Experienced Wheeling Car Accident Attorneys Fight to Protect Client’s Rights to Compensation After a Head-On Collision
As part of the vast Chicago suburbs, Wheeling provides easy access to the city’s amenities while also giving its residents, workers, and visitors a sense of escaping from the urban jungle. However, this sense of relief is short-lived for those who suffer severe auto accidents in Wheeling or surrounding Cook or Lake County communities.
As of mid-August 2023, Illinois had recorded 655 fatal crashes for the year, resulting in 712 deaths. Between 2021 and August 2023, over 1,000 total deaths from car crashes occurred in Cook County alone, and over 100 more happened in Lake County.
Head-on collisions, in which two vehicles collide front to front, can be a particularly terrifying and dangerous type of car crash. If you’ve been injured in a head-on crash, talk to an experienced Wheeling car accident lawyer today.
Illinois Head-On Collision Accident Statistics
In 2021, the Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 2,702 “front to front” vehicle crashes, or head-on collisions.
While the number of head-on collisions was low compared to the total number of crashes in Illinois in 2021, the number of deaths and injuries in these crashes was quite high. In 2,702 head-on collisions, Illinois recorded 1,283 injuries. Front-to-front collisions also caused 146 deaths – more than any other category except pedestrian and fixed-object crashes.
To look at the numbers another way, head-on collisions totaled less than one percent of all collisions in Illinois in 2021, but:
- Head-on collisions caused 12 percent of all deaths in Illinois car accidents in 2021.
- Head-on collisions caused more than two percent of all injuries in 2021 Illinois crashes.
- An injury occurred in a head-on collision in 2021 more than 47 percent of the time.
While head-on collisions are uncommon, they cause devastating damage when they occur.
Why Are Head-On Collisions So Dangerous?
Head-on collisions occur when two vehicles crash into each other at the front end. Typically, both vehicles are traveling in opposite directions. Instead of passing one another, the vehicles collide.
Head-on collisions are especially dangerous because of the forces generated in the crash – and where those forces go when the vehicles collide.
It is a basic equation in physics that force equals mass times acceleration. The overall mass of an object and how fast it travels affect the force with which that object hits another. In a car accident, the mass of each vehicle and its speed affect how hard that vehicle hits a person, another vehicle, or an object. The force of the impact is transferred to those in the vehicle at the moment of collision, which can result in severe injuries.
In addition, the direction of the acceleration affects the total force. If both objects are traveling in the same direction, they “share” a direction of acceleration. If they hit one another, the force generated by that shared acceleration is mitigated because some of the impact goes toward the direction both are traveling.
In a head-on collision, however, the force generated by each vehicle’s mass times its acceleration has nowhere to go. The vehicles hit one another “full force,” so to speak. Those forces can result in severe damage to the occupants of the vehicles.
To see these effects in action, compare the death and injury statistics from head-on collisions to those from opposite-direction sideswipe collisions or crashes in which the vehicles avoid hitting head-on but still hit one another on the side. The Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 3,081 opposite-direction sideswipe crashes in 2021, but only 20 deaths and 706 injuries.
Head-on collisions resulted in death 5 percent of the time and injury 47 percent of the time. Opposite-direction sideswipes, by contrast, resulted in death only 0.6 percent of the time and in injury only 18 percent of the time. The higher death and injury rates in head-on crashes result from all the force of the collision being transferred to the vehicles and passengers rather than being included in the speed of a sideswipe.
Common Injuries Suffered in Head-On Crashes
The forces generated during a head-on collision can be extremely strong enough to damage a vehicle and a human body. As a result, it’s common for those who experience head-on collisions to have multiple types of injuries. Their injuries may also range from mild injuries like bruises or scrapes to catastrophic, life-threatening injuries like severe brain or spinal cord damage.
Injuries a person may experience during a head-on collision include:
- Head, back, and neck injuries,
- Brain and spinal cord injuries,
- Broken bones,
- Blunt force trauma to tissues and organs,
- Muscle and nerve damage,
- Amputations; and
- Severe scarring or disfigurement.
Crash-related issues like a vehicle fire or exposed wiring may also cause thermal or electrical burns and other forms of injury. For many who survive a head-on collision, lifelong medical care becomes a requirement.
What to Expect in an Illinois Head-On Collision Case
Every US state handles personal injury claims according to its own rules, including Illinois. Illinois law governs the time limits for bringing claims, the damages available, and more. An experienced attorney can help you determine how these rules apply to your case.
Time Limits in Illinois Car Accident Claims
Illinois’s “statute of limitations” sets a deadline for filing injury claims in court. In Illinois, you must file your claim within two years of the date of injury. If you miss this deadline, you cannot bring your case to court – unless a rare exception to the rule applies.
Most cases fall under the two-year limit with no exceptions. In some instances, however, the time limit may change. Even if you suspect it’s too late to file a case, talk to an experienced Wheeling head-on collision lawyer to learn about your options.
Compensation After a Head-On Crash
In a car accident claim, you may face many potential questions. These include “Who was at fault for the crash?”, “How did the crash cause your injuries?” and “What losses did you suffer?”
The third question is typically addressed with money damages. Damages are compensation paid to you to address your losses after an accident. In Illinois, most personal injury damages fall into one of two categories: Economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages seek to compensate you for financial losses. These losses are usually easy to calculate – they can be added up from bills, receipts, pay stubs, and other paperwork showing that you paid or lost a specific dollar amount due to the crash.
Common types of economic damages include:
- Medical bills, including hospital, surgical, emergency care, follow-up appointments with doctors, prescriptions, and medical devices or equipment.
- Lost wages if your injuries prevented you from working, including lost future wages if you will never recover enough to work again.
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property, such as a vehicle totaled in a head-on collision.
- Costs related to replacement services like housecleaning or lawn care, if your injuries prevented you from doing these tasks and you had to pay someone to do them.
Non-economic damages are tougher to calculate. These losses typically don’t come with a bill or receipt attached. That does not mean, however, that non-economic losses aren’t real. They are very real, and you deserve compensation for them.
Common types of non-economic losses include:
- Pain and suffering from your injuries, including the pain and suffering associated with healing and rehabilitation.
- Mental and emotional anguish, including flashbacks or other trauma symptoms from the crash, depression, anxiety, and other challenges in adjusting to life after the collision.
- Loss of enjoyment of life if your injuries prevent you from doing things you once enjoyed, from playing sports to tending your garden or hugging your family members.
Every car accident claim comes from a unique set of facts. Nobody else has your body, suffered your exact injuries, or was in your seat at the moment of the crash. For this reason, it’s important to talk to a lawyer about the details of your case.
Choose an Attorney Who Will Fight For You
A head-on collision is a terrifying experience. Even if you can’t recall memories of the crash, your injuries have traumatized your body. You may be afraid to get back into a vehicle, or your stress levels may rise whenever you see another car approaching you.
On top of these reactions to the crash, you may be fighting to recover from serious injuries – a fight that drains your energy daily. You may worry about how you’re going to pay the bills or support your family. You may wonder what your life will look like after the crash and fear you’ll never get to enjoy your favorite hobbies or activities again.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone – and there is hope. Talk to the experienced Wheeling head-on collision attorneys at Briskman, Briskman & Greenberg today. We’ll help you seek the compensation you need and deserve after a serious crash. To learn more, contact our office to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation.