Rear-end car accidents are an unfortunate problem nationwide. A rear-end collision happens when the front of one vehicle strikes the back of another car. These accidents can happen just about anywhere, but they are common when a driver is speeding or distracted and traffic slows down abruptly. A driver can fail to slow down in time to avoid hitting another vehicle.
When a rear-end accident occurs, the driver and passengers in the front vehicle may suffer serious injuries. These injuries typically result from the abrupt forward and backward movement that comes with a tailgating accident. For example, the driver’s body might move back and forth quickly, causing their head to strike the steering wheel or headrest, resulting in a concussion or other traumatic head injury. Reach out to a Chicago car accident lawyer.
Moreover, the abrupt forward-and-backward motion might cause a driver or passenger to suffer a soft tissue contusion, such as whiplash.
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end crash that resulted from another driver’s negligent behavior, you should take legal action as quickly as possible. An experienced car accident attorney can meet with you to discuss how your accident happened and determine who likely caused it. Depending on the circumstances, your lawyer can then file a claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company or with your own insurance company.
Your lawyer can also assist you during settlement negotiations and litigate your case in the court system if the insurance company refuses to compensate you appropriately. Every step of the way, your attorney will be on your side, advocate for your legal interests, and help you maximize the monetary recovery you receive for your injuries.
Common Cause of Rear-end Accidents
Rear-end accidents frequently result from driver negligence and error. When a driver acts unreasonably under the circumstances, they might fail to notice the vehicle in front of them, causing a severe crash.
One of the most common causes of these accidents is speeding. When a driver significantly exceeds the speed limit, they are less likely to stop in time to avoid a crash. Similarly, when drivers tailgate other vehicles and execute other aggressive driving maneuvers, they are more likely to hit the car in front of them when traffic slows down quickly.
Another common cause of rear-end accidents is distracted driving. A distracted driver is an individual who does not pay sufficient time and attention to the road. Instead of watching the road and using their side view and rearview mirrors, the driver might be roughhousing with vehicle passengers, programming a GPS navigation device, or looking at their cell phone to read or send a text message.
When a driver engages in any of these activities, they may take their eyes off the road for a short amount of time. However, during this time, they might fail to see the vehicle in front of them, causing a rear-end crash.
Next, some rear-end crashes result from intoxicated and drugged driving. A driver is legally intoxicated when they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of at least 0.08 percent. Minor drivers under 21 years old, as well as commercial vehicle operators, must obey even higher standards.
When a driver is legally intoxicated, they may be subject to arrest for driving under the influence—or DUI. If they go to court and sustain a conviction, they may have to pay monetary fines or spend time in jail. In addition, if they cause a rear-end crash or other traffic accident as a result of their intoxication, they may have to pay civil damages through their insurance company.
Finally, some rear-end car accidents happen because of fatigued driving. When a driver is tired, they may fall utterly asleep at the wheel, causing them to lose control of their vehicle and strike the car in front of them. Alternatively, a drowsy driver might lose focus or experience limited concentration, preventing them from seeing the car in front of them or from stopping in time to avoid hitting that vehicle.
If you sustained injuries in a recent rear-end traffic accident that resulted from another driver’s careless or reckless behavior, you should seek out the legal help you need right away. A skilled car accident attorney can help you investigate your accident circumstances and, if necessary, retain an accident reconstructionist to look into your situation. That expert can also testify at a deposition or jury trial in support of your case.
Injuries in a Rear-end Car Crash
When another driver negligently causes their vehicle to hit the back of your car, you may suffer severe injuries that can lead to ongoing pain, medical treatment, and missed work time. Since every rear-end car crash is different, not all accident victims will suffer the same physical injuries and losses.
However, some of the most common injuries that accident victims do suffer include:
- Traumatic head and brain injuries, including concussions
- Broken bones
- Rib fractures
- Internal bleeding and other internal injuries
- Soft tissue contusions, including whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries
- Bruises and lacerations
If you suffered one or more of these injuries in a rear-end crash that resulted from another driver’s negligence, you have legal options. A knowledgeable car crash lawyer can review your circumstances, go over potential options with you, and help you embark on a course of action to maximize the monetary compensation you need. Your lawyer can also address all of your legal concerns and help you make informed decisions during your personal injury case.
Legal Elements of Proof in Rear-end Car Accident Cases
In a rear-end car accident scenario, the accident victim has the responsibility of proving all legal elements in the case. Otherwise, they will not recover monetary compensation for their injuries, lost income, and other potential losses.
First, the car crash victim must establish that the other driver owed them a legal duty of care. This element is relatively easy to establish since all drivers have a duty to drive safely and responsibly on the road. Next, the crash victim must show that the other driver deviated from their legal duty of care somehow. For example, the other driver might have violated one or more road rules, such as by engaging in distracted driving, road rage, or intoxicated vehicle operation.
Then, the crash victim must show that as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence, the accident occurred, which later led to physical injuries and losses.
When it comes to establishing the legal elements of your personal injury claim, your lawyer may need to retain various experts. For example, if the insurance company is disputing fault for the accident—or alleging that their insured did not cause the crash—your attorney can retain an accident reconstructionist to review the situation and formulate an opinion.
Moreover, your lawyer may need to retain a medical expert, such as a treating doctor or medical specialist, who can review the medical records in your case, physically examine you, and causally connect your injury or injuries to the rear-end crash.
Medical experts can be extremely helpful witnesses in cases where the insurance company is skeptical about an accident victim’s injuries. For example, the insurance company might take the opinion that an accident victim’s symptoms are the result of a prior injury, illness, or medical condition rather than the rear-end car accident.
A skilled car crash attorney in your area can evaluate your claim and help you satisfy the necessary legal elements. Your lawyer can also help you retain a qualified expert to testify in your case, further bolstering your right to favorable monetary recovery.
Helpful Evidence in Rear-end Crash Cases
If your car accident case goes to trial, your lawyer will need to submit evidence for the jury to review. Evidence can come in many forms. For example, testimony that you or another witness provide on the witness stand is evidence in the case.
Specifically, you can testify about how the accident happened, the injuries that you suffered, the medical treatment that you received, and the overall effects that the accident had on your life.
Similarly, other witnesses can testify about what they observed, the speeds of the involved vehicles, and other circumstances surrounding the accident. A fact witness who knows you can also testify about how, in their observation, your life changed following the car crash.
A car accident attorney can also introduce various documentary evidence in support of your case. For example, your lawyer can submit your medical records, medical bills, lost income documentation, police reports, property damage photographs, injury photographs, and other documents into evidence. Finally, your attorney can introduce expert testimony into evidence, including reports from accident reconstructionists and medical experts that support your case.
Recovering Monetary Damages Following a Rear-end Accident
Victims of rear-end car crashes may recover various types of monetary damages during a personal injury claim or a lawsuit. Since every car crash case is different, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of monetary compensation.
Factors that influence a final damage award include:
- The specific injuries that the accident victim suffered
- The extent of the accident victim’s medical treatment
- The cost of the accident victim’s medical treatment
- Whether the accident victim suffered a permanent injury in their accident
- Circumstances surrounding the accident
- The amount of income that the accident victim lost due to the accident and their injuries
First, accident victims may recover compensation for their related medical expenses, both past and future. If a medical provider determines that the accident victim may need to undergo surgery or other medical procedure in the future, the accident victims can recover those anticipated medical costs as part of their settlement, jury verdict, or arbitration award.
Next, if the accident victim had to miss time from work due to their injuries, they may recover lost income compensation. To prove entitlement to lost income damages, an accident victim will typically need to introduce documentation from their employer showing the number of hours or days they missed from work, as well as the total compensation they lost following their accident.
Moreover, accident victims who are unable to perform their current job duties due to their accident-related injuries and who have to switch jobs and take a pay cut may bring a claim for loss of earning capacity.
In addition to these economic damages, rear-end car crash victims can recover compensation for their intangible losses. These damages are called non-economic damages.
Potential non-economic recoveries that rear-end car crash victims may recover includes compensation for their:
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Mental distress
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Permanent disability
- Permanent disfigurement
A knowledgeable car accident attorney can help you determine the likely types and amounts of monetary damages you may recover as part of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer can also help you establish realistic expectations for a final damage award in your case and prepare you for all legal proceedings—including a discovery deposition, civil jury trial, or binding arbitration hearing.
Statute of Limitations in Car Accident Cases
Given the short statutory time deadline, victims of rear-end car accidents must take prompt legal action in their cases. If a car crash victim files their lawsuit after the deadline expires, in most situations, the courts will prevent them from recovering any monetary award for their injuries.
A knowledgeable car accident attorney can file a timely lawsuit in your case, protecting your right to receive the monetary damages you need to recover.
Call a Car Crash Attorney Near You Today
Rear-end car crashes, especially those that involve a significant amount of force, can lead to severe and painful injuries, lengthy medical treatment, and permanent complications. If you suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash, a skilled car accident lawyer can file a personal injury claim on your behalf and explore other legal options, like litigation. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer.
In addition to representing your interests during settlement negotiations with insurance company representatives, your lawyer can take your case to court, if necessary, and aggressively advocate for your legal interests there. Your lawyer can also help you explore other legal options, such as mediation or binding arbitration, as a way of resolving your case outside of court.
Whatever you choose, your attorney will have your best interests at heart and work to maximize the total monetary award you receive for your accident-related injuries and losses.