Our Framingham injury lawyers were recently retained to represent three different people who were seriously injured in head-on crashes in Massachusetts. These three separate head-on collisions happened in the same week. The crashes occurred in Ashland, Southborough, and Charlton. While head-on crashes are not uncommon, it is not usual that we see three different head-on car accidents happen in the same week.
This is proof that drivers are becoming increasingly careless and distracted behind the wheel. These accidents all happened for different reasons, but the common factor in all these crashes is distraction. Below are some details about why head-on crashes are so dangerous and what you should do if you are the victim of a head-on crash caused by a negligent driver.
Head-On Car Crashes Are Amongst The Most Dangerous
Head-on collisions are extremely dangerous due to several factors that increase the severity of the impact and the resulting injuries. Here are some reasons why head-on collisions are particularly dangerous:
Combined Speed: Physics plays a major role in the severity of head-on crashes. In a head-on collision, the speeds of the two vehicles involved are essentially combined. For example, if two vehicles are traveling at 40 miles per hour, the impact speed effectively becomes 80 miles per hour. Clearly, higher speeds lead to more forceful impacts, which in turn result in more severe injuries.
Force of Impact: The force of impact in a head-on collision is concentrated on the front ends of both vehicles. This is referred to as kinetic energy. Kinetic energy is the energy created by an object (i.e., a motor vehicle) by virtue of being in motion. The sudden stop of a motor vehicle when colliding with another car head-on creates kinetic energy that determines the amount of force of the impact. More kinetic energy causes a more severe crash. Typically, the force is transmitted directly to the vehicle’s occupants, which greatly increases the risk of serious injuries.
Sudden and Unexpected Deceleration: In a head-on collision, the vehicles involved come to a sudden stop or decelerate rapidly upon impact. This rapid deceleration can cause the vehicle’s occupants to continue moving forward at their previous speed due to inertia. This can result in occupants hitting the windshield, dashboard, airbags, or other parts of the vehicle's interior, causing severe injuries like traumatic head injuries, facial injuries, broken bones, and internal organ damage.
Direct Contact of Front Ends: In a head-on collision, the front ends of the cars involved come into direct contact with each other. This often results in the vehicles’ parts, including the engines, axles, and other components being pushed into the passenger compartment. This creates a substantial risk of severe bodily injury to all occupants of both vehicles. Additionally, head-on collisions usually cause the airbags to deploy inside the vehicle. The airbags do offer a substantial amount of protection to the vehicle’s occupants. However, the airbags often cause injuries themselves, such as facial injuries, broken facial bones, and/or head and chest injuries.
Risk of Secondary Collisions: The obvious risks of head-on crashes are not only limited to the initial impact of the two vehicles. Head-on collisions typically lead to secondary collisions. Following the initial head-on impact of the two vehicles involved, they often spin, bounce, or are redirected into the paths of other vehicles, objects, or obstacles, increasing the potential for additional impacts and injuries. For example, in the head-on crash that occurred in Ashland, Massachusetts that our office is handling, our client’s vehicle was struck head-on and then our client’s vehicle was redirected by the impact into a utility or telephone pole. The strike into the pole was the secondary collision, which caused and contributed to more severe injuries.
Generally, the combination of physics and the potential for severe injuries make head-on collisions one of the most dangerous types of car crashes. For these reasons, careful, focused, and responsible driving practices combined with road safety measures and improvements in vehicle technology are critical to mitigating the risks associated with head-on collisions. While it is easy to get distracted behind the wheel, we all must do our part to make our roads safer for everyone.
Important Steps to Take After Being Seriously Hurt In A Head-On Crash
If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a head-on crash, it's important to take several immediate and subsequent steps to ensure safety, medical treatment, legal protection, and recovery. We always recommend that accident victims follow the Three Important Actions to Take After A Car Accident in Massachusetts. Below is a general guideline of what to do after being injured in a head-on crash that will help put you in the best possible position to recover the compensation you deserve.
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Since head-on crashes are amongst the most dangerous types of car accidents, getting medical attention right away is very important. A lot of times, head-on crashes cause very serious injuries and accident victims can be left incapacitated. In some situations, there are witnesses or bystanders that will call for help. However, if there is no one around, and you're able, call 911 for emergency medical assistance immediately. Your health and safety as well as the safety of others involved in the crash should be your number one priority. Follow the instructions of the responding police officers, paramedics, and other first responders on the scene. Provide accurate information about your physical and mental condition and the circumstances of the crash to receive the proper care and treatment.
Even if you don't feel injured, it's important to undergo a medical evaluation. Some injuries, like internal injuries or concussions, may not exhibit immediate symptoms. Therefore, if emergency medical responders do not arrive at the accident scene, you should at least go to the emergency room or urgent care to have a full medical examination.
Gather Information and Preserve Evidence
If the head-on crash wasn’t your fault, you have the right in Massachusetts to pursue legal action for financial compensation for the injuries you suffer and losses you incur. In a personal injury case, it is imperative that you preserve evidence and gather information. This includes preserving and gathering evidence immediately after a crash if you can. For example, if you're physically able, try to collect information at the crash scene, including the other driver's and vehicle’s information, such as their name, license plate numbers, insurance details. It is also important to try and obtain the names and information of witnesses to the crash in the event liability is disputed or becomes an issue. Additionally, pictures or photographs are almost always very helpful in a subsequent personal injury claim that arises from a car crash. Try to take photos of the accident scene, damage to the vehicles, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs or signals.
Similarly, you should continue to preserve evidence and collect information even after the date of the crash, including any medical records, photos of your injuries, accident reports, and any other documentation related to the crash. These items are necessary and will be helpful in establishing liability (i.e., negligence) and damages in a bodily injury claim or personal injury case.
Follow Medical Advice and Treatment Plan
Following your doctor’s recommendations and treatment plan is critical for two reasons. First, it will put you in the best position to, hopefully, make a full recovery from your injuries. While not all accident victims make a full recovery, following your doctor’s treatment plan and advice will help you make the best medical recovery possible. Healing from serious injuries takes time. This includes attending follow-up appointments, taking prescribed medications, and participating in recommended therapies.
Secondly, if you choose to pursue compensation for your injuries and losses suffered in a car crash that was caused by a negligent driver, following your medical treatment plan is vital to a successful result in a Massachusetts personal injury case. In a bodily injury claim, following your treatment plan helps strengthen your case. It demonstrates your commitment to recovery and supports the claim for compensation for medical bills and your pain and suffering.
Consult With an Experienced Massachusetts Accident Lawyer
If you suffered injuries and the other driver's negligence caused the crash, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Under these circumstances, you should consult an experienced Massachusetts personal injury attorney. A qualified accident lawyer will explain the injury claim process, inform you of your legal rights, evaluate your accident case, and guide you through the legal process.
The focus of our Framingham accident attorneys is to handle all the insurance and legal aspects of personal injury claims and cases to allow our clients to focus on their health and recovery. After a motor vehicle crash, there can be several auto insurance companies involved, a lot of paperwork and documents, outstanding medical bills, and other legal matters that need to be addressed. It is often a very stressful time for accident victims. Our lawyers and staff will absorb the legal and insurance work to allow our clients to pursue a stress-free treatment plan and road to recovery all with the goal to get clients the money they deserve for their injuries and losses caused by the other driver’s carelessness and negligence.
Car accidents and injury claims are unique, and it's important to consult competent and skillful legal professionals who can provide personalized advice suited for your case. If you're pursuing an injury claim in Massachusetts, involving an attorney with the necessary qualifications and experience in personal injury cases can help protect your rights and improve your chances of receiving full and fair compensation for your injuries and damages.