Head-on collisions are one of the most dangerous types of car accidents. According to the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, head-on collisions account for 3.4 percent of all injury crashes and 10.1 percent of all traffic-related fatalities, although they comprise just 2 percent of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. An understanding of basic physics reveals why: When two cars traveling toward each other at equal speeds collide, it is like hitting a solid brick wall at that speed—and the results can be absolutely catastrophic.
Accident victims fortunate enough to have survived a head-on collision often suffer significant injuries that require extensive medical care and a long absence from work, burdening them with unexpected financial concerns at a time when they should be able to concentrate on their physical recovery. However, victims injured in a head-on crash caused by someone else's negligence may be entitled to compensation.
The following types of injuries are common among head-on collision victims.
When two vehicles collide head-on, the drivers and passengers wearing seat belts may suffer whiplash as their heads and necks are thrust forward while their bodies are held in place. The forceful and sudden jerking movements can stretch and strain muscles and ligaments in the neck, shoulders and upper back, resulting in symptoms such as:
- Severe neck, shoulder, and upper back pain that may worsen with neck movement
- Neck and shoulder stiffness
- Reduced range of motion in the neck
- Numbness or tingling in the arms
- Headaches that often start at the base of the skull
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Trouble concentrating
- Memory problems
- Sleep disturbances
Whiplash symptoms can take 24 hours—or longer—to present themselves. Prompt medical attention is necessary to document injuries and rule out more serious injuries.
Head injuries are extremely common among front-impact collision victims, especially drivers who often hit their head on the steering wheel on impact. This type of head trauma can result in concussions, which may cause relatively minor symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision. However, moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can result in a wide range of serious symptoms, including seizures, comas, and long-term physical, sensory, cognitive, mental, or behavioral impairments.
These injuries can be both physically and financially devastating, often requiring lifelong medical treatment, and home-health care or assisted living services.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Accident-related trauma to the spinal cord can result in injuries such as cracked vertebra, herniated discs, nerve damage, or even paralysis. Depending on the severity and location of the injury, the paralysis may cause a complete or partial loss of sensation, affecting the legs, other extremities, and the torso.
Like head-on collision victims with traumatic brain injuries, victims with spinal cord injuries may require extensive long-term medical treatment and care.
Lacerations, Contusions, and Broken Bones
Car accident victims often suffer deep cuts and scrapes, significant bruising, and broken or crushed bones, and those involved in head-on crashes are no exception. In some cases, broken or crushed bones may necessitate the amputation of a limb. Broken ribs can also lead to internal injuries such as a pneumothorax, more commonly known as a punctured and collapsed lung.
Front-impact accidents can also cause a variety of potentially deadly internal injuries, such as organ damage and internal bleeding. A ruptured abdominal aorta, which occurs when the stomach is forcefully compressed, is a common and often fatal accident-related internal injury.
Were You Injured in an Accident?
If you were seriously hurt in a head-on collision caused by another person's negligence, you may have grounds to bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault party. The experienced attorneys with the Morris James Personal Injury Group can help accident victims protect their rights and explore their options for compensation. Contact the Morris James Personal Injury Group today to schedule an appointment for a free initial consultation.