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Who Is At Fault For A Head-On Collision?

A car accident is an upsetting, painful, and often confusing experience. When you are involved in an accident, you may go into shock. You may not know what caused the accident or who was responsible.

If you are involved in a head-on collision, you may think the accident is simply the fault of the person who is driving in the wrong lane. However, there are some situations in which determining fault is complicated, even in a head-on accident.

Collecting evidence at the scene, documenting your injuries and expenses, and working with a trained personal injury lawyer, will help you prove your case. Caputo and Van Der Walde can provide you with exceptional legal representation when you have been in an accident. 

Person Taking Picture of Car After Head-On Collision

What is Considered a Head-On Collision?

Head-on collisions are fairly rare. They only make up about 10% of accidents on the road. A head-on collision is a full-frontal crash. A driver crashing into a stationary object is also considered a head-on crash. 

Causes of Head-On Collisions 

Head-on collisions are caused when one driver is traveling in the wrong lane of traffic. A driver might not notice that the street is one way. A person who is drowsy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol might not see clear signs stating that a street is one way. In some cases, one-way streets may not be marked properly.

Head-on collisions also occur on two-lane rural highways when a driver overtakes a car in their lane. They may think the driver in front of them is driving too slowly and try to get ahead of them, only to crash into an oncoming vehicle. 

When a driver speeds around a corner, they may cause a head-on collision. A driver going around a corner may not be able to see a vehicle in the opposite lane until it is too late to avoid it.

The driver who is headed in the wrong direction is almost always considered at fault in a head-on collision but there are some exceptions. 

If the accident took place on a one-way street and signs were not posted properly, the city where the accident took place may be partially responsible. The city may also be responsible if the yellow line that divides lanes is faded.

When Determining Fault Is Difficult

Cars get knocked around quite a bit during head-on crashes. It can be difficult for law enforcement officers to ascertain who crossed the center line when they are investigating an accident that took place on a single-lane highway. 

Insurance Company Investigations

In the state of California, the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying the associated bills. If another person caused your accident, you will file a claim with the insurance company of the at-fault driver.

Each party is responsible for the percentage of the accident they caused. For example, if the other driver is 90% responsible for the accident and you are 10% responsible, their insurance company would have to pay 90% of your bills. Your insurance company would be responsible for 10% of their bills.

The following pieces of evidence are used to determine fault:

The Accident Report

When you have an accident, the police officer writes a report that details the time and date of the accident and statements from you and the other driver. It may contain information about road conditions as well.

Witness Statements

Insurance adjusters often rely on witnesses when determining fault. It is important to get the names and contact information of witnesses at the scene of an accident if you can. 


Always take pictures after an accident if you are physically able to do so. Get photos of the positions of the cars and the skid marks on the road. Take a picture of the inside of the other driver’s car. You may be able to capture a cell phone on the passenger seat or a bottle of alcohol in the back seat. Photographs are the best evidence an adjuster can have. They are also hard to argue with in court. 

Mechanics Bills 

To receive compensation for vehicle repairs, you will have to present the insurance company with the repair bill. A report from a mechanic can also help determine who caused the accident. An adjuster may be able to determine who caused an accident by looking at the dents in the vehicles involved.

Medical Bills

Car accident lawyers can tell you that a head-on collision often results in severe injuries. Common injuries include traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, and chest injuries.

 An insurance adjuster needs to know the nature of your injury, the type of treatment that you received, and the type of treatment that you will need in the future.  Ask your doctor to write you a report to present to the insurance company.

Insurance adjusters need to know how much car accidents cost. You should save a copy of every medical bill you have received. 

Insurance Agent Evaluating the Damage in a Crashed Car

Why You Should Choose Our Law Firm

The insurance adjuster assigned to your case will decide whether to approve or deny your personal injury claim. If they approve your claim, they will make you an offer. The settlement offers an insurance company makes are often too small so you will need an experienced injury attorney to represent you.

Caputo and Van Der Walde can provide a personal injury attorney with years of experience negotiating with insurance companies. Our lawyers are trained litigators who can represent you in court if you need to file a personal injury lawsuit or a wrongful death suit. We have a team of devoted researchers committed to finding facts that will win your case. Our award-winning attorneys have won judgments of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Call us today.