Head-On Car Collisions

January 1, 2024 | Thomas L. Stroble
Head-On Car Collisions

Many types of car accidents often cause severe injuries, but head-on car collisions are one of the most dangerous. The Department of Transportation reports that head-on car collisions cause approximately 14 percent of all US traffic deaths per year and 27 percent of all roadway departure deaths. Furthermore, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states that the fatality rate for head-on crashes is more than 50 percent.

If you are in a head-on car collision due to another driver, you may have severe injuries and can be entitled to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit. Learn more about head-on collisions in this article, and speak with one of our Michigan personal injury attorneys if you have questions.

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Why Are Head-On Car Collisions So Hazardous? 

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Head-on crashes are one of the most dangerous of all auto collisions. Why? When another car comes straight at you at high speed, the effective force of impact can double. For instance, if you’re going 55 MPH and the other vehicle travels at 65 MPH, the impact force is approximately 120 MPH. The force of impact at such a speed is horrific and often causes devastating injuries and death.

Generally, the more kinetic energy the accident involves, the worse the crash impact. Also, the weight and speed of the vehicles will affect how much kinetic energy is involved. A car with less kinetic energy will suffer more damage than one with more energy. If you are in a small sedan that is hit head-on by an SUV, you will likely have more damage and injuries. Also, flying debris after a head-on collision can cause other severe and sometimes fatal injuries. It isn’t uncommon for crash victims to be severely cut by flying metal and glass.

The severity of injuries in a head-on crash will vary, but much depends on the rigidity and strength of your vehicle, whether you’re wearing seatbelts, and if the airbags deploy correctly. Even if your vehicle is top-rated for collisions, you still can suffer debilitating or fatal injuries, including:

If you lost a loved one in a head-on collision caused by someone else’s negligence, you can file a Michigan wrongful death lawsuit. You can receive compensation for medical expenses, burial costs, the deceased’s pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost income.

Why Do Head-On Car Collisions Happen? 

There are many reasons that head-on crashes happen. There is always the chance that a head-on crash occurs because of a mechanical failure or medical problem for one of the drivers. However, many head-on crashes happen because of another driver’s error, recklessness, or negligence. In many cases, the crash happens for one of the following reasons:

  • Distracted driving: Texting and driving is against the law in Michigan, but it still causes many serious accidents. Other types of distracted driving may also cause head-on crashes, such as looking at the GPS, changing the radio, eating, or drinking. 
  • Speeding: If another driver is speeding, they can more easily lose control and hit oncoming drivers. 
  • Drunk driving: It’s illegal to drive in Michigan if you have a BAC over .08 percent, but some drivers break the law and disregard others’ safety. Drunk driving can lead to confusion and poor judgment behind the wheel, and head-on crashes are sometimes the result. 
  • Improper passing: A driver might misjudge the time to pass another driver safely and hit oncoming drivers head-on. 
  • Fatigued driving: Some drivers, including truckers and night shift workers, may be more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel and hit other drivers head-on. 
  • Poor road conditions: Road debris, potholes, nearly invisible divider lines, and poor lighting are common reasons that poor road conditions can contribute to head-on car collisions. 
  • Reckless driving: A reckless driver can attempt to pass when it is against the law or may engage in street racing and hit another driver. 

Whatever the reason for the head-on crash, the resulting injuries are often devastating. If you and your attorney prove that the other driver was negligent, you can be entitled to damages for your medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

How To Determine Fault After A Head-On Car Collision?

All drivers have a legal obligation to obey traffic laws, drive in a safe manner, and avoid hurting other people. Drivers who don’t obey traffic laws and hurt others can be held accountable in a civil lawsuit.

For your head-on car accident lawsuit to be successful, you must prove that the other party was negligent and caused your injuries. The most critical evidence is where the cars hit each other on the road. If the evidence shows that the other driver was on the wrong side of the road, this will prove their liability.

However, all accidents are different, and there can be mitigating factors. For instance, if one driver was in the wrong lane because another hit them from behind, the driver that caused the rear-end crash can be held liable. Other important pieces of evidence that can prove liability in a head-on crash case are:

  • Eyewitness testimony 
  • Photos and video surveillance footage from nearby businesses or traffic cameras
  • Road markings
  • Vehicle damages
  • Police reports 

Car accident attorneys know that every head-on collision case is different. They will take all the time necessary to understand the underlying cause of the accident and ensure all clients get the best legal representation to maximize their financial return.

No-Fault Laws And Head-On Crashes

A handful of states, including Michigan and Florida, have no-fault car accident laws, and these cover head-on crashes as well. According to the no-fault law, each driver’s insurance provider is responsible for paying for PIP benefits up to the driver’s coverage limit. PIP benefits pay for a certain amount of medical bills, hospital expenses, rehabilitation, and out-of-pocket expenses. The insurance company also must pay for lost earnings and household replacement services.

In no-fault car accidents, you usually first obtain coverage for injuries and damages from your own insurance provider. Your carrier will pay for your initial damages up to your PIP limit.

If your expenses are more than your PIP limit, you have the option of filing a lawsuit against the other driver if you have suffered a ‘serious impairment’ of a body function or permanent serious disfigurement. Your insurance company also can seek reimbursement if the other driver caused the accident.

Suing The At-Fault Driver

Even in states with no-fault accident laws, it is possible in some instances to file a lawsuit against the driver who caused the head-on crash. To recover economic damages for extra medical expenses, you can file a claim with the driver’s insurance or a personal injury lawsuit against the driver in civil court.

To file a personal injury lawsuit against the other driver, you will need to prove these elements:

  • The other driver owed you a duty of care. 
  • The other driver breached their duty of care and hit your vehicle head-on. 
  • You suffered an injury as a result of the breach. 
  • You suffered injuries that meet the state’s threshold for serious injuries. 
  • You suffered excessive losses that are not covered by your PIP insurance. 
  • You have extra economic losses and/or non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. 

A third-party car accident lawsuit against the liable driver lets you obtain compensation for excessive medical bills and pain and suffering that PIP doesn’t cover. But you need to prove that your injuries meet your no-fault state’s aforementioned serious injury threshold. A car accident attorney can assist with building and proving your case. Often, no-fault laws define serious injuries as follows:

  • Injuries that cause a major impairment to a bodily function
  • Injuries that caused permanent, serious disfigurement
  • Injuries that caused death

If your injuries do not meet these definitions, you may be unable to file a personal injury lawsuit outside of the no-fault system. Your attorney will review your case carefully and inform you of your legal options, such as possibly filing a personal injury lawsuit.

How To Get More For Your Head-On Collision Claim?

If another driver hits you head-on, you probably have severe injuries, lost income, a totaled vehicle, and plenty of pain and suffering. While money won’t necessarily cure all of your problems from the accident, getting just compensation can help get you back on your feet and moving forward.

So, how do you get more money for your head-on collision claim or lawsuit? There are several things you can do right after the accident that will help your attorney with your case:

  • Get immediate medical treatment. The basis of any personal injury claim is that you suffered an injury. You need to prove this to the insurance company or jury, and it’s easier if you go to the doctor right after the accident. You should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible for your own health’s sake so you have the strongest case to present later to the adjuster or jury. Waiting to be seen by a doctor will open you up to claims that you aren’t as injured as you say you are. 
  • Call an attorney. As soon as a doctor has seen you, call a car accident lawyer to review your case. The sooner you retain an attorney, the more likely you can get fair compensation for your losses. If you delay hiring an attorney, you can say or do something that compromises your claim. 
  • Do what your doctor says. Insurance companies always will take any opportunity to reduce the value of your claim. To get more money for your head-on collision claim or lawsuit, follow your doctor’s treatment plan. If your medical records suggest that you are not following your physician’s instructions, the adjuster will argue that you are not trying to get better. 
  • Work to improve your health. Focusing on what the other driver did wrong to hurt you is understandable. Let your attorney worry about that, and you focus on getting better. When people see that you are trying to get better and overcome your injuries, it makes you look like a hero. This is especially important if the case goes to trial and a jury is involved. 
  • Be responsive to your attorney. Your attorney will do their best to get you the most money, but the success of some cases depends on you. If your attorney asks for information, get it to them immediately. If you communicate with your attorney infrequently, it will positively affect your case. 

In addition, avoid speaking with insurance companies until you have legal representation. Insurance companies may exploit unrepresented car accident victims, attempting to settle claims for less than their actual value. Without legal guidance, individuals may lack the knowledge to assess the full extent of their damages and the fair compensation they deserve. Insurance adjusters may use tactics to downplay injuries, shift blame, or rush victims into quick settlements.

Having a legal advocate is crucial to level the playing field. Car accident attorneys understand the complexities of insurance negotiations, ensuring you receive fair treatment. They assess the true value of claims, consider long-term implications, and negotiate on your behalf.

Legal representation empowers you to make informed decisions, protecting your rights and securing the compensation you need for medical expenses, lost income, and other damages. In the face of insurance company tactics, seeking the assistance of a car accident attorney becomes an essential step in securing a just and equitable outcome for you and your family.

Thomas L. Stroble Car Accident Lawyer in Michigan
Thomas Stroble, Car Accident Lawyer in Michigan

Speak To a Head-On Car Accident Attorney Today

Did you or a loved one suffer injuries in a head-on car collision? You might have devastating injuries, and perhaps even someone died in the accident. If you have lost earnings, pain and suffering, medical bills, and more, you should have a car accident attorney review your case. You can receive compensation for your losses if the other driver was at fault. Contact a trusted law firm near you as soon as possible for a complimentary legal consultation.

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Thomas L. Stroble Author Image

Thomas L. Stroble


Mr. Stroble is a highly accomplished graduate of Michigan State University, with degrees in both science and law. He specializes in commercial lawsuits and personal injury cases. Licensed to practice law in Michigan and even the U.S. Supreme Court, he’s a well-qualified legal expert. Besides his career in law, he loves outdoor activities and volunteers as a part-time police officer in Birmingham.

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