Head-On Truck Accidents

Head-on collisions are among the worst types of auto accidents, but when a tractor-trailer is involved, the chances of severe injury or death are high. A truck head-on accident can disintegrate a smaller vehicle, and if the trucker was at fault, you or the surviving family should consult with a personal injury attorney immediately.

If you or a loved one was hurt or killed in a truck head-on accident, our Nix Patterson personal injury lawyers can help. Our experienced legal team could help you receive compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and more.

What Are Head-On Truck Accidents?

A head-on truck accident happens when two vehicles going in opposite directions hit each other. The point of impact for each vehicle is the front. While front-end collisions are relatively rare, they make up a more significant percentage of fatal accidents.

This is because when both cars are traveling in the accident, the force of the crash is doubled, making the risk of severe injury or death much greater. In a head-on collision involving a tractor-trailer, accident victims often suffer catastrophic injuries, including:

  • Traumatic brain injuries, which can cause permanent loss of cognitive and motor function, or death
  • Spinal cord injuries, which can lead to partial or total paralysis
  • Severe cuts and lacerations, which can cause permanent disfigurement and scarring
  • Burns from vehicle fuel tanks igniting
  • Crushed limbs necessitating the be amputated
  • Broken bones, which may need one or more surgeries to set and treat
  • Internal injuries, such as a lacerated liver or spleen, as well as organ damage from broken ribs
  • Mental trauma, possibly leading to PTSD

How Common Are Head-On Truck Collisions?

Forbes reports that head-on crashes comprised 10% of all fatal auto accidents in 2020. According to the Insurance Information Institute, this type of accident caused 3,631 deaths and thousands of serious injuries that year. These accidents represent approximately 3% of all large truck crashes annually.

If you’re in a head-on collision with a truck, the chances of severe injury or death are high. For survivors, speaking to a personal injury attorney is recommended. For surviving families, a Nix Patterson wrongful death attorney may help you receive compensation if the truck driver caused the fatal collision.

How Do Head-On Truck Accidents Occur?

Head-on accidents happen when two vehicles collide when traveling in opposite directions. They happen most often on rural, two-lane roads where cars pass each other in the other lane intended for oncoming traffic. Some of the most common reasons truck head-on accidents happen are:

  • The driver suffers a medical problem or falls asleep behind the wheel. Head-on accidents frequently happen at night or in the early morning hours. Visibility is low at these times, and it’s more likely the driver will be tired.
  • Drug or alcohol impairment causing the driver to lose awareness of their surroundings.
  • The driver becomes confused and travels in the wrong lane on the road. For example, a tired truck driver could go the wrong way on an entrance ramp and travel the wrong way on an interstate.
  • The driver is traveling too fast and loses control when driving.
  • The driver passes a slower-moving vehicle on a two-lane road and hits oncoming traffic.
  • The driver veers into the opposite lane to avoid a hazard in the road.
  • A blown tire caused the truck driver to be distracted or lose control.

How to Avoid a Head-On Truck Accident

Whether you are driving a car, SUV, or motorcycle, there are things you can do to avoid a head-on crash with any vehicle, including a tractor-trailer:

  • Be as visible as possible on the road. Make sure all of your front and rear lights work, and always have your headlights on after dark.
  • Do not drive distracted, especially on two-lane roads where most head-on collisions occur.
  • Never drive at night when you are tired; this is when many head-on accidents with trucks happen.
  • Use care when passing on two-lane roads. If you’re unsure if you can pass safely, wait.

Liability in Head-On Truck Accidents

A truck head-on collision often happens because of driver error, adverse weather conditions, tire defects, or other factors. If the tractor-trailer driver is employed by the company owning the truck, the firm could be held vicariously liable for the driver’s negligent actions. Also, the trucking company is responsible for keeping the rig in good condition, including ensuring the tires and brakes are safe.

Another possibly liable party could be the company that provided maintenance for the truck. An attorney can review the truck’s maintenance records and determine if maintenance was done improperly or skipped. Also, the entity that hired the trucking firm could be found responsible. If the load was not balanced correctly, the trailer could tip going around a curve, causing oncoming traffic to hit it.

If the truck driver, truck company, or other parties are responsible for the head-on collision, Nix Patterson’s truck accident attorneys will hold them accountable for your injuries and damages.

What If More Than One Party Is Responsible for a Head-On Truck Collision?

Some head-on accidents have more than one responsible party. If the crash victim was partially to blame for the crash, they still might pursue a claim in a state with comparative negligence laws.

These states allow an injured driver to seek compensation from the at-fault driver in certain instances. The compensation is reduced by the crash victim’s percentage of fault. For example, if you have $100,000 in damages from a head-on truck crash and were 30% at fault because one of your headlights wasn’t working, your settlement would be $70,000.

The Importance of a Head-On Truck Accident Attorney

Head-on accidents involving tractor-trailers almost always involve severe or fatal injuries, and you should have a truck accident attorney’s help immediately. These collisions are usually complicated and may involve more than one commercial insurance policy, and only an experienced attorney can get you the full compensation you deserve.

Your truck accident attorney may attempt to obtain an out-of-court settlement with the relevant insurance company if they offer a fair amount. However, truck insurance companies are notorious for aggressively contesting these claims. Your attorney can represent you in court and present the case to the jury if necessary.

Truck accidents often have life-changing injuries that require months or years of recovery and treatment. Your attorney will enlist the help of medical, accident reconstruction, and economic experts to prove the case and demonstrate the full measure of your financial losses.

Contact an Experienced Head-On Truck Accident Attorney

Many truck accidents involve serious injuries, and if the crash is head-on, it’s likely the injuries could be catastrophic and possibly fatal. In this circumstance, you and your family should only be concerned with your health and recovery, not the legal aspects of the tragedy.

If another person or entity caused the head-on crash, let our Nix Patterson attorneys handle the legal and financial side while you focus on getting better. Contact a Nix Patterson truck head-on accident attorney today for a free case review.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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