Head-On Auto Collisions and Accidents In Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by: on Wed, May 22, 2013

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Head-on auto collisions and accidents in Nevada

A head-on collision is a traffic collision/accident where the front ends of two vehicles hit each other, as opposed to a side collision or rear-end collision. Head-on collisions often result in a fatal road traffic accident. U.S. statistics show that in 2005, head-on crashes constituted only 2.0% of all crashes, yet accounted for 10.1% of our country’s fatal crashes.

Head-on collisions, sideswipes, and run-off-road crashes all belong to a category of crashes called lane-departure or road-departure crashes. The driver of a vehicle fails to stay centered in their lane, and either leaves the roadway, or crosses the centerline, possibly resulting in a head-on or sideswipe collision, or, if the vehicle avoids oncoming traffic, a run-off-road crash on the far side of the road.

Preventive measures include traffic signs and road surface markings to help guide drivers through curves, as well as separating opposing lanes of traffic with wide central reservation (or median) and median barriers to prevent crossover incidents. Median barriers are physical barriers between the lanes of traffic, such as concrete barriers or cable barriers. These are actually roadside hazards in their own right, but on high speed roads, the severity of a collision with a median barrier is usually lower than the severity of a head-on crash.

Another form of head-on crash is the wrong-way entry crash, where a driver on a surface road turns onto an off-ramp from a motorway or freeway, instead of the on-ramp. They can also happen on divided arterials if a driver turns into the wrong side of the road. Considerable importance is placed on designing ramp terminals and intersections to prevent these incidents.

Intriguing Statistics on Head-On Collisions

Here are a few intriguing statistics on head-on collisions offered in hopes of informing and protecting you:

95 percent of all car crashes are cause by driver error

Current federal regulations require that a car be able to sufficiently withstand head-on collisions at 30 and 35 mph

One study has found that 86% of head-on collisions took place between intersections

Head-on collisions make up 7% of all fatal urban crashes and 13% of all fatal rural crashes

28.6% of head-on collisions result in fatality; 15.3% result in minor injuries; 9.1% lead to incapacitating injuries

Head-On Collisions and Negligence in Las Vegas, Nevada

Head-on collisions typically involve one vehicle crashing into a stationary object or another vehicle. Contrary to popular belief, head-on collisions do not always happen alone; many result from a chain reaction of events that cause a car to swerve into opposing traffic or to avoid another crash. But like all preventable accidents, head-on collisions are always caused by negligence. Whether they involve one or more vehicles, there is at least one party at fault.

Head-On Collision Injuries in Nevada

Head-on collisions cause extensive and often irreparable damage to people and property. With the core of the car in front, these parts absorb the impact and distribute the transferred force. But in serious accidents, there is little separating the driver from an oncoming motorist. In fact, batteries, engines, and combustible fluids expose the innocent driver to more danger, including:

  • Toxic fumes
  • Hazardous leaks
  • Deep lacerations
  • Third-degree burns
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Chemical explosion
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Broken bones and teeth
  • Paralysis, coma, organ loss
  • Permanent scars, disfigurement

Causes of Head-On Collisions and Negligence in Las Vegas

Negligent driving refers to any careless operation of a vehicle, endangering others. When reckless conduct on the road causes an accident, the negligent parties are responsible for any resulting damage or injury. Even if multiple parties are at fault, liability is shared among the parties to compensate the victims. Head-on collisions caused by negligence often involve:

    • Speeding
    • Rollovers
    • DUI, DWI
    • Driver fatigue
    • Illegal passing
    • Crossing median
    • Rear-end reaction
    • Distracted driving
    • One-way highways
    • Construction detours
    • Wrong freeway entrance

Product Defect Causing Head-On Collisions

Drivers clearly do not intend to ram into other vehicles or hit stationary objects head-on. The accident may happen due to defective vehicles or flawed parts. Millions of dangerous products leave the floor each day, resulting in recalls that come too late. Defects may include: defective brakes, sticky pedals, engine malfunction, electrical defects, etc.

Flaws may appear in a vehicle model, make, or design. Mistakes in construction, assembly, or inspection can be costly. Because manufacturers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their products before they leave the floor, they are also liable for injuries caused by defects.

The Myth of Head on Collision Speed Calculations

The common myth, recently dispelled, is that if two cars are travelling at the same speed, say 50 mph and collide head-on, the effect and damage is the same as one car colliding with a solid, immovable object at 100 mph. A common misconception is that the over-representation of fatalities from head-on accidents is because the relative velocity of vehicles traveling in opposite directions is high, equal to the combined speed of the two vehicles.

At first it seems to make sense since the closing speed of the two vehicles would be double at the moment of impact. However, what’s being overlooked is Newton’s “Third Law of Motion”, which states: “The mutual forces of action and reaction between two bodies are equal, opposite and collinear.” In its more common form, it’s known as, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” With that in mind, if two objects traveling at the same speed collide head-on, the energy released would be evenly and oppositely distributed between both objects. Therefore, if both are traveling at X, the closing speed would be X times 2 but since equal and opposite forces will apply (both forward and back), the energy released will still equal to a single vehicle colliding with a solid object at speed X.

This was recently dramatically shown on the popular TV show “MythBusters”. The show started off with small scale tests using clay and then moved to full scale. They got six identical cars in make and model for the various speed tests. First, they collided one car traveling 50 mph into a solid, immovable slab of cement and observed the damage. Of course the car was a total write-off. Then, they collided the second car into the same slab at 100 mph and the results were nothing short of catastrophic. The car was barely recognizable as a vehicle at all anymore. Keep in mind that although they used miles per hour, the units of measure aren’t important, just that the speeds are doubled.

The third test was to collide two of the remaining vehicles into each other head-on, with each traveling at 50 mph (closing speed of 100 mph), and the damage suffered to each car was the same as the single car slammed into the cement slab at 50 mph. Even the hosts of the show were apparently surprised at the results.

The fourth and final test was to collide the last two cars into each other head-on, each traveling at 100 mph, and although the closing speed was a whopping 200 mph, the damage observed to each car was the same as in test #2 with the single vehicle colliding into the cement block at 100 mph.

This was a very dramatic display of Newton’s Third Law and clearly demonstrates that the myth is false. Of course, just because the myth is false, the injuries that would be sustained from a head-on collision (or a solid and immovable object) would likely still be very severe, even at 50 mph. (MythBusters: Mythssion Control – Head-on Collision Experiment“. Retrieved 6 May 2010.)

Recovering Compensation for Injury and Loss

Victims of head-on collisions in Nevada are entitled to compensation for damages arising out of the accident. This may require filing claims against multiple parties, including the negligent driver, manufacturer, and insurers. When a head-on-collision results in bodily injury or death, the at-fault parties and drivers must compensate injured victims and their surviving family members for several losses, including:

        • Property damage
        • Replacement vehicle
        • Emergency treatment
        • Medical, hospital bills
        • Funeral, burial expense
        • Loss of income and past/future earnings
        • Pain, suffering, and trauma
        • Damages for lost relationship

Seek Legal Counsel to Recoup Expenses

If you are involved in a head-on collision, your interests will be best represented by a Nevada law firm that not only understands the law but medical terminology, road conditions, and legal procedures as well. Some studies suggest that an injured party who retains counsel averages a recovery 3 to 5 times higher than those who do not. Call the attorneys at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright today at 702-384-7111 so that we can begin the process of getting you back on the road to recovery, or email us at gma@albrightstoddard.com.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. The National Academy of Personal Injury Attorneys named Mark Albright as one of the Top 10 Personal Pnjury attorneys in Nevada in 2014. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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