In February 2018, a head-on collision in Chester County killed two drivers. As is the case with many head-on collisions, one of the drivers was traveling in the wrong direction on the road.
When a driver travels the wrong way – against the flow of traffic – or drifts across a center line, the consequences are often deadly. Wrong-way crashes tend to occur on highways, when drivers mistake exit ramps for on-ramps. Head-on collisions on high-speed roads are usually fatal, and if victims survive, they are often left with disabling injuries.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a head-on collision or lost a loved one in a wrong-way crash, you need an experienced personal injury attorney on your side. Wapner Newman’s legal team has a long history of helping injury victims in New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area get the compensation they need for their injuries and losses. Don’t wait to ask for help. Contact us today to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.
A study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration and the Michigan Department of Transportation found that most head-on crashes occur at night – of the 110 crashes analyzed, 57 percent occurred between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. In nine of those crashes, researchers could not determine whether a driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol; but of the remaining 101 wrong-way crashes, 60 percent of drivers were under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the crash.
Another study noted that not only do wrong-way drivers tend to be impaired, the majority of them are also extremely impaired, with a blood alcohol level greater than or equal to 0.15 percent, nearly twice the legal threshold of intoxication.
Drug and alcohol impairment affects vision, judgment, and alertness. If entrance and exit ramps to highways are adjacent to each other, an impaired driver may have difficulty discerning which ramp to take, especially at night. Impaired drivers may also fail to notice “Wrong Way” signs, or be unable to read them. And at night, when traffic is light or non-existent, impaired drivers may not realize they’re traveling in the wrong direction until they encounter another vehicle in their path. That other driver may be unable to avoid a head-on collision.
Psychological Effects of Surviving a Head-On Collision
People who survive a head-on collision are left with major injuries, and many experience lingering psychological effects. A near-death experience is not easy to forget, and some head-on crash survivors suffer from a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
PTSD symptoms may include:
- “Reliving” the traumatic event over and over
- Mood disturbances
- New phobias (especially the fear of being inside a vehicle)
- Withdrawal from family and friends
Overcoming PTSD typically requires ongoing counseling and, in some cases, medication. Personal injury attorneys take this into account when negotiating a settlement on behalf of clients – compensation should cover all losses and damages, even damage that isn’t physical or that can’t easily be assigned a dollar-value.
In a head-on collision, the force of the impact causes vehicle occupants’ bodies to lurch forward and strain against seat belts, causing spine and chest injuries. In a high-speed crash, the front of a vehicle may collapse, causing injuries to the lower body. It’s not uncommon for survivors of head-on collisions to suffer multiple injuries throughout their body.
A survivor of a head-on collision posted a message on a trauma survivor’s website, explaining her accident: She was riding her motorcycle when a wrong-way driver struck her. The accident left her with a broken femur, wrist and pelvis fractures, internal bleeding, and a concussion.
Not all hospitals are able to treat victims of serious head-on crashes. Survivors of head-on collisions typically need treatment in a Level I trauma center, such as Philadelphia’s Einstein Medical Center. The hospital has round-the-clock surgical teams and specialists, ready to treat seriously injured people.
Treatment in a trauma center is costly, and even when injury victims have health insurance, they may have trouble covering their deductibles or copayments. Some health policies also limit what they will pay for certain services. With the help of a personal injury attorney, crash victims may be able to get compensation that can cover their medical costs and the ongoing expenses of rehabilitative care.
If you’ve been injured in a head-on crash, contact Wapner Newman to request your free case consultation. Let us put our experience to work for you.