According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 3,500 fatalities in head-on collisions in the U.S. in 2012. Many more suffered injuries. While these crashes only made up a fraction of all auto accidents, they are often more catastrophic than other types of accidents. When both cars are traveling toward one another and collide, it amplifies the impact, leading to severe injuries and extensive financial losses.
Call a Long Island head-on collision accident & injury lawyer from Goldstein & Bashner if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a head-on crash. During your free case review, we will go over your injuries, damages, and the options available to you.
What is the first thing I should do after a head-on collision in Long Island?
Your first concern after any car accident is your health. Ensuring you get the medical care you need as soon as possible is paramount. Call 911 immediately if you are able so you receive medical care at the scene. Otherwise, visit an emergency room or see your doctor as soon as possible for a full medical evaluation.
If possible, collect information at the scene of the accident, including the name and contact information of eyewitnesses and any pictures of the scene and your injuries.
Many people involved in head-on collisions suffer serious injuries, so if you cannot do this your attorney may employ experts to recreate the scene of the accident and investigate the possible causes. In addition, the police report should have most of the information you will need to file a claim.
Once your injuries are stable, turn your attention to getting compensation for the injuries you sustained and your financial losses. Contact a personal injury attorney from Goldstein & Bashner for help handling your case. If your policy does not cover the full extent of your injuries, you can pursue a third-party liability claim against the at-fault driver.
Common Head-on Collision Injuries
Head-on accidents lead to a variety of injuries, many of which are catastrophic. Common head-on collision injuries include:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Spinal cord injuries, which may lead to paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries
- Injuries to internal organs
- Broken bones
- Airbag and seatbelt injuries
Common Causes of Head-on Collisions
Many head-on collisions occur when there is no clear divider between lanes. Factors that lead to this type of crash most commonly include:
- Drifting into oncoming traffic
- Overcorrecting, where a driver almost runs off the road and steers back too far
- Swerving due to drunk or distracted driving
Because the speed of the cars amplifies the impact, head-on collisions at even fairly low speeds may lead to significant injuries and property damage.
Does fault matter in a Long Island head-on accident?
You may believe that since New York follows a no-fault car insurance system, fault is not important after a crash. However, if you suffered serious injuries and/or if your damages exceed your PIP benefits, your no-fault policy is unlikely to cover all of your costs. In many cases, you are eligible to file a third-party claim against the other driver if you can show he caused the accident.
Determining fault in a head-on collision is often easier than it may seem. One driver crossed the center lane, meaning he caused the accident. There are sometimes mitigating factors or shared liability, but as long as you can show he was mostly responsible, he is liable for your damages.
The police report or eyewitness statements often provide the evidence needed to prove the driver was negligent. If not, your Goldstein & Bashner attorney can enlist the help of experts to investigate the crash and determine liability.
Can you recover compensation if you were at-fault?
Your no-fault insurance policy pays out no matter who caused the accident. However, if you caused the crash this limits your options for recovering additional compensation.
Do not assume you caused the wreck just because the police or the other driver believes you did. Instead, discuss the circumstances of your accident and your damages with a Long Island personal injury attorney to ensure you have considered and investigated all aspects of the accident.
Note: While you can recover compensation in New York even if you are 99 percent at-fault, the insurer will reduce your settlement by your percentage of fault. For example, if your settlement was for $100,000 but an investigation finds you were 97 percent at fault, you can only recover $3,000. To ensure you do not mistakenly admit fault, do not agree to give any statements to the insurance company without speaking to a lawyer first.
At Goldstein & Bashner, we regularly battle insurance companies to show our clients were victims of a negligent driver. We have been able to use eyewitness testimony and investigations to prove that our clients deserve compensation for injuries the at-fault party denied causing.
You have nothing to lose by letting an attorney look at your case. All initial consultations are free, and you are under no obligation to hire any lawyer you meet with. In addition, personal injury and car accident law firms typically work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing until you receive compensation for your damages.
What type of damages can I recover in a personal injury claim after a head-on crash?
You can recover damages for almost any accident-related expense, as well as some noneconomic losses. Common types of damages in these cases include:
- Emergency transportation from the crash site
- Emergency medical care
- Medical treatment
- Ongoing medical care
- Missed work and future lost wages
- Help needed for activities of daily living due to a disability
- Other expenses related to a temporary or permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
While rare, courts sometimes award punitive damages in personal injury cases. This is typically only when the defendant acted willfully and with wanton disregard for others' safety.
How long do I have to file a head-on collision claim?
New York state law limits the time you have to file any type of personal injury claim to just three years in most cases (N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 214), or two years if filing a wrongful death claim (N.Y. E.P.T.L. § 5-4.1). Because some cases have a shorter statute of limitations, discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you do not lose the opportunity to recover compensation for your losses.
There are also numerous other reasons to enlist the help of a trusted lawyer as soon as possible in these cases. Your attorney can connect you with medical care providers and specialists and help ensure you are able to pay your bills. While you focus on getting better, your attorney can work to gather evidence, prove negligence, and negotiate a settlement in your third-party insurance claim.
Where can I get help with my head-on collision case?
Goldstein & Bashner works to help clients recover the compensation they need to pay their medical bills, and other costs caused by their accident. We can file a no-fault insurance claim, evaluate your case for the possibility of a third-party claim, file the claim, negotiate with the insurance company, and take your case to court if that becomes necessary. Let us manage the recovery of your financial losses while you work to recover physically and emotionally.
Contact our attorneys today at 516-222-4000 for a free case evaluation.