donegal, agreed to a $42,500 settlement.
- 2020, Washington: $191,863 Arbitration Award An intoxicated driver struck a 66-year-old woman head-on. The woman suffered an L2 fracture, a concussion, post-concussion syndrome, chest and pelvic hematomas, and soft-tissue injuries. She settled with the other driver for his $100,000 policy limit. The woman then filed suit against her UIM insurer, State Farm. Following arbitration, she received a $71,678 award. The woman also received $1,753 in costs and $18,432 in a PIP waiver. Her net award was $191,863.
- 2020, Georgia: $120,000 Verdict A woman was struck head-on. She suffered severe and permanent injuries. The woman alleged that the other driver’s negligence caused her injuries. She claimed she negligently turned left and failed to control her vehicle. A jury awarded her a $120,000 verdict.
- 2020, New York: $25,000 Settlement A woman was struck head-on. Her grandson sustained a left clavicle fracture and bulging discs. The boy’s mother settled with the other driver’s insurer for $15,000 and the woman’s UIM carrier for $10,000. Does this settlement seem small? It sure does. It may be that parties to the crash had small insurance policies. (New York’s minimum coverage is $25,000 but the at-fault driver in this collision was likely an out-of-state driver.)
- 2019, Iowa: $200,000 Verdict A man was struck head-on. He suffered pain in his neck, shoulder, and chest and depression. The man alleged that the other driver’s negligence caused his injuries. He claimed she drove on the wrong side of the road and failed to control her vehicle. The woman disputed the man’s injury claims. She argued that his injuries were pre-existing. The jury ruled in the man’s favor and awarded $200,000.
- 2019, Washington: $37,216 Verdict A 26-year-old man was struck head-on. He suffered a concussion and soft-tissue injuries to his neck, back, and knee. The man claimed the other driver’s negligence caused his injuries. A jury awarded him $37,216.
- 2019, Alabama: $75,000 Settlement A minor girl was struck head-on by an underinsured driver. She suffered severe injuries. Her father alleged that the underinsured driver’s negligence caused her injuries. He also brought a UIM claim against his insurer, State Farm. This case settled for $75,000.
- 2019, Washington: $2,350,000 Settlement A 17-year-old girl was driving her Mitsubishi. Another driver her head-on after falling asleep. The girl died from her injuries three days later. Her family alleged that the other driver’s negligent driving led to her death. They also claimed negligence against Mitsubishi because its defective airbags failed to deploy. Mitsubishi denied liability, arguing that the airbag light was on for three hours before the collision. The case settled for $2,350,000.
- 2019, New York: $250,000 Settlement A man is using a cellphone while operating his vehicle. He crosses over the center lane and strikes the plaintiff’s car head-on. The plaintiff, a 27-year-old woman, breaks her foot, ankle, and leg in the accident. Once she arrived at the hospital, surgeons install a rod in her leg to repair the fractures. She requires additional surgery to remove the rod and extensive physical therapy. She misses work for more than a year due to her injuries and continues to suffer from pain and physical limitations. The parties negotiate a settlement before the matter goes to trial. The defendant’s insurance, State Farm, provides for a $250,000 award.
- 2017, Pennsylvania: $130,000 Verdict The plaintiff, a 42-year-old woman, is driving on a two-way road. As she approaches an intersection, the driver in front of her makes a hasty left turn, cutting off a car traveling in the opposite direction. The car swerves into the plaintiff’s lane of travel, resulting in a head-on collision. She spends four days in the hospital. The woman’s injuries from the crash include two herniated discs and radiculopathy which are treated with physical therapy for almost a year. She still experiences pain and a limited range of motion. She claims that her injuries prevented her from running her business, which eventually had to be closed. After a day-long trial, a jury awards the plaintiff $65,000 for past pain and suffering and another $65,000 for future pain and suffering.
- 2014, Maryland: $96,789 Verdict A 21-year-old waiter files a lawsuit after being severely injured in a head-on collision after the at-fault driver crossed the center line. After being transported to the hospital by ambulance, the plaintiff is diagnosed with a comminuted ankle fracture and is admitted to the hospital for four days while he undergoes an internal fixation with the placement of two screws. The plaintiff is left with a permanent limp and is unable to continue working as a waiter. At trial, the plaintiff claims $34,188.69 in medical expenses and $12,600 in lost wages. A Montgomery County jury awards $50,000 in pain and suffering as well as the plaintiff’s lost wages and medicals for a total of $96,789.
- 2013, Maryland: $28,000 Verdict A 50-year-old nursing assistant is injured when she is involved in a near head-on collision. She sustains soft tissue cervical and lumbar injuries requiring physical therapy. The plaintiff files suit against the at-fault driver claiming he failed to maintain his lane of travel and veered across the centerline. In addition to denying liability, the defendant claims it is the plaintiff who veered across the centerline. The plaintiff’s District Court claim is transferred to the higher Circuit Court by the defense counsel. The plaintiff claims $9,683 in past medicals and $2,040 in past lost wages. A Montgomery County jury awards $20,000 which includes the plaintiff’s past medicals and lost wages, with an additional $8,277 for past pain and suffering.
- 2012, Maryland: $415,000 Verdict A 16-year-old competitive lacrosse player is severely injured when a work van crosses the center line and strikes her head-on. She suffers tibia and fibula fractures rendering her unable to play lacrosse and forcing her to lose out on a college scholarship. She files suit after undergoing open reduction and internal fixation with rods. Though liability is not an issue, the defendants dispute the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries and contend she made a good recovery and had resumed recreational athletic activities. A Baltimore County jury awards the young girl a compensation payout of $415,000.
- 2012, Maryland: $950,000 Settlement A driver is struck head-on by a vehicle that crosses the centerline, causing her to suffer humerus, hip, and thoracic spine fractures. She undergoes numerous surgeries, resulting in open reduction with the insertion of metal implants to repair the humerus fracture and total right hip arthroplasty. She is left with permanent scarring on her right leg and arm. She files a suit in Charles County claiming Defendant failed to maintain his lane of travel, but the parties reach a settlement before trial. She receives $600,000 in past medicals, $300,000 in future medical expenses, $25,000 in past lost wages, and $25,000 for future wages.
Getting a Lawyer for Your Head-On Collision Claim
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a head-on crash, this can be a trying time for your family. Reach out and get the help you need from our experienced attorneys. Our head-on collision lawyers are here to assist you through this process. Call our law firm today at (800) 553-8082 or contact us online. Our lawyers handle only serious injury and wrongful death claims.