A head-on vehicle crash is a scary and potentially life-threatening event. Even if injuries do not appear to be serious at first, pain and other symptoms can become worse in the coming days or weeks following the crash. Hairline fractures and signs of whiplash can take 24 hours or more to become apparent.
Serious injuries and long-term medical problems can include:
- Spinal cord damage
- Other head and neck injuries, including chronic headaches, dizziness, etc.
- Traumatic brain injury
- Memory loss
- Trouble sleeping
- Digestive disorders
- Emotional and psychological problems
- Facial injuries
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Loss of limb
Unlike rear-end collisions, in which the victim rarely sees the crash coming, head-on collisions usually involve seeing the crash before it happens. This can mean that in the split seconds before the crash, the victim tenses up to try to defend himself from the crash.
Tensing up when you see a crash coming often makes the resulting injuries even worse. This can lead to a temporary or permanent inability to work and ongoing high costs for medical care.
If you have been involved in a head-on collision as an innocent victim or the at-fault party, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately and learn how to protect your rights under Arizona law.
Let’s look at some of the important things to know about head-on collisions and the proper process for navigating the Arizona insurance and legal channels.
Documentation is Key
Getting a thorough medical exam with a physician or chiropractor should be your first order of business following any accident. Properly documenting the details of the head-on collision and your medical findings is absolutely critical.
If you were treated in an emergency room following the crash, be sure to get a complete copy of your medical record from the hospital or facility that treated you. Take a copy of that record to your physician or chiropractor. Insist that they, too, keep an up-to-date and thorough copy of your medical findings and treatment plan. You will need this documentation to seek financial reimbursement of costs you incur, and to seek additional relief for ongoing medical care, lost wages and legal representation.
Your physician is likely to recommend a care plan that will spell out when to see him or other providers, such as physical therapists, massage therapists or pain specialists. The care plan, also called a treatment plan, will explain when to seek treatment, how often, and what you should and should not do while healing.
Follow your care plan to the letter! Following your care plan is necessary to establish that you are doing everything you can to heal properly, and not doing anything to make your condition worse. This is important information when dealing with insurance companies and representing your case in court if it comes to that. One missed doctor’s appointment or incomplete medical documentation can seriously hurt your case.
You also need to get a copy of your accident report. The details in this report offer strong clues as to how your case might look to insurance companies and in court. To get an online copy of your Arizona accident report.
Once you have your report, go over every little detail. If there’s an error, you need to know, especially if it compromises your ability to represent your best interests.
Your Arizona accident report will include legally and medically important details about the accident. It will include a combination of facts the reporting officer collects, as well as your opinion and the other party’s opinion about what happened and how.
Facts will include details such as your name, vehicle type, license and insurance information, time of day, road conditions and lighting. These are things that cannot be disputed if they are documented correctly.
Opinions are more difficult to document and to determine who is telling the truth and who isn’t. We all know the saying, “There are three sides to every story: yours, theirs and the truth.” In accident reports, there is a fourth side — the reporting officer’s side.
Carefully reading the full accident report and documenting any errors as soon as possible can be a very important factor in determining the outcome of your case. This is true whether you go to court or not.
One thing to be aware of is that the insurance companies involved may try to get you to agree to a settlement before consulting our office. Do not be intimidated into agreeing to anything with an insurance company or responsible party until you meet with us.
We are going to work with you and your physicians to identify all current and ongoing medical costs, as well as any long-term impact on your lifestyle and earnings ability.
We are also going to talk with you about the accident and the details in the accident report. Were any of the involved parties texting or using their cell phone before or during the accident? Were the parties distracted in other ways, such as with children? Was alcohol or other impairment a contributing factor?
All of these details work together to determine how we will handle your case. Ultimately, our goal is to get the most relief for you as we possibly can, and ensure you are properly represented through all phases of the legal process.
If you have been involved in a head-on collision as a victim or accused of being at fault, contact our office to schedule a free consultation. We can help ensure you get the proper medical care you need to heal, and ensure you are well represented in court and with insurance companies.