Who Is at Fault in a Head-On Collision

Finding fault in a head-on collision boils down to a number of factors.
By Lisa S. at Shutterstock

When it comes to motor vehicle accidents, a head-on collision is among the worst. A head-on collision occurs when two or more vehicles strike each other from the front. Currently, head-on collisions have a fatality rate second only to intersection accidents. Typically, one driver has crossed over into an oncoming lane – either due to being impaired by alcohol or by simply not paying enough attention. Thankfully, such incidents occur far less often than other types of road collisions. Still, it pays to remain vigilant while on the road, and aware of your surroundings at all times. If you are involved in a head-on collision, then determining who is at fault for the accident can make for quite a troubling time. It’s not an easy task, and you’ll need an experienced attorney on your side.

Finding Fault in Head-on Collisions

There can be quite a few parties that may be liable or at fault for a head-on collision. For instance:

  • Driver – Most commonly, the driver of the offending vehicle – the one who crossed into traffic, violated traffic laws, or misread a sign – is at fault. There’s a number of additional reasons why the driver may be the cause of the accident.
  • Third Party – Occasionally, the driver of the other vehicle may not be liable for the accident. There are third party liabilities to consider, such as a pothole, tire blowout, medical emergency, or pedestrian involvement.
  • Pedestrians – Speaking of pedestrians, it is not uncommon for a careless pedestrian to cause a severe wreck. A driver can easily lose control when a pedestrian walks into traffic or unexpectedly turns toward a vehicle for whatever reason.
  • Government – Yes, even the government may be liable for a head-on collision. In this case, a poor roadway design or substandard maintenance may lead to an accident. For instance, it’s important to note that left-turn lanes and reversible lanes are often frequent sites of head-on accidents
  • Manufacturer – Finally, we have the manufacturer of the vehicle or its components. A tire blowout or defective part that leads to the incident is the fault of the manufacturer, not the driver.

Common Causes of Head-on Collisions

A number of scenarios may lead to a head-on collision. Reports indicate that the most common causes are:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Driving while tired
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Driving on the wrong side of the road
  • Entering data or GPS coordinates
  • Aggressive driving
  • Unsafe passing
  • Making a left turn into oncoming traffic
  • Poor road conditions
  • Suicide
  • Low visibility
  • Defective parts

In such cases, determining fault is occasionally a complex process. If you hire an attorney, the law office may decide to engage the services of an outside investigative firm. Using eyewitness reports and detailed evidence regarding the accident itself, only then can fault be determined. Of course, the police will also perform a thorough investigation into the matter, should they need to at the time.

If you have been involved in a head-on collision, contact the Todd R. Durham Law Firm to speak with an experienced attorney. You may speak with someone from our office by calling (214) 222-4000.

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