If you or a loved one has ever experienced the terror of a head-on car collision, you know it represents one of the worst car accidents. Even though the accident may only take seconds, the physical and emotional trauma may last for years. An accident qualifies as a head-on collision when the front ends of two cars collide. Generally, this happens when one of the vehicles is going the wrong way.
Head-on collisions happen across the country, but conditions in San Diego make the city more vulnerable to these types of accidents. The frightening emotional effects of losing control as the collision happens and the subsequent physical injuries require that those involved receive immediate medical attention. Once the medical situation stabilizes, seeking legal counsel should become the next priority. A competent car accident attorney will ensure the head-on collision victim will secure the funds to finance their medical treatment and lost wages and cover other prevalent expenses.
Statistics and Causes of Head-on Crashes in San Diego
Head-on collisions are a growing concern in the San Diego area. Though the number of injuries is about the same in head-on collisions as in other car accidents, the percentage of fatalities is considerably higher. In a recent year, San Diego reported 804 head-on collisions. Among those 804 head-on collisions, 775 injuries and 29 fatalities occurred.
Although head-on collision injuries only account for 5.9 percent of car accident injuries, 12.5 percent of the fatalities involve head-on collisions. The unnecessary deaths resulting from head-on collisions highlight them as a severe and dangerous problem.
Why Does San Diego Have So Many Head-on Collisions?
San Diego suffers a higher percentage of head-on collisions for the following reasons:
- San Diego's reputation as a party town. Downtown San Diego sits about 30 to 49 minutes from the Mexican border and Tijuana. Though relations between the neighboring cities have changed over time, Americans still frequently and easily enter the town for drinking and social drug use. In turn, this leads to many intoxicated partygoers returning home late at night. Drunk driving, distracted driving, and reckless driving can cause motorists to swerve into the wrong lane and in front of oncoming traffic.
- The lack of adequate public transportation in San Diego. There are few public transportation options, so people who drink find driving more convenient. The neighborhoods of San Diego are also geographically spread out, and you would need a car to get around. As a result, this leads to more crashes in general, including head-on accidents.
Dangerous intersections throughout the San Diego area. Some poorly designed intersections in San Diego have excessive traffic, making them particularly dangerous, with an increased risk at night. Some of the most accident-prone intersections in San Diego include:
- Paradise Valley Road and Deep Dell Road
- University Avenue and 1st Avenue
- El Cajon Boulevard and 36th Street
Injuries and Other Conditions Resulting From Head-on Collisions
Many types of severe injuries may occur due to a head-on crash. Some of the more prevalent injuries include:
- Damage to the back and spinal cord
- Blunt force trauma
- Broken bones
- Chest injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
The severity of the injuries caused by a head-on collision usually depends on the vehicle's speed during impact, the size of the cars, and whether the driver and passengers were wearing seatbelts.
Non-Physical Injuries Caused by Head-on Collisions
The adverse effects of physical injuries from a head-on collision may last years or even a lifetime. Even a so-called "mild" traumatic brain injury can leave an accident victim with symptoms that last months, affecting their livelihood and income.
However, the unseen impact that causes emotional and mental anguish may also significantly impair an individual's livelihood and quality of life. Studies show that even accidents with minimal physical injuries may result in long-term anxiety issues. The trauma of a head-on accident may result in psychological and emotional problems and physical injuries.
Where Do Head-on Collisions Occur in San Diego?
The San Diego area's vastness means that accidents, specifically head-on collisions, may occur anywhere. Five places, in particular, see the highest incidences of head-on crashes in San Diego County:
- Within the city limits of San Diego
- Between Vista and Escondido
- East of Escondido
- La Jolla
- South Bay
Two of the above areas are categorized as rural. Interestingly, the national average shows that head-on collisions occur twice as often in rural areas compared to urban settings.
In addition to the physical and emotional injuries brought on by a head-on collision, head-on collision victims also find themselves with financial problems involving medical bills, lost wages, and legal expenses. Your legal counsel should take all aspects of your financial losses and needs when negotiating your settlement for a head-on collision. Specific details that need consideration include:
- Damage to your vehicle and other property
- Emotional distress and ongoing anxiety
- Future and ongoing medical treatment, such as physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering cause a lack of productivity and lower quality of life
- Loss of wage and loss of future earnings
An experienced and thoughtful accident attorney will consider each case individually and fight for what's best for their client. They will carefully interview clients to learn the details of their case and determine the best course of action to make sure their client receives the financial settlement they need and deserve. Of course, your attorney should consider both the tangible and intangible elements of the case.
What to Do After a Collision
Immediately after any accident, the first consideration should involve medical attention. Especially in a head-on collision, the driver and passengers will likely suffer injuries. Someone should call 911 immediately. If the accident victims aren't able, someone witnessing the accident should make the call.
After the 911 call gets dispatched, the following should take place:
- The San Diego Police Department will respond to calls involving injuries or hit-and-run collisions.
- If anyone in the accident is able, they will need to go to the nearest police station to file a report.
- You should report accidents that involve road rage or road hazards to the California Highway Patrol.
- If an accident involves property damage, the parties involved should exchange the following information:
- Driver’s license number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- Owner of the vehicle
- Owner’s address
- Vehicle year
- Vehicle make and model
- Vehicle license number and state.
- Date, time, and location of the accident.
- Notify your insurance company of the accident.
- Make sure to retain a copy of the accident report.
The Importance of Legal Counsel
Experiencing a head-on collision often represents a life-changing event. Not only will you suffer physically and emotionally, but the paperwork involving insurance, police reports, medical bills, and claims may prove overwhelming. That's why you need the help of an accident attorney to help you through this challenging time.
What a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer Will Do for Your Case?
The most crucial role of your lawyer concerns proving the other party's liability. Under California law, the at-fault driver or party responsible for the accident must also pay for the damages. Throughout the process, your attorney can:
- Review your case with you and outline your legal options
- Listen to your concerns and questions and offer suggestions and support
- Take charge of hiring experts such as doctors and engineers to support your claims
- Handle the negotiations with the insurance company with your financial interests in mind
- Prepare to take your case to trial if needed
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Most consumers know that insurance companies are in business to make money. The insurance industry represents one of the wealthiest businesses in the country, with annual profits in multiple billions. The insurance industry operates on risk assessment to make enormous profits. A car insurance policy's premiums consider the driver's age, health, driving record, type of car, and city of residence.
When a driver files an insurance claim, the underwriter must look at all the factors, but their training teaches them first to consider the bottom line for the insurance company.
How Does an Insurance Underwriter Handle a Claim?
Once you file an accident claim, your insurance adjuster will take the following steps:
- Review the claim and check for the following information:
- Police report
- Your insurance policy number
- Names of both drivers and all passengers involved in the accident
- The other driver’s insurance information
- Details of the accident
- If available, photos of the accident and the vehicles involved
- Once they review the basic information, they will begin the investigation.
- The insurance adjuster will consider the damage to the car, the injury, and the details of the accident.
- Your settlement amount will depend on the type of car insurance policy the driver owns:
- Bodily injury should cover the medical expenses of the other driver.
- Property injury covers the damage to the other vehicle you caused.
- Comprehensive insurance covers the damage to your vehicle caused by circumstances other than accidents, such as theft and weather events.
- Collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by a collision, regardless of fault.
How Your Attorney Will Help Negotiate a Fair Insurance Settlement?
Your attorney knows your rights as an insurance policyholder. They're also well-versed in legislation surrounding the insurance industry.
The insurance adjuster usually respects the attorney's knowledge and the fact that they work in their client's interest. An attorney will ensure you get a fair settlement. If a policyholder deals with an adjuster without legal counsel and the agent denies the claim, they may not inquire why they rejected it. With legal counsel, you should receive more detailed information and your chances of a claim acceptance increase substantially.
Let a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer Help You Get Your Life Back on Track
Don't wait to contact a San Diego car accident lawyer for advice after a head-on collision or other accident. In California, filing a claim for injuries due to a head-on collision comes with a two-year statute of limitations. Start now so you have time to review the testimonials and success rate of your prospective lawyer to see the dedication and perseverance of their team before hiring them. Then, let your San Diego car accident lawyer seek compensation for you.