The driver of a Chevy van veered into oncoming traffic hitting a Dodge Caravan head-on Saturday, February 10, around 1 p.m. According to Washington State Patrol, the accident happened on U.S. Highway 195 near Old Albion Road.
After the van struck the Caravan, a driver of a Land Rover was unable to stop and struck the Caravan from behind. All six occupants of the Caravan and all three occupants of the Chevy van were injured and taken to the hospital. The driver of the Land Rover was not injured.
Out of all accident types, head-on collisions pose the greatest risk of serious injuries and fatalities. According to the Federal Highway Administration head-on collisions, kill around 400 people in the United States every year making up only one percent of the total fatalities, however, when looking at the fatality rate (number of fatalities per 100,000 miles traveled) the head-on fatalities rate is 27 times higher than conventional crashes. This is because of the nature of a head-on collision with the collision containing the full impact of two vehicles’ weight and speed.
Causes of Head-On Collisions
There are some common causes for head-on crashes, some of them are:
- Impaired driving,
- Falling asleep,
- Distracted driving
- Poor signage,
- Darkness/poor visibility to see signs
The vast majority of head-on collisions happen on a non-divided highway (no barrier or median between opposing lanes) when a vehicle swerves or drifts into oncoming traffic. The vehicle doesn’t have to drift far because cars on these highways are speeding past each other just a few feet apart.
Who’s at Fault?
It sounds like it should be easy to determine which car is at fault—it’s the one going the wrong way, right? However, it’s not always that easy. Because of the high impact, the cars often end up away from the impact spot and debris is scattered everywhere.
If there is any ambiguity, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will try to deflect some of the responsibility for the crash onto someone else. Since Washington State is a comparative fault state, then any reduction in the percentage of liability for the at-fault driver will mean a reduction in compensation for the injured. So it’s important to establish who was at fault.
Don’t go it Alone
If you’ve been injured in a head-on or any other auto accident, do not take the insurance companies word for anything. It’s their job to pay you as little as possible, and with a head-on, they might use any uncertainty in the accident report to deflect responsibility from their client.
You need talk to an attorney that knows the law regarding head-on collision and comparative fault and can advise you and evaluate your case. The attorneys at Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., serve clients in Spokane, Washington, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and surrounding communities. They can go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call them at (509) 926-4900, or send them a message by clicking here.