About 1.7 million auto accidents ranging from T-bone to head on collisions occur each year in the United States. A rear-end collision 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 auto insurance and to know what to do after a car accident.
Rear end collisions cause injuries to people and damage property. Severe head, neck, and back injuries are possible. It can also be hard to determine who caused the rear end accident.
For your safety as well as the safety of others 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 you’re 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 does not allow enough time for anyone to stop. A drunk or sleep deprived driver can’t judge distances as well as he or she 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
Serious 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 also be serious. The most common injury sustained is whiplash. 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, the police must be called to the scene. Let a doctor check you for accident injuries. Symptoms of whiplash or other injuries suffered in rear-end collisions can take time to appear. Follow up with a doctor if you have neck pain, stiffness, or loss of range of motion. Headaches, dizziness, 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.
People can recover from whiplash within a few months. However, some people continue to have pain for several months or even for years after a car accident. You never know if the injuries you sustained in an auto accident 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 all vehicle repair and medical receipts. Such records will help you build a personal injury case if needed.
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.
Also, there are lost or damaged property and lost wages costs. Finally, you may incur 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 give a precise figure because it depends on the amount of damage to repair as well as the type of car. Here are some cost ranges for common repairs.
- 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 interests. You can reach a settlement with the other driver if you can prove that he or she was at fault.
Who’s at Fault?
Sometimes rear-ending or hitting another car can be prevented and sometimes not. The driver who hit the car in front of him or her is usually the one found at fault. They caused the accident due to their action or failure to act. They did not pay enough attention, or they were otherwise impaired. This driver didn’t leave enough stopping distance between the two vehicles. They were speeding and couldn’t stop quickly enough when needed. Thus, this driver’s negligence led to the rear end collision.
There are exceptions though. For example, a distracted driver brakes hard when they see there is someone walking in the road in front of their car. This late notice causes the driver following them to rear-end their car. The accident could be the driver of the hit car’s fault. This is also true for reversing. If the hit car backs into another car, then that driver is at fault.
Courts look at negligence when trying to determine fault in a car accident. All drivers have a duty to be safe on the road. 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 on the part of the other driver.
Florida follows a comparative negligence system. This means that a judge or a 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 seriously 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 be brought to court by a personal injury lawyer. The court will determine which driver was at fault and award a settlement to the victim. The settlement will be received in a lump sum or in a series of smaller payments. Here are some average settlement amounts:
- Whiplash: $10,000-$25,000
- Injuries requiring further care or surgery: $50,000-$75,000
- Spinal injuries: $75,000-$100,000
- Brain injuries: $100,000-$250,000
- Paralysis or catastrophic brain injury: very high six figures to millions