In the year 2017, Florida had a total of 16.6 million licensed drivers and an estimated 395,785 car accidents, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV). As of 2018, there have been 254,714 total crashes and 161,110 total injuries in Florida, according to Florida’s Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). With so many car accidents taking place in Florida, it may be only a matter of time before you are involved in a head-on collision. Hopefully, this never happens to you or any of your loved ones, but with crash prevalence increasing, it is important—now more than ever before—that you know what to do when you are involved in a head-on crash situation.
What are Head-On Collisions or Head-On Crashes?
A head-on motor vehicle accident is an extremely dangerous vehicle accident that is usually caused by an error by the drivers of one or more cars involved. The outcome of the accident may also be referred to as a head-on crash.
The reason why an error in judgment has probably occurred is due to the placement of the cars. In order for a crash to be classified as a "head-on" collision or a "head-on crash," the front of the cars must impact. This type of front-to-front collision is most common at an intersection or on a highway when cars travel in opposite directions very closely together.
While no two accidents are exactly the same, many of them have similar elements, such as:
Common Head-On Collision Injuries
- Traumatic injury to the brain, head, or spinal cord
- Broken bones
- Cutting and bruising
- Turning too quickly
- A driver falls asleep at the wheel.
- Failure to adhere to road signage
- An incorrect gauge of when to pass
- Turning into on-coming traffic
- Swinging wide around a blind turn
- Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs.
- Poor visibility due to inclement weather
- Losing control of the vehicle on a wet road
- Altered traffic patterns or construction
- Tire blowouts
- Obstacles in the road
- Potholes and other unexpected road bumps
While some accidents may be caused by a single element, others can be caused by the presence of multiple elements coordinated by more than one driver. In those instances, it can be quite tricky to determine which party was at fault. That’s where car accident attorneys in Florida come in. An experienced attorney specializing in car accident cases and head-on crashes can help you determine if you are indeed the aggrieved party in your accident and decide if your case is worth pursuing or not, and how to go about starting the process if it is.
Determining Whose to Fault for Head on Crashes in Florida
Having awareness of the elements that may lead to a head-on motor vehicle accident accomplishes two things. First, it allows you to possibly avoid such instances (as in the case of inclement weather, driving when under the influence, drowsy driving, etc.). Secondly, it can also help in determining which driver is most at fault.
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. This means that your insurance provider will cover minor accidents as long as you are covered by a policy. According to the Florida DHSMV, the state requires drivers to buy personal injury protection insurance, also known as PIP. This type of insurance covers medical and attendant costs up to $10,000. In order to receive higher compensation (for serious injury cases), you will need to file a claim against the other party.
Another thing to consider is that Florida courts have affirmed a car owner’s right to bring a diminished value claim against the insurance provider of the at-fault party. The term "diminished value" is defined as "the difference in your car's market value before and after the accident."
Because while you may be thinking only of physical damage to your vehicle, there is also the diminished value of your vehicle to consider, which will greatly affect your car’s resale value.
What Should I Do After a Car Accident?
Unfortunately, car crashes and other vehicular collisions happen far too frequently. In the likelihood of a head-on collision or a head-on crash, you must consider the following:
- Stay Calm: Do not panic. Try to remain as calm as possible and assess what has happened, as well as your surroundings. If you observe or you can predict that you are or will be in harm’s way, immediately remove yourself from the dangerous situation.
- Help: After viewing the situation, assess your own body for injury. Since you are the one who knows your body best, observe yourself if you are feeling anything out of the ordinary that might have been the result of the accident. Check for cuts, sprains, and pains and if anything is broken. If you are capable of doing so, go to the aid of others in the crash. Help those who are the most grievously injured first.
- Call: Notify the local police and emergency services. Do so without delay if there are serious injuries involved, be it to yourself or to others. In an accident such as a head-on car collision, time is of the essence, and you never know when a few minutes may prevent a serious injury from becoming fatal. Call 911 for the Okaloosa County Fire Department, Emergency Medical Services, or Sheriff Emergencies.
- Seek Treatment: If you were injured in an accident, you must seek medical attention right away, even if you believe your injuries are minor. You might think you are okay, but there are injuries from a car crash that you might not be aware of, such as concussions or whiplash injuries. Only a licensed medical professional can properly diagnose and prescribe a treatment plan for your recovery.
- Document: If it is possible, make sure to obtain as much information as you can, but do so within the bounds of safety. Take photos of all the vehicles involved, paying extra attention to the damage they sustained and their license plates; the cars in relation to street markings and sign postings; street signs; nearby buildings; any obstructions or weather conditions; and close-ups of where the cars crashed together and any injuries sustained. Take videos of witness statements, your own condition and testimony, the surroundings, and the impact points on the cars. If possible, get the contact information of all the drivers involved in the accident. The more information you can collect, the more a car accident lawyer will have to build your case on. In case you need to seek medical attention and you incur medical bills, be sure to track your expenses as well.
- Contact your Attorney: Once you have gotten medical treatment and you have properly documented the
Seeking Compensation for Head-On Crash Injuries in Crestview, Florida
Hundreds of thousands of car accidents take place every year in Florida. Among them, head-on vehicle accidents or head-on crashes are considered to be one of the most dangerous types due to their front-to-front crash position. That position means one or more drivers made an error while driving. It can be difficult to ascertain the correct procedures to follow during and after head-on crashes. A car accident lawyer can help you navigate through the legal process if you or someone you know has suffered head-on collision injuries. They can assist you with pursuing the damage. Damages that arise from accidents are typically categorized into two:
Economic damages are defined as damages that are capable of pecuniary estimation, meaning the aspects of the accident that you actually pay for. Economic damage includes, but is not limited to the following:
- Medical bills, equipment, or devices—The term "medical bills" includes medical bills for present treatments, as well as future treatments for injuries arising from the accident.
- Vehicle repair—Naturally, in a car accident, your vehicle will sustain some damage, whether it is moderate or severe. If you are not the party at fault for the accident, you may have a claim against the party who is.
- Diminished vehicle value—As discussed, damage to your vehicle will diminish its resale value, even with repairs. You can have this assessed by an expert and include it as part of your claim against the at-fault driver.
- Transportation costs from home to doctor’s appointments and/or therapy.
- Future losses—Getting injured in a collision means you need to get medical treatment and a corresponding recovery period from your injury. Depending on the severity of your injury, you might have to miss work for days, weeks, or even months, which could lead to a loss of income and earning capacity. You may also include this in your claim for damages.
The second type of damage you may claim in the event of a head-on crash is non-economic damage. This is defined as the subjective and non-monetary loss you may incur when you get into an accident. Non-economic damage includes
- Pain and suffering—This refers to the level of discomfort you may experience after being in an accident. It can also refer to temporary or permanent restrictions on your normal activities.
- Emotional anguish, on the other hand, refers to the emotional pain or trauma you may experience as a result of your car accident. To illustrate, someone who regularly drove themselves around might no longer do so as a result of the trauma they experienced because of the accident.
- Loss of enjoyment of activities—This refers to not being able to enjoy the things you used to as a result of your injury. For example, someone who was active in sports might no longer like it because their injuries from the accident have prevented them from taking part in such activities.
If you have been in a head-on collision and sustained injuries, you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Contact Browning Law Firm today to get the support you need in order to pursue the compensation you deserve.