Head-on Collision

Head-on Collision

Only about 2% of car crashes involve head-on collisions, but they account for 10% of all traffic accident fatalities. Of collisions that occur outside of intersections, 18% are head-on crashes. While rear-end collisions are more common, head-on collision are more likely to produce fatalities and devastating injuries than other kinds of car crashes.

If you were injured or if a family member was killed in a head-on collision with a careless driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Timothy J. Ryan & Associates represents victims in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases that result from head-on collisions on California’s roads and highways. We help victims put their lives back together by fighting hard on their behalf to win fair compensation from insurance companies.


If a negligent driver crosses a centerline and strikes your vehicle, do not try to leave the vehicle until you know that it is safe for you to move. If you might have experienced a neck, back, or head injury, stay in the car and wait for help. Do not move your vehicle. Wait for the police to arrive. If you can reach your cellphone, call 9-1-1. If you are able to move safely, check the condition of other occupants of your vehicle.

Do not attempt to move them if they might be seriously injured. Wait for paramedics to help them exit the vehicle. If you can do so safely, check on the condition of the occupants of the other car. You can exchange names and insurance information, or you can wait for the police to arrive if the situation feels unsafe.

You can describe the accident to the responding police officer but do not talk to the other driver about the accident. Other than the police, you should discuss the accident only with your personal injury lawyer. Get medical help immediately if you need it. Even if you do not think you need medical treatment, go to the emergency room for a checkup if you hit your head in the collision or if an airbag deployed.

Since you may not feel pain from soft tissue injuries until two or three days after the collision, make an appointment to see your physician or go to an urgent care center as soon as you notice any pain in your neck, shoulders, or other parts of your body. Do not talk to the other driver’s insurance company until you obtain legal advice. As soon as you are able, you should talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn about the steps you need to take to maximize your claim for compensation.


Three-quarters of head-on collisions occur in rural areas, usually on undivided two-lane roads. About 13% of fatal accidents in rural areas result from head-on crashes, compared to 7% of fatal urban accidents. Most head-on crashes occur when a driver inadvertently crosses a centerline. That can happen when a driver falls asleep, is momentarily distracted, or takes a curve too fast. Wet or icy roads also contribute to unintended movement into an opposing lane.

Of course, intoxicated drivers are more likely than others to cause a head-on car collision. Less often, head-on crashes occur when a driver makes an unsafe passing maneuver (such as passing on a curve) or mistakenly drives the wrong way on a road (such as entering a freeway exit ramp). Lane reductions or redirections in construction zones can be a factor in head-on collisions, although reduced speed limits and increased awareness of danger reduce that risk.

Some cars have safety technology that warns drivers when they stray too close to the centerline. That technology might save you from causing a crash, but it will not help you if another driver crosses the center line and crashes into your car. In that situation, you are entitled to compensation for the injuries caused by the other driver’s negligence.


Airbags and “crumple zones” can lessen the consequences of a head-on crash to vehicle occupants, but when two vehicles traveling at highway speeds crash into each other, no amount of safety engineering can prevent serious injuries. In addition to fatalities, head-on collisions can cause:

  • Head and brain injuries
  • Facial injuries, including loss of vision and facial scarring
  • Dental injuries and jaw dislocations
  • Spinal injuries, including paralysis
  • Broken bones
  • Internal injuries, including damage to vital organs
  • Nerve damage
  • Neck, shoulder, and other soft tissue injuries that cause prolonged or permanent pain

While airbags save lives, the deployment of an airbag in a head-on collision may cause broken noses, loss of hearing, chest injuries, concussions, and a variety of other injuries.


Timothy J. Ryan and Associates is devoted to helping Orange County car accident victims receive fair compensation for injuries caused by negligent drivers. Compensation for injuries received in a head-on collision might include:

  • Lost wages and loss of future income
  • Past and future medical expenses, including physical therapy
  • Expenses for cosmetic surgery to reduce scarring
  • The cost of wheelchairs and other medical appliances
  • The cost of a wheelchair accessible van or remodeling to make your home accommodate your disability
  • The cost of vocational rehabilitation
  • Wages for caretakers, visiting nurses, and other personnel to help you cope with your injuries
  • Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life

In a wrongful death case, surviving family members may be entitled to recover the money their loved one would have shared with them as well as compensation for loss of companionship and guidance. With a track record of success and a reputation for fighting insurance companies both in and out of court, Timothy J. Ryan & Associates is the right choice if you have been injured. To learn how we can help you, call (800) 838-6644.