By Sean Lally, Staff Writer
Head-on collisions can occur for any number of reasons. One of the drivers might have been distracted. Perhaps they were toying with their phone, having an in-depth conversation or just taking in the breath-taking vista of the surrounding country. One of the drivers might have been intoxicated, having ingested drugs or alcohol. Whatever the reason, head-on collisions are no joke. Despite the fact that they make up merely two percent of motor vehicle accidents on a yearly basis, they account for nearly 10 percent of crash-related fatalities. This is partially due to the fact that head-on collisions can be particularly hairy, often resulting in severe damage and injuries.
For this reason, if you’ve been in an accident – particularly a head-on collision, you should seek medical attention immediately after the incident. Failure to do so could hurt you in the long run. You might think that your only available option is to contact the appropriate insurance companies (yours and the other driver’s) and leave it to them to do the rest. This would be a mistake, as insurance companies, like most for-profit organizations, are after one thing: money. This means they will do anything in their power to lessen the value of your claim. To that end, if you miss the initial doctor’s appointment and an injury appears in the following weeks, the insurance company will likely argue that the injury was not the result of the accident. Thus, it may refuse to cover said injury. Without a doctor’s note, you won’t have much cannon fodder to fire back.
Most Important Thing
Thus, the most important thing for you to do is see a doctor immediately after an accident and go to any follow-up appointments. You can even ask your doctor for notes specifically explaining your condition in relation to the accident. The more evidence, the better. And once you’ve visited a doctor, you may want to consult with an attorney who has experience in automobile accidents. Your attorney can help you put together a case and guide you through the process of collecting evidence. The sooner you do this, the better.
But before you even get into an accident you may be interested in avoiding them altogether, or at the very least, diminishing your chances of being severely injured. Luckily, researchers have put some effort into understanding the relationship between driving behaviors and consequent injuries. To that end, scientists at Monash University have concluded that drivers should avoid traveling at speeds in excess of 43 mph, if they want to dodge fatal collisions. Of course, accidents occurring at higher speeds are not sure-fire death-traps. But as speeds increase past 43 mph, the likelihood of fatality increases exponentially. Part of the solution is conscientious driving, but the other part is better engineering and lower speed limits. Yes, we all want to get where we’re going as fast as possible. But the lesson here is this: speed comes with a price.
Types of Injuries
Head-on collisions are especially intense because the speed and direction of each vehicle multiplies the force of the impact. In this type of crash, drivers and passengers are likely to be injured due to high-velocity impact with the windshield, dashboard or steering wheel. This type of event can result in a whole slew of injuries. Drivers and passengers might experience brain injuries, bruised hearts, bruised lungs, pelvic injuries, hip injuries, neck fractures, or spinal cord injuries, to name a few. All of these can be worsened if the vehicle’s occupants forget or refuse to wear seatbelts. Also, it should be noted that the intense force of such a collision can cause a person’s innards to move at high rates, and when internal organs move, there’s an increased chance of organ damage. This is yet another reason to see a doctor as soon as possible, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
Once again, retaining a skilled attorney is a good way to maximize your compensation, not only for your physical injuries, but also for any intangible pain and suffering you may have experienced as a result of the accident.