Legal Guide

Understanding Injuries and Fault in Head-on Collision Accidents

According to the Insurance Information Institute, head-on collisions accounted for over ten percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2020. These crashes caused more than 3,631 deaths and thousands of injuries in the same year. 

Head-on collisions are undoubtedly one of the most serious crashes, especially at high speeds. They occur when vehicles moving in opposite directions strike each other from the front. They also happen when drivers crash into stationary objects. 

Keep reading for a detailed explanation of the causes, injuries, and liability in head-on collisions.

Causes of Head-on Collisions 

Below are some of the common reasons why head-on collisions occur 

  • Drunk driving - Alcohol impairs vision and muscle coordination in drivers. As a result, intoxicated drivers could easily drift into opposite lanes leading to a head-on collision. 
  • Reckless driving - Drivers who engage in risky behavior like speeding could easily crash into stationary objects or other vehicles. 
  • Distracted driving - When a driver takes their focus from the road to reply to a text or answer a phone call, they may cross into adjacent lanes without noticing and strike other vehicles or objects. 
  • Drowsy driving - Fatigued driving is equally dangerous as a driver who sleeps at the wheel could easily lose control. 

Common Injuries From Head-on Collisions 

Here are typical injuries from head-on accidents

  • Whiplash 
  • Spinal cord injuries 
  • Chest injuries 
  • Back injuries 
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Scarring 
  • Deformities 
  • Burns 
  • Broken bones 
  • Internal damage to organs 

Determining Fault for Head-on Collisions 

Like other types of accidents, one of the drivers in a head-on collision is at fault for the accident and will be held liable for all losses. In most cases, the driver going the wrong way is at fault. As stated before, one of the reasons this happens is if the driver is tired or intoxicated. 

Sometimes, the companies responsible for building and designing roads are at fault if the road designs and signage cause confusion among drivers. A vehicle manufacturer can also be held liable for a head-on collision. For instance, autonomous vehicle manufacturers could be responsible when their systems fail and cause an accident. 

Compensation for Head-on Collision Accidents 

If you are part of a road accident for which you were not at fault, you may be entitled to compensation from the liable parties. The first and most crucial step is to hire a qualified attorney to help you file a claim against the at-fault parties. Your lawyer will also help you negotiate your settlement, thus protecting you from under-compensation. 

“Most personal injury claims are settled without the court's intervention. However, if both parties cannot agree on a fair settlement, the plaintiff can file a lawsuit where the court will help solve the dispute,” says injury lawyer Jim Onder. If the trial is successful, you may receive compensation for medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and psychological trauma. 

If both drivers are at fault for the accident, they can pursue compensation through comparative fault laws. If, for example, a driver was 30 percent responsible for the accident, they can recover 70 percent of their losses from the other driver. 

Different multiple liability laws exist depending on the state. Some states follow contributory negligence laws, which prohibit a driver from seeking compensation from the other party if they were, in any way, responsible for the accident. Your attorney will advise on the options available in your state.


Head-on accidents could leave victims with massive property damage and injuries. If you or your loved one is injured in a head-on collision, ensure you hire a lawyer to help with the legal proceedings regarding your compensation. Regardless, all drivers should exercise extra caution while driving to keep themselves and other drivers safe. 

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