A rear-end accident occurs when the front bumper of vehicle A directly collides with the back of car B. It could lead to a chain reaction involving other vehicles. Moreover, this type of car accident can cause death and property destruction.
For instance, the National Safety Council (NSC) reported 3,000 deaths and 1,386,000 injuries involving rear-end accidents in 2020. In 2021, the Insurance Information Institute (III) documented 2,428 fatal rear-end collisions.
However, behind these numbers are real people. The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reported a rear-end collision that seriously injured a 30-year-old and a 26-year-old driver. According to the report, the 26-year-old driver crashed into the back of a pickup truck.
ABC13 also reported a pickup truck ran into the back of a black Toyota Camry, killing one passenger. Although the Camry’s driver and front passenger did not suffer critical injuries, the Houston Police Department pronounced the back passenger dead at the scene. These news stories show the devastating effects of rear-end crashes.
Contact a personal injury attorney if you suffered due to a rear-end collision. This way, you can discuss legal options and receive the proper compensation for your injuries.
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Causes of Rear-End Accidents
The common causes of a rear-end collision include aggressive or negligent driving, driving under the influence (DUI), poor vehicle maintenance, bad weather, and poor road conditions.
Aggressive or negligent driving
Aggressive driving is one of the causes of rear-end accidents. For instance, tailgating or driving too closely behind another car can cause a collision if the lead driver stops suddenly. Going over the speed limit also places another person or property in danger. More often, a higher speed results in more devastating accidents.
A rear-end crash may also occur if the lead driver steps on the brakes suddenly. It may cause the trailing driver to collide with the vehicle in front. Another instance involves a driver changing lanes without signaling.
Rear-end collisions may also happen due to driver inattention, including eating, drinking, reaching for an object, and texting. It prevents the driver from being aware of other vehicles.
Driving under the influence
DUI is a criminal offense in all states. It involves driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or controlled substances, such as opiates and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Intoxication affects drivers’ ability to judge distances. Moreover, an intoxicated person experiences slowed reaction time, poor coordination, and loss of balance.
In 2020, there were 11,654 deaths due to drunk driving. For instance, the Indiana State Police responded to an auto accident involving a 2013 Subaru BRZ and a Lexus RX350. According to the investigation, the Subaru BRZ’s driver was intoxicated, resulting in the rear-end crash and death of the Lexus’ backseat passenger.
Poor vehicle maintenance
Poor vehicle maintenance can lead to accidents. For example, if you drive with faulty brake lights, other vehicles will not be aware that you are slowing down. Hence, they can rear-end your vehicle.
Moreover, driving with poorly functioning brakes will prevent you from stopping quickly. Brakes may fail due to worn-out pads or rotors and malfunctioning anti-lock braking systems (ABS). Defective turn signals can also lead to severe crashes because other drivers will not know your intentions.
Drivers also experience loss of control because of improperly maintained vehicles. For instance, damaged tires can affect stopping distance. Besides, tread separation can reduce the tires’ grip on the road.
Inclement weather may cause unsafe driving conditions, such as slippery roads and poor visibility. Drivers may also experience difficulties operating vehicles through bad weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow storms, and strong wind. As a result, drivers can have a slow reaction time and lose control of the vehicles.
Poor road conditions
Poor road conditions include sinkholes, potholes, cracks, broken concrete, and exposed steel bars. Due to uneven road surfaces and blockages, a driver can lose motor vehicle control. Hence, the vehicle can change lanes suddenly and crash into another car.
Unfortunately, 43 percent of US public roadways are in bad condition. Due to this large percentage, vehicle owners spend about $130 billion per year on repair costs.
Tips To Avoid Rear-End Collisions
You can avoid rear-end accidents by following traffic regulations and tips. Although you cannot prevent car accidents completely, reducing the risk of being involved in such a collision is possible.
Maintain a safe following distance
You should keep a safe distance between other vehicles. It helps to follow the three-second rule.
To do this, select a road landmark that the car ahead passes, such as a street light or sign. You should pass that marker after counting three seconds. Otherwise, you are following the vehicle too closely.
Maintaining a safe following distance allows the rear driver to anticipate the lead driver’s actions, like braking and changing lanes. That leeway will enable them to react promptly and avoid rear-end car accidents.
You should also increase the following distance when necessary. For example, when a rear driver is tailgating you, allow extra space between your car and the vehicle in front. Slippery roads and following a large vehicle also require more distance between vehicles because of the hazards they pose.
Stay alert while driving
Road cracks and broken concrete can damage your tires. Staying alert allows you to react safely rather than forcing you to slam the brakes when you encounter them.
You must also check your mirrors frequently. Always look in your mirrors before turning or reducing your speed. They allow you to monitor other vehicles and prepare for potential dangers.
You should also avoid staying in another driver’s blind spot. For example, the blind spots of semi-trailers are directly behind them and right by the driver’s side. If you stay in those areas, the truck driver may change lanes without realizing you’re there. You may have no choice but to slam on the brakes, resulting in a tricky rear-end collision.
Let other drivers know your intentions when driving. For instance, gradually stop when preparing to turn. It also helps to use your turn signal before changing lanes. When stopping at an intersection, leave your turn signals on. This way, other drivers will know your intentions when the traffic light changes.
It also helps to avoid changing lanes as much as possible. Researchers at Toronto University found that changing lanes does not ensure a shortened travel time. Moreover, it puts drivers and passengers at risk for accidents and injuries. Minimize the risk of surprising other drivers by driving at a steady speed and direction.
Check your car regularly
Check your mirrors, tires, brakes, and fluids for any issues before driving. Consult the vehicle’s manual for the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) to ensure the proper inflation of tires. You should also have a mechanic check your brake pads. Replace them if they are less than one-fourth-inch thick.
Test your headlights, turn signals, and brake lights regularly. You can do that by turning the ignition to the first position. Flick on with sidelights, then turn on your dipped beams, side beams, and fog lights. Next, turn on your front indicator lights and rear lights. You should also check the hazard lights.
If your lights are not working correctly, contact a car repair center to replace faulty auto parts.
Dangerous Effects of a Rear-End Accident
Rear-end accidents can have various effects, including minor and serious injuries, property damage, and fatalities.
The common injuries in rear-end crashes include whiplash, back strains, and slipped or herniated discs. The accident can also affect the victims’ brain and spinal cord.
Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from sudden deceleration or acceleration, usually during a rear-end collision. Although most people who suffer from neck injuries recover within a few weeks, some patients experience lasting pain.
Back strains and sprains are injuries to muscles or tendons. It occurs when the impact of a rear-end car accident causes the driver or passenger to twist their bodies. It brings immense pain, muscle spasms, and decreased range of motion.
A high-impact car crash can also cause slipped or herniated discs wherein the backbones become maladjusted. Symptoms of herniated discs include numbness or tingling, muscle weakness, and pain in the thigh, buttocks, or calf.
Accident victims may also experience brain and spinal cord injuries. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) usually happen because of a significant blow to the head. Some symptoms may appear immediately, while others may only appear after a few days or weeks following the accident. Patients with TBI usually experience headaches, slurred speech, blurred vision, disorientation, unusual behavior, and seizures.
Similar to the injuries mentioned above, spinal cord injuries need prompt medical care. In severe cases, they can lead to permanent paralysis, affecting a person’s quality of life.
Several news stories show that rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries. For example, CBS News reported a rear-end crash on Interstate 94, which critically injured a driver. According to Michigan State Police, alleged reckless driving was the cause of the accident. The authorities temporarily closed the freeway for the investigation.
A rear-end accident may also result in vehicle and property damage. It’s rare, but a car may explode in flames when involved in a deadly collision. Moreover, residential and commercial buildings may also be affected when involved vehicles crash into them.
Aside from the expected vehicle damage from a rear-end collision, cars can also have hidden damage which can be challenging to spot. For instance, the transmission components can shift positions due to the crash. Your tailpipe may also fall out of place.
Aside from accident injuries, rear-end crashes can also cause fatalities. NBC News reported a violent 151-mph crash that killed six people. The at-fault driver was operating a white BMW when it collided with the back of a Nissan Rogue. Due to the force of the collision, the Nissan flipped and rolled. Five occupants of the Nissan Rogue were dead at the scene, while a sixth passenger died at the hospital.
CBS Austin reported another fatal rear-end incident. A woman died after a fast-moving Ford F-150 rear-ended her Kia Optima in Burnet County. According to police officers, the F-150 did not stop at a red light.
Determining Liability in Rear-End Collisions
The possible liable parties in rear-end accidents are the rear driver, the lead driver, and a third party. You need a personal injury lawyer to prove liability and win your personal injury case or a wrongful death claim.
Failure to keep a safe following distance may make rear drivers liable for a collision. Aside from tailgating, the rear driver may be responsible in the following scenarios:
- The driver was distracted while driving. For example, they were using their mobile phones, eating, or adjusting a navigation app while driving.
- The driver did not yield to the party with the right of way.
- The driver went beyond the speed limit, failing to stop in time.
The lead driver may also be at fault if they violate traffic regulations. They may be liable in the following instances:
- The lead driver suddenly stops or makes a turn without using signals.
- The front vehicle has faulty brake lights.
- The lead driver reverses into the rear car, which can usually happen in parking lot accidents.
Brake failure or accelerator defect could cause rear-end collisions. General Motors recalled almost 3.5 million pickup trucks and SUVs in 2019. The recall was due to a fault with the powered brake-assist system.
The NHTSA received 111 complaints alleging the defect may have caused 113 crashes and 13 injuries. According to the complainants, the system required drivers to make more effort to push the brake pedals. The recalled vehicles involved the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra, and GMC Yukon.
The reckless actions of a third driver can also force other drivers to take evasive action leading to rear-end collisions. Pedestrians may also be liable when they suddenly step into traffic. Each accident case varies, so you need a car accident attorney to help figure out your injury claim.
Filing a Rear-End Collision Insurance Claim
The procedure of filing insurance claims depends on the at-fault or no-fault state’s requirements. The main difference between the two is who pays for the damages. A rear-end accident attorney can help you file insurance claims for accident injuries and property damage.
At-fault states include Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, South Carolina, and Washington. In these states, the at-fault driver must pay damages to other parties. Hence, the insurance company pays for the damages due to each party.
You must file a claim for damages with the other driver’s insurance company. After filing a claim, an adjuster will determine how much the company must pay out to claimants. States also established when an insurance company must respond. Illinois, for instance, mandates a response within 30 days.
No-fault states include Florida, Kansas, Hawaii, Michigan, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Utah. In these states, drivers must file a claim with their insurance company after a rear-end crash.
The abovementioned states require personal injury protection (PIP), which covers medical bills. However, the company will still conduct a case review to determine the appropriate amount it must pay. For example, it can challenge medical fees that are too expensive.
The no-fault system provides a simple way for victims to receive compensation. Since it only compensates for minor injuries, victims can file lawsuits if they suffer catastrophic injuries.
Evidence in a Rear-End Accident Case
The types of evidence in rear accident lawsuits include physical evidence, witness testimonies, photographs, videos, and medical records. An experienced attorney in the field of personal injury law can help gather and present the proper evidence.
Physical evidence includes anything tangible after a car accident. Your lawyer can present metal parts, brake light glass, debris from the undercarriage, or any damaged property. Blood droplets or torn pieces of clothing can also be considered physical evidence. Your rear-end collision lawyer will be responsible for arranging these pieces of evidence.
Photographs and videos
Photos and videos can show the accident scene, skid marks, accident injuries, level of property destruction, and road conditions. It also helps to take close-up pictures of any damage to prove your losses. Aside from presenting in court, you can send this to the insurance company as a basis for your claim.
Witnesses can provide an objective perspective of the incident. They can also support your claims to strengthen your case. Otherwise, it is your word against the other driver’s statement. However, some witnesses need time to decide whether they are willing to testify. Hence, you must collect their names and phone numbers to contact them later.
Rear-end accidents often cause wrongful death or injuries. Medical records can help show that the collision was the cause of the victim’s injuries or death. The courts and insurance companies will use the documents to evaluate proper compensation.
Medical records include diagnostic test results, surgical records, medical history, and pictures of surgical scars and bruises. Having a lawyer can save you time in collecting these documents.
Statutes of Limitations for Rear-End Accidents
An accident attorney knows the statutes of limitations under personal injury law. The statute of limitation pertains to the period you can file a claim. The court will not consider your complaint if you go beyond the period.
States have varying statutes of limitations. You must file your property damage and injury claim in Arizona within two years.
On the other hand, Colorado requires plaintiffs to file such claims within three years. But in Florida, you must raise such complaints within four years. Rhode Island imposes the most protracted period: 10 years for property damage claims.
Recoverable Damages in Rear-End Accident Lawsuits
Damages refer to the remedy people seek to compensate for their injuries. Victims may get compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, pain, and suffering. With the help of an accident lawyer, you can receive the payment you or your loved one deserves.
Medical bills may include emergency room fees, surgery costs, doctor’s fees, and prescription medications. You can file an accident claim for minor injuries or initiate a personal injury lawsuit for prolonged medical attention and expensive medical bills.
Lost wages pertain to the money you can earn if you did not suffer injuries due to the rear-end accident. For example, you could recover from the at-fault driver the salary and bonus you could have earned from a pending promotion. Some victims even experience reduced earning capacity if they have to take a lower-paying job due to the crash.
Aside from medical attention, you may also need to repair your vehicle. Moreover, it is possible to receive compensation for transportation costs if you cannot drive your car due to the accident.
Sometimes, rear-end collisions destroy residential and commercial buildings. In these cases, the at-fault driver must provide the repair costs.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering pertain to the emotional distress experienced by victims of rear-end accidents. It includes the loss of enjoyment of life, psychological trauma, and grief. Hence, the law recognizes the mental anguish that victims of rear-end incidents may experience.
Get a Rear-End Accident Lawyer Through The Personal Injury Center
Rear-end collisions usually happen because of aggressive driving, DUI, poor vehicle maintenance, bad weather, and poor road conditions. Unfortunately, they can lead to accident injuries, property damage, and fatalities. In a rear-end lawsuit, the possible liable parties include the rear driver, the lead driver, and a third party.
A rear-end collision lawyer can help present evidence, prove liability, and request damages. Reputable law offices also employ personal injury attorneys that can help settle insurance claims, so you receive the compensation you deserve.
Visit the Personal Injury Center for the proper resources, including a list of experienced lawyers in rear-end collision lawsuits. We offer a free consultation to help protect your legal rights. Book a free case evaluation today!
FAQs on Rear-End Accident Lawyer
Other types of car accidents include head-on collisions, side-impact accidents, chain reactions, and rollovers.
The compensation you can receive depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. Hence, there is no definite amount for rear-end settlements. Insurers also use varying formulas to compute an accident claim.
You should seek medical attention after a collision. You should also stay at the accident scene unless you need to go to a hospital. Wait for the police before leaving the place of the incident.