San Jose Head-On Collision Lawyers
When a driver loses control and crashes into an oncoming vehicle, the impact can cause serious damage and devastating injuries. While head-on collisions happen for many reasons, they often involve what the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) describes as risky driving. When drivers drink, take drugs, speed, or engage in other reckless driving behaviors, their actions often cause otherwise preventable accidents.
A head-on collision is sometimes so severe that it causes fatal injuries immediately upon impact. Injured passengers who survive often deal with life-threatening injuries. These seriously and catastrophically injured accident survivors may require extensive treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term medical care. They may lose income due to temporary disabilities and an inability to work. Permanent impairments may diminish their earning capacity and change their personal, physical, and economic futures forever.
When drivers fail to control their actions and crash into your vehicle, it’s often with total disregard for the drivers and passengers with whom they share the road. At Bohn & Fletcher, we believe that drivers who injure others in head-on collisions should pay for their negligent actions.
Negligent Drivers Should Pay When They Cause an Accident
At Bohn & Fletcher, we work to ensure that negligent drivers pay for any damage that they cause. For more than 40 years, our firm has represented individuals injured in head-on collisions and other serious auto accidents. Our attorneys handle our clients’ serious and complex injury cases with clear-minded determination. We’ve taken on their battles and fought to maximize their compensation.
Our firm’s experience and resources permit us to do whatever is necessary to achieve optimum results. In evaluating and presenting our clients’ cases in the past, we’ve relied on our knowledge of complex liability issues, defective products, and fatal, serious and catastrophic injuries. When necessary, we’ve retained qualified experts to explain to courts precise accident causation and evaluate the full scope of our clients’ damages. We always work hard to make sure our injured clients receive monetary compensation from all parties that contributed to the injuries.
Our Law Firm’s Results
At Bohn & Fletcher, we only handle personal injury cases. Our specialization enables us to produce the best possible results for our clients. When we take a case, we prepare for legal challenges both inside and outside of the courtroom, but we seek amicable settlements with insurance companies whenever possible.
Our attorneys have negotiated our clients’ accident cases directly with insurance companies and their legal representatives. We’ve also resolved cases through mediation and other alternative dispute resolution platforms. When necessary, we take our clients’ cases to court. We are able to obtain and introduce substantial evidence to support our clients’ claims and ensure the success of their cases.
We’re proud of our firm’s results and of the public client reviews that acknowledge our firm’s dedication. We’re also pleased to share our case results to provide insight into our track record, such as:
- $45,125,008: Wrongful death verdict in Achilli v. Garcia for our client whose parents were murdered
- $45,000,000: Damages paid to our client who sustained brain and spinal cord injuries in a truck accident
- $2,000,000: A policy limits settlement for our clients’ adult child who sustained fatal injuries in an auto collision
- $8,100,000: A judgment awarded to a pedestrian who sustained brain injuries when struck by a vehicle
Head-On Collisions on California Roads
Head-on collisions occur when one vehicle crashes into the front of another. Generally, people assume that only risk driving behaviors can cause such a loss of control. Consider the following reckless actions that may cause a head-on collision:
- DUI: NHTSA statistics indicate that 10,874 people died nationally from alcohol-related accidents in 2017. Alcohol diminishes driving abilities at BACs far below illegal levels. It affects a driver’s judgment and muscle coordination. As blood alcohol levels rise, a driver’s perception also becomes impaired, and he or she may not be able to properly concentrate on driving.
- Drugs: Both legal and illegal drugs can impair a driver’s functioning abilities. Some drugs affect coordination and reaction time, while others trigger reckless and aggressive behaviors.
- Distracted driving: The NHTSA instructs law enforcement officers that lane control and driving into oncoming traffic are two of the visible signs of distracted driving.
- Speed: In 2017, speeding drivers caused 9,717 fatalities. Excessive speed makes it more difficult for a driver to control a vehicle or correct a driving error.
The California Office of Traffic Safety doesn’t track all risky behaviors, but it does maintain data on accidents involving alcohol and drugs. The 2016 statistics for San Jose report 650 alcohol-related deaths and injuries and 1,452 speed-related deaths and injuries for the area.
Head-On Collisions Cause Serious Personal Injuries
Vehicles involved in a head-on collision don’t need to travel at high speeds to cause serious damage. The crash dynamics are similar to side-impact or rear-end collisions. When weight and speed are both involved in causing an accident, they can cause a variety of injuries. As in other types of accidents, people in severely damaged vehicles often must recover from traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and other serious and catastrophic conditions.
In a head-on collision, front seat occupants often sustain the most serious injuries. During a severe impact, a car’s mechanical components may breach the passenger compartment. The weight and force of the metal can easily break or crush a driver’s or passenger’s legs, hips, and lower torso. Front seat occupants must also contend with dashboard injuries and lacerations from shattered windshields. Airbags help drivers and passengers avoid some dashboard and steering wheel-related injuries, but the bags often cause damage themselves.
Drivers and passengers sustain a wide variety of serious personal injuries during a head-on collision, including:
- Bone fracture
- Spinal cord injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Disfigurement or scarring
- Emotional pain and suffering
- Back, neck, shoulder, knee, and ankle injury
- Herniated or bulging discs
- Partial or total paralysis
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Traumatic amputations
- Severe burns
- Fatal injuries
Who Pays for Damages Caused by a Head-On Collision?
As with most vehicle crashes, drivers are the first parties in the chain of responsibility. However, depending on the accident circumstances, drivers are sometimes just one of a number of negligent parties. Potentially liable parties in a head-on collision include:
- Driver: When a driver negligently operates a vehicle, he or she is responsible for these actions.
- Vehicle owner: Vehicle owners are legally responsible for damage or injuries that involve their vehicle. California’s financial responsibility laws require that vehicle owners maintain liability insurance to cover their exposure. Owners may also incur liability if they negligently entrust their cars to someone whom they knew or should have known had a bad driving record.
- Vehicle manufacturer: If a vehicle defect, defective service, or defective repair contributed to a head-on accident, a court may hold the vehicle manufacturer, repair company, or service company wholly or partially responsible for the accident.
- Other negligent operators: If another driver caused or contributed to the accident, a court can hold them responsible for their percentage of fault.
What Types of Damages Can an Injured Person Recover?
Injury settlements usually include economic and general damages, and sometimes they may include punitive or exemplary damages. Economic damages are intended to reimburse out-of-pocket costs and anticipated future costs. The economic damages portion of a settlement includes these and other expenses:
- Medical bills
- Doctor bills
- Lost income and diminished earning capacity
- Mobility devices
- Home accessibility structures
- Physical and psychological therapy
- Medical transportation costs
- In-home replacement services
- Plastic surgery and scar revision
- Funeral and burial expenses
General damages pay an injured individual for personal, intangible losses. Settlements often include monetary values for emotional and lifestyle issues and other subjective damages. General damages may include these and other factors:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of spousal services and companionship
- Diminished family relationships
- Loss of bodily function
- Permanent scars and disfigurement
- Permanent impairments
- Lifestyle changes
Santa Clara County juries also consider awarding punitive or exemplary damages. To receive such damages, California law requires that a plaintiff prove that the defendant’s actions qualified as acts of oppression, fraud, or malice.
How Can Drivers Who Cause Head-On Accidents Defend Their Actions?
A driver who crashes head-on into another vehicle has few options for disputing liability. When responsible drivers or their insurance companies decide that other parties are negligent as well, they may attempt to avoid settlement by asserting one or more of the following defenses:
- No negligence: If a driver proves another driver or other issue—such as a vehicle defect—caused the accident, it may reduce or eliminate entirely his or her need to pay out damages.
- Comparative fault: Under California’s pure comparative negligence standard, responsible drivers often try to prove that the injured person or other parties also contributed to the accident. Unless an injured plaintiff is 100 percent responsible for the accident, he or she can still recover damages. For example, if a court determines that he or she is 10 percent at fault for the accident, the plaintiff can still recover 90 percent of the claimed damages amount.
- Damage mitigation: If a defendant proves that an injured plaintiff’s damages aren’t as substantial as claimed, a court will reduce its judgment amount.
- No defect: When a driver alleges that a vehicle or other defect caused the accident, the manufacturer, service company, and repair companies can avoid any need to pay out damages by proving that the product or service was in fact not defective.
At Bohn & Fletcher, we’re always prepared ahead of time to deal with creative defense strategies. Before we enter the courtroom on our clients’ behalf, we evaluate the evidence and determine our best legal options.
Call Our San Jose Head-On Collision Attorneys
If you or a loved one sustained an injury in a head-on collision or any other accident, you need a law firm that’s dedicated to protecting your legal rights. At Bohn & Fletcher, our attorneys personalize our efforts on behalf of our clients, and we strive to maximize compensation in every case.
Call Bohn & Fletcher today at (408) 279-4222, or complete our contact form, to schedule a free consultation. We handle personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means that if we don’t recover your damages, you don’t owe us attorney’s fees.