Georgia Lawyers Handling Head-On Collision Cases
If you, a friend or family member have been the victim in a head-on collision, and firmly believe the other party was at-fault, don’t leave anything to chance. Make sure the law firm you choose to represent you has the experience and resources necessary to achieve the best results for you.
Head-on collisions are typically the most devastating and severe of all traffic accidents. The combined speeds of the two vehicles can add up to massive damage and catastrophic injury, even where seatbelts were used and airbags deployed.
By definition, it is often easy to identify the at-fault party. It is typically the car that was facing the wrong direction at impact. However, it is not always completely cut-and-dried. For instance, when two vehicles are attempting to enter a central common “turn lane” from opposite directions at the same time, it can be difficult to ascertain who had the right of way.
A surprising number of at-fault drivers and insurance companies will try to make excuses for their negligence to avoid liability. They will often claim that external factors were to blame, saying things like, “An animal ran into the road”, or “The road was slick due to weather” or some other so-called, “Act of God”.
In cases where fault is being disputed, your case may require a Collision Reconstruction Expert to clearly and concisely demonstrate the facts of the collision to a jury, or a medical expert to establish the nature and persistence of your injuries. The Millar Law Firm has these resources and the expertise to bring them to bear if needed to win your case.
Why Are Head-On Collision Cases Sometimes Hard to Prove?
A recent study by the National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) concluded that head-on collisions most often occur “as a result of a driver’s inadvertent actions” such as running off the road and then over-correcting. These are usually accompanied by some sort of aggravating factor, such as drowsiness, intoxication, or mechanical failure. These kinds of facts can be harder to prove at trial.
In contrast, when a head-on collision is the result of a deliberate act in violation of a Georgia Highway Statute, such as recklessly passing other cars in a no-passing zone under O.C.G.A § 40-6-45(A)(2) or proceeding the wrong way down a one-way road under O.C.G.A § 40-6-47, the facts are much easier to prove.
However, when a negligent driver tries to pin the blame on something else like you, an animal or the roadway itself, it may seem like your case will come down to a question of “your word against theirs”. This is exactly what the insurance company wants you to think.
In our judicial system, a “tie” usually goes to the defense. In other words, if a Judge or Jury is unable to determine who is more at fault in an auto collision, the defense wins. But, in many accident cases, a thorough investigation can make the difference.
For example, relevant data can often be obtained from the vehicles’ on-board computers. Other times a local traffic or security camera can provide the factual details. Further, conclusive evidence can be gathered from the scene of the collision allowing you or your legal team to reconstruct the accident and find out the truth.
So often these days, distracted drivers on cell phones are to blame for auto collisions. When this is suspected, you or your lawyer should request those phone records and find out where the at-fault driver’s attention was when the crash occurred.
These are just a few of the methods experienced lawyers use to prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve.
NCHRP Data Analysis
The NCHRP’s analysis of highway fatalities that resulted from head-on collisions revealed that:
- 75 percent of head-on crashes occur on rural roads
- 75 percent happen on undivided two-lane highways
- 83 percent occur on two-lane rural highways and roads.
These statistics show that many of these head-on collisions are likely to result from an at-fault driver making an involuntary maneuver — the driver goes to sleep, is distracted or travels too fast in a curve. Other contributing factors may include losing control due to driving too fast for conditions, hydroplaning on bald tires, or drinking and driving.
Head-On Collision Injuries
A head-on collision often results in sudden death. Those who survive a head-on car wreck are likely to suffer some type of traumatic injury caused by the impact of the crash, such as:
- Head injury, including traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Neck and back trauma
- Spinal cord damage and paralysis
- Fractures (broken bones), including broken limbs (arms and legs) and broken ribs
- Lacerations (cuts)
- Contusions (bruises)
Accident reconstruction experts, doctors and other specialists can be used to prove how a head-on collision happened, whether negligence or recklessness contributed to the crash, and the severity and lasting effects of an injury.
Proving future medical expenses and loss of the quality of life are essential parts of your case. Evidence from all sources, including police reports, the accident scene, witness statements, medical records, and functional capacity reports from your doctors will help to prove your case and recover compensation for your losses.
Legal Resources and Definitions for Georgia Head-On Collision Cases
Proper Side of the Road
Georgia law O.C.G.A. § 40-6-40 requires all of us to drive on the right-side of the road, and says: “Upon all roadways of sufficient width, a vehicle shall be driven upon the right half of the roadway.”
This Rule is also found in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-41, stating that drivers of vehicles proceeding in opposite directions shall pass each other to the right.
Therefore, in almost all head-on collisions, someone is in violation of this law. Legal violation like these can be used to help prove your case against a negligent driver.
Driving within a single lane
It is the law in Georgia that a motor vehicle must drive as much as possible within a single lane and may not leave its lane unless the driver has first determined that it is safe to do so. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(1).
Roads with Three Lanes
If a road is divided into three lanes where two lanes are in one direction, a vehicle driving in the center lane has the right of way when passing or overtaking another automobile or motorcycle driving in the same direction. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-48(2).
Center turn lanes
If a road or highway has a center lane designated for turning in which traffic may enter from either direction, no motor vehicle may be driven into that center lane except to make a left turn, and it is against the law to drive more than 300 feet in the center turn lane. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-126.
Driving on Defective Tires
O.C.G.A. § 40-8-74 (e) States in relevant part that: “All tires:(1) Shall have not less than 2/32 inch tread measurable in all major grooves…”. This means that if any driver claiming “loss of control” due to wet conditions, is found in violation of this code, liability can be established as a matter of fact.
Driving While Distracted
While it was already illegal to text and drive in Georgia, it is now more difficult to use your cell phone at all, unless you have blue tooth or hands-free calling. Under O.C.G.A. § 40-6-241, your are not allowed to physically hold any wireless telecommunications device while driving.