Each year, there are more than 30,000 fatal auto accidents in the United States. Nearly 10 percent of these accidents happen in California. While many different types of auto accidents have the potential to be fatal, certain types of accidents present greater risks than others.
According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), collisions occurring at an angle account for the greatest percentage of accident-related deaths in the United States. The NSC’s data indicate that nearly 45 percent of all fatal accidents involve angle collisions. This includes T-bone collisions and other collisions at intersections—which are among the most common types of auto accidents in general.
However, in terms of the risk of fatality, data from various sources indicate that head-on collisions present the greatest risk for death. While head-on collisions account for only about two percent of all accidents on U.S. roads, they account for almost 11 percent of all vehicle-related fatalities.
At the Law Offices of Mickey Fine, our experienced car accident attorney is committed to helping families recover from the unexpected loss of a loved one due to others’ negligence. We have helped people throughout Bakersfield for more than 25 years.
Why Are Head-On Collisions So Dangerous?
Given the high rate of fatality in head-on collisions, it is worth analyzing what makes these accidents so dangerous. The data point to two related factors:
- Head-on collisions involve extreme forces that can cause severe damage. When one vehicle T-bones another, the force involved is simply the force generated by the speed of the vehicle that causes the collision. However, in a head-on collision, the force involved is the combined force generated by the speed of both vehicles. If both vehicles are traveling at 30mph, this is equivalent to each vehicle hitting a stationary object at 60mph. If both vehicles are traveling at highway speeds, a head-on collision will be equivalent to hitting a stationary object at well over 100mph.
- Most vehicles aren’t designed to withstand the forces of a head-on crash. At most, manufacturers typically crash test their vehicles up to 56mph—and they design much of their vehicles’ safety equipment to work up to this speed. However, as we just discussed, head-on collisions can involve the equivalent of much greater speeds. As a result, even if a vehicle’s safety equipment functions properly, it still might not be enough to prevent fatal injuries in the event of a head-on collision.
A third factor is that the drivers who are responsible for head-on collisions often do nothing to attempt to avoid the crash. Distracted driving is among the leading causes of head-on collisions, and a driver who is texting or scrolling social media may not realize that he or she is about to cause a serious (and potentially fatal) collision. Drivers who are drunk and who fall asleep behind the wheel are to blame for many head-on collisions as well, and these drivers are generally incapable of doing anything to attempt to avoid a fatal accident.
What are the Family’s Legal Rights Following a Fatal Head-On Accident?
Given that head-on collisions tend to result from driver negligence, families of victims who are tragically killed in these accidents will often be able to recover financial compensation under California law. In fatal accident cases, eligible family members can seek financial compensation for their loved one’s medical expenses, end-of-life expenses, projected future earnings, and other financial and non-financial losses.
Recovering just compensation requires evidence of fault, and this means that it is important to conduct a thorough investigation as soon as possible. The family should hire an experienced auto accident lawyer promptly, and the family’s lawyer may need to work with investigators, engineers, and other experts in order to conclusively prove how and why the crash occurred.
What if the Other Driver Wasn’t to Blame?
While driver negligence is the most common factor in fatal head-on collisions, it is not the only possible cause. For example, issues with one or both vehicles involved in the crash could be responsible; and, in some cases, issues with the road can play a role as well.
With this in mind, when investigating a fatal head-on collision, it is important to consider all possible scenarios. Since the available auto insurance coverage will often be limited, in many cases, pursuing compensation from all available sources will be essential for grieving families to recover the maximum financial compensation available.
Discuss Your Family’s Legal Rights with Bakersfield Auto Accident Lawyer Mickey Fine
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, we offer our deepest sympathies, and we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation about your family’s legal rights. To schedule an appointment with Bakersfield auto accident lawyer Mickey Fine, call the Law Offices of Mickey Fine 661-333-3333 or contact us online today.