A head-on car accident is what you think it is: the front end of two moving vehicles collide. Our law firm has seen every conceivable -- and inconceivable -- type of car accident. Head on crashes are by far the worst. You are generally better off colliding with an 18 wheel truck in some way other than a head-on collision then having a head on collision. The number of catastrophic injury and death cases is the greatest in these types of accidents.
This is not surprising. Driving 40 miles and hour and hitting another object is treacherous in its own right. But when you have two vehicles both driving 40 miles an hour, you have, as a matter of physics, doubled the force.
Head on crashes are dangerous for another reason besides the sheer force of the crash: the size and the speed of the change in velocity. Expert accident reconstructionists use a physics term called delta-V to describe this phenomenon. Studies show that delta-V is a crucial indicator of injury, far more so than the extent of the property damage to the vehicles.Winning Head on Crash Cases at Trial
Head on collision cases are often easier to prove than many other types of car accident cases because there is usually enough physical evidence at the scene and because the police accident reconstructionists get the evidence that is immediately available. We are looking at skid marks, breaking times, human factors analysis, black boxes, and so many other things that can prove with a high degree of certainty the cause of the accident. Our experts -- and we get the best expert in Maryland - take this data and compile reports, diagrams, and animations so that we can show a jury just how the crash must have happened. As a result, it is unlikely that the case does not settle long before trial.
There is a study out there that says that plaintiffs win about two-thirds of these head-on crash cases. That is a number that is hard to explain. We have never lost a head-on vehicle crash claim. Only three come to mind where responsibility was vigorously contested by the insurance company. One case was with Allstate where their driver claimed that she came across the center line because she slipped on unexpected ice. We won that case.
In another Allstate case, the insurance company's lawyer argued that our passenger should have somehow known that the driver of the car was drunk. The jury disagreed (and awarded $8 million).
In the other, GEICO's driver denied responsibility by saying he did not cross the center line. But when we took the man's deposition, it became pretty apparent that he was a nice guy that just could not admit to killing someone. His testimony amounted to "I just can't believe I would do that." That case settled before trial.
The take-home message? Good plaintiffs' lawyers are going to win the vast majority of these claims.How Much Are Head On Collision Cases Worth?
Surprisingly, the median award in head-on collisions nationally is just north of $30,000. This is incredibly misleading. First, good frontal crash cases are going to settle long before we make it to the courthouse steps in the vast majority of cases. A quarter of the cases in the study were for back strains. This must mean they have 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. 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 places where you would least expect to find it.
- 2014, Maryland: $96,789 Verdict. A 21-year-old waiter files a lawsuit after being severely injured in a head-on collision after the adverse driver crossed the center line. After being transported to the hospital by ambulance, 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. Plaintiff is left with a permanent limp and is unable to continue working as a waiter. At trial, 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 Plaintiff's lost wages and medicals for a total of $96,789.
- 2012, Maryland: $950,000 Settlement. A driver is struck head-on by a vehicle that crossed the center line suffering 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 a total right hip arthroplasty. She is left with permanent scarring on her right leg and arm. She files 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.
- 2013, Maryland: $20,000 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. Plaintiff files suit against the adverse driver claiming he failed to maintain his lane of travel and veered across the center line. In addition to denying liability, Defendant claims it is Plaintiff who veered across the center line. Plaintiff District Court claim is transferred to the higher Circuit Court by the defense counsel. Plaintiff claims $9,683 in past medicals and $2,040 in past lost wages. A Montgomery County jury awards Plaintiff $20,000 which includes Plaintiff's past medicals and lost wages, with an additional $8,277 for past pain and suffering.
- 2012, Maryland: $415,370 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 lose out on a college scholarship. She files suit after undergoing open reduction and internal fixation with rods. Though liability is not an issue, Defendants dispute the extent of Plaintiff's injuries and contend she made a good recovery and had resumed recreational athletic activities. A Baltimore County jury awards to young girl $415,370 in damages.
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a head-on collision, this can be a trying time for your family. Reach out and get the help you need from our experienced attorneys, we are here to assist you through this process. Call us today at 1.800.553.8082 or contact us here for a free, no obligation consultation.