Did you know that rear ended car accidents make up about one-third of the car accidents in the U.S. annually?
A rear end collision may be a simple bump that causes little to no damage. However, this type of accident can also cause devastating injuries, damages, or even wrongful death. Common injuries include whiplash, spinal injuries, and head injuries like concussions or traumatic brain injuries.
If you’re rear ended by another motorist and suffer injuries and damages, you need the representation of an experienced New York car accident lawyer. The Albany law firm of Bailey, Johnson & Peck is here to help if you’re injured in a wreck. We are familiar with the complexities of New York law and can help you get compensation for your unique circumstances.
What Causes Most Rear End Collisions?
Most rear end crashes happen because a car follows too closely behind another car. The front car may suddenly stop, and because the rear car was following so close, they didn’t have enough time or space to stop. Thus, a rear end collision occurs. Driver inattention and distracted driving, such as talking to passengers or looking for music to play on your phone, can also cause these accidents. Other factors such as bad weather conditions or malfunctioning traffic signals may also play a role in rear end collisions.
When a driver strikes another from behind, they may be held liable for the damages and injuries they cause.
What To Do After a Rear End Crash
There are several things you must do to protect yourself after a rear end wreck.
Check to See If Anyone is Hurt
Check yourself for any injuries from the collision. Be sure to check on the other driver and any vehicle passengers if you’re physically able.
Gather Information at the Scene
Make sure to document the other driver’s information, such as their license plate number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and contact details. Photograph the accident site before moving the cars. It’s also important to take pictures of the road, weather conditions, road hazards, car damage, injuries, etc.
File a Police Report
Even if the accident seems minor, you should still call law enforcement so they can file a police report. This report will serve as an important piece of evidence if you decide to file a claim or lawsuit against the other driver. If the other driver’s negligence caused the wreck, it’s likely noted in the report.
Call Your Insurance Company
Call your insurance provider and give them a heads-up about the crash. Depending on the specifics of your policy, you may have some rental car and medical benefits.
You’ll need to provide them with the information you collected after the rear end collision. If your accident involved an 18-wheeler or other commercial vehicle, your insurer needs that driver’s commercial insurance and employer information.
Who Is At Fault in a Rear End Collision Accident?
The rear driver is often at-fault in a rear ended accident for distracted driving or following too closely. This is because all drivers are supposed to follow at a safe stopping distance. This road rule applies no matter what caused the front car to slow down or stop.
However, this isn’t an automatic decision. Sometimes other factors contribute to the lead driver being assigned fault. Among these factors are:
- Adverse road conditions such as potholes or icy roads
- Poor weather conditions causing low visibility
- Faulty or missing road signs or traffic signals
- Unmarked or unsafe work areas
- The lead car’s brake light isn’t working properly
- The lead vehicle reversed suddenly and without warning
Determining the at-fault driver also includes identifying what traffic laws were broken.
What Injuries Can Happen In a Rear End Collision?
A low-speed rear end crash may seem harmless enough, but even a minor wreck can inflict injuries. Rear end wreck victims can suffer from the injuries listed below.
This is the most common injury sustained in rear end collisions. It happens when the head suddenly and violently jerks forward and back. Whiplash causes pain and stiffness.
Fractured or Broken Bones
Because drivers are holding the steering wheel when an impact occurs, their arms or wrists can suffer fractures or breaks. Broken ribs or legs are also possible in high-impact crashes.
Back, Neck, and Spinal Cord Damage
Even an impact at low speeds can cause spinal injuries such as disc herniation and, in serious cases, paralysis. Depending on the type of spinal injury suffered, drivers can experience weakness, numbness, tingling, and chronic pain in their limbs.
Brain and Head Injuries
If the victim’s head strikes a part of the vehicle during the collision, it can cause broken facial bones or concussions. Sudden or jolting head movements can cause traumatic brain injuries.
Soft Tissue Injuries
Soft tissue injuries happen when the victim’s body is knocked around by the impact. This affects the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Drivers may experience swelling and pain from contusions or sprains.
Injuries from Seatbelts or Airbags
Airbags and seatbelts are lifesaving devices, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause injuries. A deployed airbag may leave behind broken facial bones, burns, and bruises. Cuts to the neck and bruises are common seatbelt injuries.
Loss of Limb and Crush Injuries
A driver’s torso or limbs may be crushed in a severe collision, such as being sandwiched between two cars. This type of injury may later require the amputation of limbs, toes, and fingers.
In a rear end accident, potentially fatal internal bleeding and internal organ damage can occur.
In severe rear end collisions, drivers can lose their lives. Instead of filing a rear end accident claim with our Albany attorneys, you would have to file a wrongful death claim in order to receive compensation for your loved one’s loss.
What Factors Determine a Rear End Collision Settlement Amount?
Getting into a car accident is confusing and stressful. You may be in pain, and if it’s your first wreck, you may not know what to do.
Car insurance companies like to take advantage of victims during this vulnerable time and aim to pay out as little as possible for your damages.
So how do you know what is a fair rear end collision settlement amount? Several factors play a role in calculating the maximum amount of compensation you can receive. There are two different types of damages: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic or monetary damages are quantifiable expenses such as medical bills or deductibles, lost wages, property damage, future injury-related expenses, or funeral costs.
Until you retain the services of an Albany car accident lawyer, be sure to keep all medical records and bills, receipts, invoices, and other crash-related information. Not only does this documentation serve as crucial evidence in your case, but it also shows what types of damages that you deserve compensation for.
These types of damages aren’t measured monetarily. In other words, you can’t measure the cost of physical pain and suffering or emotional anguish following a rear end accident.
It’s more difficult to estimate non-economic damages for a rear end car accident. Your attorney may do this by adding up the economic damages and multiplying them by a number from one to five. A higher multiplier is used for more severe damages.
Additional elements that may increase the amount of a non-economic payment include:
- A grossly negligent driver, driver’s employer, manufacturer, or insurance provider
- Wrongful death
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- PTSD or other psychological issues
- The amount of people who depended on the injured or deceased person’s support
- Reliable witness statements or traffic cam footage which may establish fault
Punitive damages are not awarded for all personal injury cases. When awarded, the intent is punishing the at-fault party for willful endangerment and extreme negligence. For example, a drunk driving accident victim who suffered catastrophic injuries may receive punitive damages from the negligent driver.
What If I Was Rear Ended By an Uninsured Driver?
Whenever you’re struck by an uninsured or underinsured motorist, check your insurance coverage. If your insurance policy includes underinsured (UIM) or uninsured motorist (UM) coverage, your insurance provider typically covers you for rear end collisions.
Contact Bailey, Johnson & Peck for a Free Consultation
Accidents happen on the roads every day, including rear end accidents. Rear end accidents can range from mere fender benders to major collisions that cause severe injuries and death. The rear vehicle is usually at fault in these accidents, however the lead vehicle may be to blame. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney to establish fault is crucial in your rear ended vehicle claim.
You need the guidance of a skillful and dedicated Albany car accident attorney if you’ve suffered injuries due to another driver’s negligence. The personal injury lawyers at Bailey, Johnson & Peck work tirelessly to earn a favorable outcome for you so you may begin your financial recovery.
Battling an insurance company is probably the last thing you want to do after suffering damages in a wreck. Leave that up to our Albany law firm. We’ll help you navigate through the complicated legal aspects of your case and ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Please contact us at (518) 456-0082 for help on your claim.