A rear-end collision, or tailgate accident, happens when the front of one vehicle hits the back of another. We see these collisions when traffic backs up quickly due to roadway conditions and the rear driver speeds excessively.
The force of a rear-end crash might cause an accident victim’s body to move abruptly forwards and backward in their vehicle, leading to soft tissue whiplash injuries. However, in some circumstances, a rear-end collision can result in more severe injuries – including bone and rib fractures.
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end accident because of another driver’s negligence, talk with legal counsel immediately about your potential options. For example, your car accident lawyer in Tampa can file a claim under your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance coverage or a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Your lawyer can also negotiate with insurance company representatives to secure a favorable settlement offer on your behalf. Finally, if the insurance company does not offer appropriate monetary damages to settle your third-party case, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system seeking economic recovery. Your lawyer can then litigate your case at a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
Every step of the way, your lawyer will advocate for your legal interests and address your questions and concerns. Your attorney can also represent you at all legal proceedings in court and secure the best possible case result on your behalf.
How do Rear-end Car Accidents Usually Happen?
Rear-end car accidents typically happen when people drive too fast for the weather or traffic conditions. First, a driver may not leave enough stopping distance between the front of their vehicle and the back of another car. Consequently, if traffic backs up quickly, the rear driver may not stop their vehicle in time to avoid a tailgate accident.
Some drivers may drive too fast for the prevailing weather conditions, including heavy rain. When a driver speeds on a wet road, their vehicle may hydroplane, causing them to lose control of their car and hit the back of another vehicle.
In addition to speeding and tailgating, rear-end accidents may occur when people drive distracted or carelessly. Instead of observing the road, a driver might look at their mobile device, program a GPS navigation system, blast loud music in their vehicle, adjust the volume of their stereo system, or pay attention to passengers. All of these activities can take a driver’s attention off the road, preventing them from seeing what’s in front of them and causing a forceful rear-end accident.
Rear-end accidents may also happen when a driver becomes fatigued while behind the wheel. Drowsy driving can lead to numerous symptoms, including lack of concentration, delayed reflexes, and slower reaction time. Furthermore, if a driver falls utterly asleep at the wheel, they may lose control of their vehicle, causing an abrupt rear-end accident and injuries.
Finally, a rear-end accident may happen when someone else drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more are legally intoxicated. If they ultimately incur an arrest and conviction for DUI, they can receive criminal penalties, including jail time and fines, along with civil consequences (like if they cause a rear-end accident due to their intoxication).
Alcohol intoxication can lead to tailgate accidents because a driver may be unable to see or appreciate the distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.
An intoxicated driver may also experience delayed reflexes and reaction time, preventing them from stopping their vehicle before hitting the back of another car. Finally, drunken driving may prevent a driver from giving their full time and attention to the road, causing a severe tailgate accident.
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end accident that resulted from another driver’s careless or reckless behavior, you are not alone. As soon as possible after your crash, you should retain a skilled lawyer to represent you through every step of the process. Your lawyer can explore your legal options with you, file a claim on your behalf, and work to recover the fair settlement damages you deserve for your accident-related losses.
Potential Monetary Damages for Rear-end Car Accident Injuries
Rear-end car crashes can bring about debilitating injuries and the need for ongoing medical treatment. Those injuries may also produce significant pain and suffering, leaving an accident victim incapacitated for a long time. In some situations, car crash victims may suffer permanent injuries that present ongoing medical complications for the rest of their lives.
The monetary damages that rear-end car accident victims may recover are very case-specific. Some factors that influence the types and amounts of economic recovery that an accident victim receives include the type of claim, the nature and extent of the accident victim’s physical injuries, the force of the collision, and whether or not the accident victim suffered a permanent injury or impairment in the accident.
Since Florida is a no-fault insurance state, accident victims can first pursue a claim under their own Personal Injury Protection (PIP)insurance policy for their medical expenses and lost income, up to $10,000.
If they suffered a permanent or disabling injury in their accident, they can file a third-party personal injury claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company for various damages, including compensation for:
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Mental distress
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Permanent disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of the ability to use a body part
- Lifetime care costs
A car accident lawyer can estimate the total value of your case based on their prior case experiences. Your lawyer can then recover the monetary compensation you deserve through a favorable financial settlement offer or litigation result.
Who Has the Legal Burden of Proof in a Third-Party Personal Injury Case?
PIP insurance benefits are no-fault benefits in Florida. However, in a third-party personal injury case from a car crash, the injured accident victim must satisfy several legal elements to be eligible for monetary compensation and damages.
First, the accident victim must establish that their crash resulted from another driver’s careless and reckless behavior. For example, the other driver might have engaged in reckless, impaired, or distracted driving.
Next, the injured accident victim must legally establish that the other driver’s negligent actions or inactions caused their accident. Finally, the accident victim must show they suffered at least one physical injury in their car crash.
A car accident lawyer can help you satisfy the various legal elements of your personal injury claim or lawsuit.
First, your lawyer can retain a certified accident reconstructionist to investigate your accident circumstances, speak with witnesses, review police reports, and determine the likely cause of your accident. An accident reconstructionist can also draft a report supporting your version of events and, if necessary, testify at a discovery deposition or jury trial on your behalf.
In addition to retaining an expert accident reconstructionist, a car accident lawyer can retain a medical expert on your behalf. A medical expert can state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injury or injuries directly are due to your car crash. In addition, a qualified medical expert can establish that one or more of your car accident injuries are permanent.
Common Injuries in a Rear-end Car Crash
The ultimate injuries that a rear-end car crash victim suffers depend upon various factors, including the force of the collision and how the accident victim’s body moves inside their vehicle during the crash.
In some situations, the back-and-forth motion of a rear-end accident may lead to soft tissue injuries to the victim’s neck or back. At other times, this motion may cause the accident victim’s head to strike the headrest, window, or steering wheel, leading to a traumatic head and brain injury
Other common injuries that rear-end car accident victims may suffer include:
- Open lacerations
- Rib fractures
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Full or partial paralysis
Following a car accident, accident victims must receive all of the recommended medical treatment needed to get better.
For example, the accident victim might need to follow up with various medical providers, including primary care physicians, medical specialists, pain management doctors, and physical therapists.
Likewise, it is vital that accident victims continue with all of their medical treatment and that they do not discharge themselves from medical care. Otherwise, the insurance company may become skeptical of their injuries.
A car accident lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your case while you complete your medical care and recover from your injuries. Upon completing your medical treatment, your lawyer can file a claim with the appropriate insurance company and start negotiating favorable settlement compensation on your behalf.
Negotiating With the Insurance Company after a Rear-end Accident
One of the most important ways a car accident lawyer can help you with your case is by negotiating a fair settlement offer with the appropriate insurance company. Insurance companies are not going to do you any favors. In fact, they have a huge disincentive to offer you favorable monetary damages for your injuries. After all, the more money they offer you to settle your personal injury claim or lawsuit, the less money they can keep in-house for their benefit.
An experienced car accident attorney can aggressively negotiate on your behalf, highlight your medical records and other case strengths, and engage the settlement adjuster directly.
Moreover, if the adjuster does not offer you the fair damages you deserve in a third-party claim, your lawyer can threaten the insurance company with personal injury litigation in the state court system.
Your lawyer can then file a lawsuit on your behalf, assist you throughout the discovery process, and work to obtain a higher settlement offer. If that offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer can take your case to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration proceeding.
At a civil jury trial, your lawyer can introduce favorable evidence on your behalf and work to convince the jury that you deserve reasonable and fair compensation for your injuries. The jury will then decide what monetary damages to award you for your accident-related losses.
As an alternative to a jury trial, your lawyer can take your case to a binding arbitration proceeding. During a binding arbitration hearing, your lawyer will present evidence on your behalf. However, a neutral arbitrator – rather than a jury – decides the amount of monetary damages to award you for your injuries.
Your lawyer can help you decide between settling your case and various litigation options. Whatever you decide, your lawyer will aggressively fight for your legal rights and work to secure favorable monetary damages on your behalf.
Call a Car Accident Attorney Right Away
If you recently sustained injuries in a rear-end car accident, time is of the essence. Filing a lawsuit after the statute of limitations deadline expires will prevent you from recovering any monetary damages in your case. Therefore, you should act as quickly as possible after your accident.
A car accident attorney in your area can file a timely PIP claim or third-party claim in your case and negotiate with insurance company representatives on your behalf.
Your lawyer can also recommend whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or reject it. If you file a third-party claim that proceeds to litigation, your lawyer will represent you at all legal proceedings, including civil jury trials, mediation sessions, and binding arbitration hearings, and aggressively pursue your legal rights and interests.
Never underestimate your injuries from a rear-end collision. These so-called fender benders are capable of causing costly and disruptive injuries, and you deserve compensation like any other car accident victims.
Speak with a car accident lawyer who will take your injuries seriously and fight for all you deserve. Never wait to begin the claim process after this type of collision.