Every car accident is dangerous and puts life and limb at risk, but a head-on collision can be particularly devastating for victims. This type of accident directs the momentum of two moving vehicles directly against each another, often with deadly results. All drivers should be aware of the risks of these and other kinds of accidents, including statistics, how they happen, and what to do if you’ve been hurt in a crash.
Texas Roads and Head-On Collision Statistics
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDoT), maintains over 79,000 miles of highways in Texas—including U.S., state, and interstate roads, as well as farm- or ranch-to-market roads—and that’s not even counting city streets or other local roads.
TxDoT statistics also show that one person was injured in a car accident on the road about every two minutes in 2016, and one reportable collision occurred every fifty-nine seconds. One person was killed in a crash every two hours and twenty minutes that year, with a death toll of 3,773 people, a five percent increase over the previous year. Six hundred and thirty-eight of those people died as a result of head-on automobile collisions.
How Head-On Collisions Occur
There are as many reasons for car crashes as there are cars on the road, but broadly speaking, there are a few situations in which there is a particular risk for a head-on crash. A list of these situations would include:
- Distracted driving. Since smartphones and texting became popular, distracted driving has become an even more serious risk than ever. People using their phones while driving, adjusting the radio dial, eating, smoking, or looking at maps all take attention from the task of driving, which can cause a car to drift out of the lane and directly into oncoming traffic.
- Loss of control. A sudden blow-out due to improperly maintained tires, a reflexive reaction to a pedestrian or obstacle in the road, or brake failure can all cause a car to suddenly veer into oncoming traffic, with disastrous results.
- Prevailing weather conditions. Sleet or hail, ice, fog, rain, or even just momentary blindness from a rising or setting sun can lead to a driver losing control—and send them right into an oncoming vehicle.
- Driving under the influence. Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, whether prescription or illegal, can influence perception, slow reactions, and lead to critical errors in judgment, leading directly to a deadly accident.
No matter what happened to cause a head-on accident, the most likely causes are simply negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. In these situations, the victims have the legal right to pursue a lawsuit against the responsible person or parties to recover financial damages.
Liability in Head-On Collisions
Typically, in a head-on collision scenario, the responsible party is the one who entered the wrong lane of travel, whether it was intentional or accidental. Even if the victims share a portion of the responsibility for the crash, though, Texas law still allows victims to recover for a portion of the damages that resulted from the accident. Texas follows the “fifty percent rule” of comparative fault, meaning that you may recover damages as long as you are found to be less than fifty-one percent responsible for the crash, though your award will be reduced relative to your fault. That is, if you are found to be twenty percent liable, your award will be reduced by twenty percent. The driver who was found to be eighty percent liable will not be able to recover any damages.
Get Legal Help Today
If you’ve been hurt or have lost a loved one in a head-on automobile accident, the attorneys at Wayne Wright LLP would like to hear from you today. We work hard to get justice for those who have been injured by negligence, carelessness, and recklessness, and we’re here to help you and your family recover money for your medical bills, rehabilitation and physical therapy costs, vehicle repair and replacement, pain and suffering, and more. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals, call us by phone, use our contact form to send an email, or click the live chat box on this page right now.