Head-on crashes are relatively less common, but they often are catastrophic or deadly. The U.S. Department of Transportation studied more than 3,600 head-on collisions and more than one in 10 (10.9%) involved at least one fatality. Given the extreme amount of damage that head-on collisions typically cause, these types of accidents are ones where it is especially important to retain a knowledgeable Santa Barbara car accident lawyer to ensure you're getting all the compensation you deserve.
While these crashes are somewhat rare, two recent ones in our area resulted in death. In August, a head-on crash on Highway 154 near San Antonio Creek Road (northwest of Santa Barbara) left a 22-year-old from Florida dead. A westbound Nissan sedan crossed the double-yellow line and entered the eastbound path of an Infiniti SUV. The crash killed the driver of the sedan and left the driver of the SUV, a 57-year-old woman from Oxnard, with major injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
More recently, a Buellton crash left two women dead. According to the CHP, the women's eastbound vehicle crossed the double-yellow line and entered the eastbound lane, striking a vehicle driven by a Buellton man. The head-on crash killed both women and left the Buellton man in the hospital with major injuries.
Errors that Tend to Lead to Head-On Crashes
Head-on collisions are often the result of one driver engaging in some type of negligent behavior behind the wheel. These acts of human error can take many forms, including driving while drunk or high, drowsy/fatigued driving, distracted driving, speeding, passing another car illegally, or confusion that leads to wrong-way driving.
These crashes often cause massive and/or permanent injuries, including things like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and internal injuries. These kinds of injuries often require those who suffer them to undergo a long period (or perhaps a lifetime) of medical appointments, rehabilitation, and therapy.
Achieving the best possible result in a head-on collision case requires many essential steps. One of the first should be retaining skillful legal counsel. The sooner you retain representation, the sooner your legal team can begin obtaining the police accident report and all medical reports, analyzing those reports for key info necessary for proving your case and establishing the extent of your injuries, obtaining statements from eyewitnesses who saw the crash, and assessing the need for expert witnesses, including accident reconstruction experts, medical specialists, vocational experts, or others.
Do not worry if there's some evidence that seems to indicate you were not blameless. California is what the law calls a "pure comparative negligence" state, meaning that you are entitled to recover the amount of damage you prove multiplied by the percentage of fault that you proved to be allocable to the other driver. So, say you were driving 55 mph in a 45 mph zone when a distracted driver crossed a double-yellow line and hit you head-on, and you established that you endured $800,000 in damages. If you also successfully proved that the other driver was 85% at fault, then you are still entitled to receive $800,000 x 0.85, or $680,000.
A head-on crash can be enormously painful physically. It can also represent great financial pain for you and your family in terms of medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other forms of harm you've endured. When it comes to getting fair compensation, look to the diligent Santa Barbara car accident attorneys at the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP to be the effective legal advocate you need and deserve. Contact us at 805-617-1365 or through our website to get a free case consultation today.