About 1.7 million auto accidents occur each year in the U.S from T-bone to head-on collisions. A rear-end collision is a type of auto accident. It happens when the front of one motor vehicle hits the back of another. Rear-end crashes account for almost one-third of all accidents. It is important to always have driver’s insurance and to know what to do after a car accident.
What happens in a rear-end collision? The answer is simple. One driver hits another driver’s car in the back area. Who’s at fault, however, can be a more complicated question to answer. Rear-end collisions cause damages to people and property. Severe head, neck and back injuries are possible. For the safety of all on the road, learn what causes rear-end collisions, what to do if you are in a rear end collision, and how a rear end collision lawyer can help you if your in an auto wreck.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
There are many situations that can lead to a rear-end accident. Phone calls and texting cause distracted driving which is as deadly as drunk driving. Road conditions can be poor due to inclement weather. Traffic congestion causes cars to stop or slow down quickly. Ignoring speed limits and other road signs or hazards can also lead to a car accident.
Following too closely behind another car, or tailgating, won’t allow for enough time to stop. A drunk or sleep deprived driver can’t judge distances as well as they should. Braking hard in front of a car, sudden turns, brake failure and worn out tires are factors too. As you can see, there are many things that can cause a rear-end collision.
Effects of Rear-End Collisions
Heavy property damage can happen in rear-end collisions. A vehicle may be totaled or need costly repairs due to the impact. Injuries sustained in a rear-end crash can be severe. The most common injury sustained is whiplash. It is a neck injury due to a forceful and rapid movement of the neck. The neck moves back and forth too fast, like the cracking of a whip.
This can cause major neck pain. Spinal trauma, head or brain injury, broken bones and paralysis can also happen.
If you are ever in an accident, police must be called to the scene by law. Let a doctor check you for accident injuries. Sometimes in rear-end collision symptoms of whiplash or other injury can take time to appear. Follow up a doctor if you have neck pain, stiffness or loss of range of motion. Headaches, dizziness and tenderness and numbness in the upper body are all signs of whiplash. Other symptoms include fatigue, blurred vision, ringing in the ears and problems with memory.
Victims can recover from whiplash within a few months. However, some people continue to have pain for several months or years after a car accident. You never know if your injuries sustained will turn into chronic pain.
Be sure contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an auto accident. Document or take pictures of all the info you can gather about the accident. Keep vehicle repair or medical receipts. All these records may help a personal injury case to be built in the future.
Costs of a Rear-End Collision
There are some costs you should expect if involved in a rear-end accident. These can later be included in a car accident settlement. Save all expense records just in case. First, there are medical bills to consider. These include hospital stays, doctors visits, medications, rehab and equipment. Then there is lost or damaged property and lost wages costs. Plus out-of-pocket expenses from things like uncovered insurance claims.
How do you to repair cars from rear-end collisions, and how much will it cost? It is hard to say exactly because it depends on the amount of damage to repair. Here are some estimates to show how much repairs can cost.
- Cracked windows or windshield: $50-$300
- Suspension damage: $300-$5,000
- Dented bumper: $450-$900
- Deep paint scratches: $800-$1,500
- Major frame damage: $10,000+
Don’t let medical and repair costs overwhelm you. If the accident wasn’t completely your fault, consulting with an auto accident attorney is in your best interest. You can reach a settlement with the other driver if you prove they are at fault.
Who’s at Fault?
Sometimes being rear-ended, or hitting another car, can be prevented and sometimes not. The tailing driver, who hit the car in front of them, is usually the one found at fault. They caused the accident due to their action or failure to act. They did not pay attention as they should have or were impaired. They didn’t leave enough stopping distance between the two vehicles. They were speeding and couldn’t stop fast enough when needed. The driver’s negligence led to the rear-end collision.
Hit Car Fault
This are exceptions though. For example, a distracted driver brakes hard when they see a person is in the road ahead. Their late notice causes the driver following them to rear-end their car. The accident could be the hit car’s fault. This is also true for reversing. If the hit car backs into another car, then they are at fault.
Courts look at Negligence when trying to determine fault in a car accident. A driver is negligent if they fail to show reasonable care expected. All drivers have a duty to be safe on the road out there. If a person fails to perform this duty in any way, it is negligence. When determining fault, you must be able to prove that the other driver’s negligence was the cause of the accident.
Two types of negligence exist, comparative and contributory. Not many states follow contributory negligence, which looks for fault in the driver who was hit. If they are at fault in any way then no money can be recovered in a lawsuit. On the other hand, comparative negligence allocates fault between drivers. It takes into account each driver’s responsibility. It also looks at the damages based on the negligence of both drivers. Liability is reduced if fault is found in the other driver.
Florida follows a comparative negligence system. This means a judge or jury assigns a percentage of fault to each driver. They then allocate the damage award according to this percentage.
How Do I Get Compensated? How Can a Rear-end Accident Attorney Help Me?
Victims of rear-end collisions have the right to sue for property damage costs and compensation. If greatly injured, a driver may lose income and gain medical expenses. There can be much pain and suffering involved. Permanent injuries or death may occur. When these things happen, a case can also be brought to court by a personal injury lawyer. The courts will determine driver fault and award a settlement to the victim. Monies are received in a lump sum or in a series of smaller payments. Here are some average settlement amounts:
- Whiplash – $10,000 to $25,000
- Injuries needing further care or surgery – $50,000 to $75,000
- Spinal injury settlements – $75,000 to $100,000
- Brain injuries – $100,000 to $250,000
- Paralysis or catastrophic brain injury – very high six-figures to millions