Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Unfortunately, such incidents are even more common in densely populated areas like Los Angeles. If you or a loved one suffered injuries from a head-on collision, a Los Angeles head-on collisions lawyer at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to help you seek monetary compensation for your injuries, lost or damaged property, and pain and suffering. Call (800) 959-1444 to get a risk-free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team today.
Contributing Factors in Head-On Collisions
A head-on collision is one in which the front end of a vehicle collides with the front end of another vehicle while the two are traveling in opposite directions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). California uses traffic laws and roadway signs to prevent collisions from occurring. Preventative measures include signage on highways and one-way roads warning motorists not to enter from the wrong direction. In residential areas, signs warn motorists of oncoming traffic and narrow roads. Motorists can also see signs reminding them not to text while driving and not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. These measures give an indication of the frequency of vehicle collisions.
Head-on collisions are one of the least common but most dangerous types of accidents. High speed and impact contribute to the high injury and fatality rate. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the most common causes of all fatal collisions are driving too fast or driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication. Head-on collisions frequently happen as a result of the following factors:
- Merging onto a highway in the wrong direction.
- Entering an arterial road from a smaller one.
- Passing or switching lanes without properly signaling.
- Intoxication or driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs, alcohol, or medication. DUIs are a leading cause of traffic accidents, including head-on collisions, nationwide. Drugs and alcohol can significantly impair a person’s judgment and ability to calculate distance and direction. Alcohol and certain drugs can also slow the driver’s reflexes.
- Drowsiness. Driver fatigue is particularly common among people who work long or irregular hours, including long-haul truck drivers and night-shift workers.
- Distractions, including talking or texting on a cell phone, using a GPS or other onboard technology, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, or minding children. Using a cell phone to text or talk while driving is illegal in California unless you are using a hands-free Bluetooth device. Nonetheless, distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic accidents.
- Faulty traffic signals. If a light is out, drivers should act as though the signal is a stop sign and wait for their turn to proceed. Sometimes, drivers drive through the intersection or turn in front of other vehicles, which can result in collisions.
- Dangerous conditions, including inclement weather that can decrease visibility, as well as potholes, broken guardrails, or faded dividing lines can contribute to collisions.
- Collateral accidents, in which multiple cars bounce off of one another, sending one or more into oncoming traffic.
Other factors can contribute to head-on collisions as well. Regardless of the cause of the accident, according to Sec. 20008 of the California Statutes, those involved in a car accident must report it to law enforcement within 24 hours if injuries or death occur. This pertains to drivers, passengers, or anyone in the vicinity, such as pedestrians or cyclists, who suffered as a result of the accident. First and foremost, it is essential to comply with the law. But filing a report is also important for filing an insurance claim or civil suit.
For a free legal consultation with a head-on collisions accidents lawyer serving Los Angeles, call (844) 638-1822
If you call law enforcement immediately at the scene, a police officer will determine what percentage of fault each party is liable for. California law operates under pure comparative fault rules, meaning there is an assumption that everyone involved in the accident may be partially liable. The amount of fault you are responsible for can factor into the amount of compensation you are eligible to receive from the insurance company. However, you have the legal right to consult with a lawyer who can help you contest the law enforcement officer’s finding if you feel it is unfair. Pure comparative fault rules also do not prevent you from pursuing additional compensation from the other driver, if the amount you receive from your insurance company is not sufficient to cover your losses.
Los Angeles Head-On Collisions Accident Lawyer Near Me (844) 638-1822
States can be “fault” or “no-fault” when it comes to vehicle accidents. In California, a “fault” state, victims can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company or their own. In contrast, in a “no-fault” state, victims may only seek compensation from their insurance provider.
Vehicle owners in California are required to carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage for bodily harm and property damage liability, according to California Vehicle Code § 16020. The California Department of Insurance states the following guidelines for minimum coverage:
California Minimum Bodily Injury Liability (BIL)
● $15,000 minimum for personal injury or wrongful death, meaning the insurance company provider will pay up $15,000 if a driver causes bodily harm to another person in a collision.
● $30,000 minimum coverage for multiple deaths or injuries. If a driver injures or kills multiple people, their insurance provider will pay up to $30,000 of the damages. The amount is distributed amongst the victims.
California Minimum Property Damage Liability (PDL)
● $5,000 for damages that do not involve bodily harm. This includes damage to a vehicle or other personal property, such as a home or business.
These minimum coverage guidelines are meant to guarantee victims some compensation for the losses they suffer in a collision. It is against the law to drive without the proper insurance coverage. Motorists who do so can face multiple consequences, including license suspension or fines. At-fault drivers can also face civil court suits. If the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to cover the extent of your losses, you may want to bring a civil suit. In this case, they may be required to pay out of pocket for damages their insurance policy did not pay for.
Legal Options for Head-On Collision Victims
Victims have a few options for filing a civil suit after a collision. A Los Angeles head-on collisions lawyer can help you determine the best course of action.
- Personal Injury: A personal injury suit allows you to seek compensation for your injuries. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is up to two years, according to Sec. 335.1 of the California Statutes. Damages you may seek in a personal injury claim include emergency medical and ongoing healthcare costs; financial compensation for emotional pain and anguish; lost wages and reduced earning capacity; and loss of consortium.
- Property Damage: You can also seek compensation for damages not related to bodily harm. This can include, for example, the cost to repair or replace a vehicle. Typically, the statute of limitations for this type of claim is three years.
- Wrongful Death: If a family member dies in a head-on collision, you may have the legal right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Survivors typically have two years from the date of the incident to file such a claim. Compensation may include costs such as funeral and burial expenses, as well as pain and suffering.
This list is not exhaustive. A Los Angeles head-on collisions lawyer can help you determine a strategy based on the details of your case.
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Ben Crump Law, PLLC Can Support You in Seeking Justice and Compensation
Head-on collisions can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. If you have suffered such an accident, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to proceed to get the justice and compensation you need to move forward. The attorneys at Ben Crump Law, PLLC may be able to support you. Contact the office today to determine if you have a case. Call (800) 959-1444 for a free consultation.