On the afternoon of April 4, a head-on collision in west Travis County claimed two lives, as one male and one female were pronounced dead at the scene. The accident was described as a ‘two-car collision,’ later clarified to be head-on. Head-on collisions are historically the most dangerous, routinely causing the most fatalities in successive statistical years. If you manage to escape from one, bringing suit for your injuries is important, as your medical bills are likely to be high.
One of the Most Common Types
While one might think head-on collisions were rare, they are actually fairly frequent, especially in Texas, with its prevalence of two-lane roads and high-speed limits, and in general, the fatality count in frontal collisions is quite high. Data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that approximately half of all vehicle accident deaths occur in crashes where the initial impact is frontal. In Texas, roughly that number of vehicle accident deaths occur in multi-vehicle accidents (which is slightly higher than average), at least a portion of which can be estimated to be head-on.
Texas roads also may contribute to head-on collisions being somewhat more frequent than in other states because of particular traffic laws or road types not seen in many other states. For example, one-way streets are much less common in other states than they are in Texas, especially in cities, and drivers unfamiliar with them may make wrong turns more often. In rural areas, the so-called “highway hypnosis” phenomenon is new to many, which can cause drifting over the center lane, especially on two-lane highways.
If you or a loved one are injured in a head-on collision, you may be able to sue the other driver under one of many different legal theories. If there are no fatalities, the best option may be to pursue a negligence case, alleging that the other driver breached their duty of due care that every motorist owes to others on the road. However, in order to do this, you must also be able to prove that (1) you suffered tangible harm as a result of this breach – not simply cuts and bruises, or a fright; and (2) that your harm was suffered as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence, and no other intervening cause, such as poor road conditions or bad weather, played a role.
If you have lost a loved one in a head-on collision, bringing a wrongful death suit may be a better option. There are two types of wrongful death suits in Texas law – a standard wrongful death suit, and a survival action. A survival action is a suit brought on behalf of the decedent – that is, as if the decedent had lived. For example, in the head-on collision in Travis County, if one of the decedents had lived and preserved a cause of action for negligence, a survival action would be mounted on that basis. A wrongful death suit is brought for causes of action like lost wages, pain and suffering, and other unquantifiable losses.
Seek Experienced Legal Help
While the families of those killed in Travis County have not, as of this writing, articulated any plans to bring suit, it may be an option for you if you or a loved one are injured in a head-on collision. If this happens to you, consulting an attorney is a good first step. Our passionate New Braunfels auto accident lawyers at the Bettersworth Law Firm have experience in these types of cases and are happy to try and help you with yours. Call us today to set up an appointment.