Head-on collisions are car accidents in which the front ends of two vehicles collide while traveling in opposite directions. They are some of the most dangerous car accidents, leading to a disproportionate number of deaths per crash compared to other types of collision. In 2016, 638 Texans died in head-on crashes. If someone survives a head-on collision, his or her injuries can be “catastrophic” – meaning they can be serious enough to cause permanent or long-lasting pain, disability, or disfigurement. Here’s an overview of the most common injuries that arise out of head-on collisions.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, describes harm to the brain that disrupts the organ’s normal function. In a TBI, the harm comes from outside forces, such as a bump or jolt to the head (in contrast to acquired brain injuries, which occur from internal problems such as lack of oxygen). TBIs are common injuries in severe car accidents, including high-force head-on collisions. If the head strikes the steering wheel, windshield, windows, asphalt, or some other object in a crash, the brain can suffer injury by striking the inside of the skull. This can lead to swelling, bruising, or bleeding in the brain.
TBIs can range from minor concussions to permanent brain damage. No two brain injuries are alike, and all are serious. A brain injury can change the way a victim moves, thinks, talks, and acts. The most serious TBIs are fatal, or cause loss of brain activity and coma. Survivors can potentially reverse the effects of a brain injury through surgeries and rehabilitative sessions, but each person’s recovery is different. There is no one “cure” for a TBI. Many people with serious TBIs will live with the effects for the rest of their lives.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
Parties that cause head-on collisions are most often under the influence of drugs or alcohol, distracted, speeding, traveling the wrong way on a one-way road, or drowsy enough to fall asleep behind the wheel. They typically do not hit their brakes, or barely have time to do so, before smashing into another driver headed in the opposite direction. In a head-on collision, the speed at which the two vehicles collide is equal to the speeds of both vehicles combined. You can see why head-on crashes typically end with such catastrophic injuries – the body simply cannot withstand impact at such high velocity.
One of the worst types of car accident injuries imaginable is spinal cord injury. Spine injuries can interrupt the messaging system that runs between the body and the brain. This can permanently disrupt or cut off signals in charge of sensation and movement in the body. Total or partial paralysis can occur, in which the survivor cannot move or feel parts of the body, typically in the area below the point of injury on the spine. There is no cure for spinal cord injuries, although patients may be able to improve with years of therapy and rehabilitation.
Extreme physical trauma in a head-on collision can take many shapes and forms. Victims can suffer all types of injuries in the initial collision, which may include the spray of debris, ejection from the vehicle, or being crushed between two vehicles. Primary and secondary injuries in these crashes can include severe burns, lacerations, road rash, internal organ damage, traumatic amputation, soft tissue injuries, and broken bones.
It is important for survivors of head-on collisions and family members of those who do not survive to talk to personal injury attorneys. Serious injuries require legal attention. Only with help from an experienced lawyer can you fight for the compensation catastrophic injuries deserve. No matter what type of injuries you’ve suffered, talk to a lawyer.