Head-on collisions are among the most dangerous types of vehicle accidents. The danger greatly magnifies when one of those vehicles is a large commercial truck. These crashes often occur at high speeds, making injuries even more probable.

Most truck accident fatalities occur when the passenger vehicle is struck head-on by the truck – 29 percent of passenger truck accident fatalities happen in these accidents. Even those who survive the crash often have severe injuries that alter the course of their lives forever.

In these crashes, the passenger car driver can do little when a massive truck bears down on them – making themselves visible and advanced safety equipment can do little to save drivers in crashes with massive trucks. All of the driving tips in the world do not help when a careless or reckless driver causes a head-on crash.

No matter who tells you what about avoiding the crash, these accidents are usually unavoidable when they happen due to truck driver negligence. If this happens, you have a legal right to compensation for your injury, and our law firm can help you.

There Is Almost Always Negligence or Recklessness in Head-On Crashes

Needless to say, two vehicles should never be traveling head-on towards each other in the same lane. There will always be someone to blame in one of these crashes. Often, it will be the truck driver’s fault because they have been negligent in some way. Truck drivers must monitor many things behind the wheel, keeping track of their vehicles and those around them. At the same time, trucks will have many gauges and systems that the driver must check. Not all truck drivers are up to the difficulties of the job.

Common Truck Driver Errors that Cause Head-On Accidents

Truck drivers may make the following mistakes that can injure you:

  • Poorly handling road conditions – Even with no snow, the Phoenix climate can make road conditions worse than usual. The stifling hot sun wreaks havoc on roads and tires, often making it more difficult to steer and control the vehicle. In addition, Phoenix has a handful of sudden rainstorms that affect visibility on the roads.
  • Distracted driving – truck drivers may not be paying attention to the roadway when they are driving. All it takes is a few seconds of looking down and away from the road (i.e., texting or eating) to miss a change in the lanes or to drift off their course. Truckers on long-haul routes are even more susceptible to distracted driving.
  • Inexperience – this is becoming more of a problem these days, as truck drivers retire and trucking companies scramble to replace them with newer drivers. Trucking companies either cannot find truck drivers or replace them with less-experienced drivers because they make less. Inexperienced drivers are far more likely to misjudge the road or make rookie mistakes that lead to head-on crashes.
  • Fatigued driving – Even though truck drivers have mandatory rest rules, they do not always follow them. Sometimes, the time pressure of their jobs causes them to drive when they should not. Fatigued driving is every bit as dangerous as drunk driving. The driver just needs to doze off for a few seconds to end up in the wrong lane.
  • Plain carelessness – we often talk about the factors behind a truck driver’s mistakes and the causes of the accident. Sometimes, the driver can be just plain careless. They may be an experienced driver, who is otherwise doing everything right, and they just may make a mistake.

Head-On Crashes from Passing

Besides the major issues that will cause a truck driver to make an error, the driver can be fully alert and functioning but try to pass another vehicle when they should not. Arizona has many two-lane roads that allow for passing. Truck drivers may try to pass other slower trucks or drive very aggressively when a passenger vehicle driver is trying to pass in their lane. The truck driver may try to pass another vehicle with a solid yellow line on the road or a curve.

Cargo-Loading Errors

Not every head-on truck accident is the direct fault of the truck driver. However, there are other factors beyond the driver’s control that can still entitle you to financial compensation. The driver may lose control of the truck because of the way that the cargo was loaded. Uneven cargo can cause the truck to swerve into the wrong lane, leading to a head-on crash. The trucking company or the entity that loaded the cargo onto the truck will be legally responsible for this crash.

There may also be a problem with the truck itself that causes the driver not to steer properly. Here, your truck accident compensation will come from a product liability lawsuit against the company that manufactured the truck or the part. You must prove that the product was defective to recover compensation.

Passenger Car Occupants Will Likely Suffer Severe Injuries

There are no two ways around the fact that head-on truck crash injuries will be far more severe than even other truck crashes. These accidents have a very high rate of serious injuries and fatalities. It is almost unheard of for a driver to walk away from a head-on truck crash uninjured. If you are reading this, there is a high chance that your family member was killed or so severely injured that they cannot handle legal matters.

Simply stated, there is far more force unleashed in a head-on collision with a truck. The passenger car driver is taking the full brunt of the weight of the truck. Fully loaded, the truck will weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which is, on average, 25 times more than the weight of the passenger vehicle.

In a head-on crash, the front of the driver’s car will crumple in on the driver. Even though the airbag deploys, it is often not enough to protect the driver when their body may suffer trauma from parts of their car or even the truck itself.

Injuries in a Head-On Crash

These are the common injuries in a head-on truck accident:

  • Traumatic brain injuries – even if the airbag deploys, the impact of the head-on crash will cause the head to hit something forcefully. This is perhaps the most serious head-on crash injury, and it will cause lasting and lifelong damage.
  • Spinal cord injuries – a head-on crash will have a puncturing force and extreme pressure that can cause a traumatic blow. The impact can injure vertebrae that can compress or sever the spinal cord. Head-on accident victims can suffer from paralysis or reduced motion.
  • Lacerations – Cars parts and glass will go everywhere in a head-on crash. The driver may also hit parts of the car itself. They will likely suffer severe cuts and bruising in the accident that will require immediate care.
  • Internal injuries – When things like the steering wheel, dashboard, and seat belt make contact with the body in a crash, it can cause severe internal injuries. These can include:

Internal injuries are among the most serious truck accident injuries because they may not be spotted right away. These injuries can grow worse without timely medical treatment. However, their symptoms may not be immediately apparent at first. Even in the rare circumstances that the accident victim seems fine after the crash, they should always seek medical care for a diagnostic exam.

Damages in a Head-On Truck Accident Case

After you or your loved one suffered injuries in a head-on truck crash, you might seek:

  • The full costs to treat your injuries, including surgeries, rehabilitation, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and medical equipment
  • Money that you would have earned both in the past and future had you continued working to your full capacity.
  • Compensation for your experience since the accident, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life

Wrongful Death Damages in a Head-On Accident Case

If your loved one died in a head-on crash, your family has legal rights. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company to compensate you for the losses that you suffered. Not only does the accident victim suffer the most serious injury of all, but the family also suffers unique damages from losing a family member. A wrongful death claim is the family’s personal injury action for what they have suffered.

In a wrongful death lawsuit against the trucking company, you can obtain:

  • The lost wages that your loved one would have earned throughout their working career
  • Your family’s emotional distress and trauma that comes from the sudden loss of a loved one
  • Compensation for the loss of the love and guidance that your loved one would have provided
  • Loss of consortium damages for the spouse

Notice that we referred to suing the trucking company instead of the driver responsible for the crash. You really will not have much to gain by suing the driver because they may lack the money to pay for your damages that can reach well into the seven figures. The trucking driver is an agent of the trucking company, who is held accountable for everything that they do on the job. Chances are that the trucking company has a large insurance policy to cover damages. Even if the responsible driver was an independent contractor, they will still have insurance coverage to pay for the damages.

How an Attorney Helps Your Truck Accident Case

Head-on truck collisions usually have greater damages than most vehicle crashes because of the severity of the damages and injuries. A valuable claim means that you need a lawyer to handle your truck accident with care from the very beginning.

The first thing is establishing the cause of the truck accident. Knowing what happened to cause the crash is only part of the picture. You will also need to learn more about the driver and the trucking company’s practices. This knowledge is gained only after a thorough investigation. You may only get access to certain key documents after you file a lawsuit.

The first step is proving who was at fault for the events leading to the accident. It will usually be pretty apparent after the crash which driver was in the wrong place. However, this is not the end of your case. First, you need to figure out the right entity to sue. Second, there may be records that can show the degree of recklessness on the part of the driver. This evidence can help you if you are seeking punitive damages in your case. The trucking company will not simply give you evidence upon request. A lawyer needs to legally work to gain access to it.

Securing Fair Compensation for Your Truck Accident Damages

Then, you will need to fight to receive proper payment for the full value of your claim. Here, you should be objective when looking at the numbers. A $1 million settlement may not help when you suffered $2 million in damages.

Your lawyer will work with you to understand the full extent of your damages. Then, they will negotiate with the insurance company if you choose to file a claim. Even if you file a lawsuit directly, your attorney will still attempt to settle because that ends most lawsuits more quickly. However, you need to prepare for this process to take time.

Truck accident cases can take a long time to resolve. Your case will take even longer if you need to go to trial. The important thing is that you hire a tough and experienced Phoenix lawyer and let them fight on your behalf. If you have the evidence, the law is on your side, and you want the right advocate on your side as well.

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