Over one million rear-end collisions happen in the United States yearly. Of this number, around 1,700 people die, while 500,000 victims are left injured. According to these statistics, a rear-end collision is classified among the most common accidents in the U.S. This is why the legal and medical community take these accidents seriously. The "fender benders" are also categorized as rear-end collisions, and insurance companies will always use this to undervalue these types of accidents. However, no matter how fatal your accident was, you can get physical and financial compensation with a skilled rear-end accident attorney. If you or your loved ones have been involved in a rear-end collision, contact us at Dallas Horton & Associates, and we will help you fight for justice. Read through this article, and we will help you understand more about rear-end collisions and how to avoid them for those who are always on the road.
Major Causes of Rear-End Collisions
According to a National Transportation Safety report, 87 percent of rear-end collision is caused by distracted drivers. It is important to note that, no matter how cautious you are as a driver, you can not control how careful other drivers are. Some other causes include:
- Tailgating — These are the most common causes of rear-end collision. Tailgating happens when one vehicle follows another vehicle closely. Drivers are always advised to leave a space between the cars to avoid collisions.
- Distracted driving — Most drivers get distracted by either texting, calling, or generally using their cell phones while driving. Other reasons could be changing the radio, putting makeup on, lighting a cigarette, loud children, noisy passengers, eating, and looking away from the road.
- Driving under the influence — This is another common cause of rear-end accidents. When a driver is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, his/her response time and reflexes are delayed, which could make him/her make short stops while driving. Intoxicated drivers are also likely to fall asleep while driving.
- Poor weather conditions — Most people don't bother to check the weather forecast before they hit the road. Snow, fog, rain, ice, and high winds can make the driver lose control regardless of their driving speed.
- Sudden stops — These are also very common on the road. In most cases, it happens while combined with any of the above causes leading to a disaster. It often occurs when the driver is driving at high speed, approaching a red light.
- Driver fatigue — Driving while fatigued can lead to loss of attention on the road and slowness in making decisions, resulting in rear-end collision.
These factors can lead to a rear-end collision, regardless of whether you are delivering or receiving end. It is important to note these causes to avoid being subject to any of the listed conditions.
How to Avoid Causing a Rear-End Accident
Accidents, including rear-end collisions, are quite unpredictable and happen when we least expect. However, being extra sober and keen on the road goes a long way to help avoid unnecessary accidents. With rear-end accidents, you can be extra careful by employing the following drills:
- Always look way ahead of the traffic — being keen and keeping your eyes on the traffic ahead gives you the advantage of spotting when the traffic breaks no matter how unexpected. This way, you get enough time to brake and give the car behind you enough time to do the same. Consequently, panic-breaking that causes rear-end accidents is significantly reduced.
- Check your mirrors frequently — before slowing down or stopping, it is advisable to check your mirrors at an interval of between five and eight seconds. Check your rearview mirrors before coming to a stop sign or at the traffic lights. It helps you see whether the vehicles behind you are slowing down or stopping accordingly. It also reduces the chances of you bumping into a distracted driver on your rear.
- Be focused on your driving — it is imperative to stay focused when you are driving. You might be clear with no vehicles behind you, but a distracted driver comes out of nowhere and crashes into you. If you are focused enough, you will always find an escape route.
- Have an escape route in mind as you slow down or stop — it is hard to predict every other driver's state of mind on the road. As such, consider yourself the sanest of them all; consider having a way out in case a disturbed one comes charging on you.
- Do not rush to a red light or a stop sign — if you spot a stop sign or a red light, slow down gradually. It helps the driver behind you to make better decisions if they cannot spot the stop signs from far behind. Furthermore, if you rush, the red light could change before you cross over, leading to an accident. Gradual slowing will contribute to the health of your braking system.
- Leave enough space between you and the vehicle ahead — leaving a distance of about two to three vehicle lengths prevents you from locking yourself into a danger zone. If you are so squeezed, in case a distracted driver behind you charges at you, you might not have an escape route. It also allows you enough breaking space if the vehicle ahead stops abruptly.
- Premeditated escape plans — visualize the course of action you would take if the vehicle behind you charges at you. Try to dispose of the initial breaking instinct that most drivers go for whenever in a crash and embrace the possibility of driving off and taking the nearest and most accessible escape route.
- Ensure your brake lights are in perfect condition — checking your brake lights frequently goes a long way to prevent unwarranted rear-end collisions. Drivers behind you depend on your brake light in case you decide to stop or slow down.
Common Injuries From Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents are responsible for many accidents across the United States. Lives have been lost when people are living with terminal injuries on account of such injuries. These injuries have both physical and emotional effects on the victims. Some of the most common injuries related to rear-end accidents include the following:
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries — Whiplash injuries are injuries incurred on the neck, the upper back, or the shoulders. They are mostly caused when the head and the neck are snapped back and forth by a sudden unwarranted movement. The sudden impact of the movement causes ligaments and muscles around the neck or shoulders to overstretch in an instance. Consequently, they tear down or strain. Whiplash injuries last long, and the pain can be quite unbearable. The pain may even spread to the limbs, causing tingling, numbness, or weakness. Symptoms of these injuries include dizziness, headaches, muscle spasms, shoulder pains, and stiffness. If, after a rear-end accident, you experience such, you should engage a doctor as soon as possible.
- Black and Spinal Injuries — These are the most common injuries you are likely to get after a rear-end accident. Even worse, they are life-long problems and will stay with you for the rest of your life. The accident’s unwarranted impact may compress the spine, bruise back muscles and ligaments, or put unnecessary pressure on the vertebrae. Such injuries are characterized by herniated or bulging discs. The impact of a rear-end accident may force these discs out of position or burst open hence putting pressure on the spinal cord. Symptoms include sharp pain, tingling at the back area, and numbness.
- Arm and Wrist Injuries — Arms and wrists are also likely to incur severe injuries in case of a rear-end collision. The hands of a driver are expected to rest on the steering wheel. When a crash happens, the instincts will drive you to hold the steering firmly as you brace for impact. Consequently, your hands remain exposed to injuries, some of which might be very serious. Such could include broken wrists, stress fractures, dislocations around joints, sprained wrists, or damaged tendons.
- Fractured Ribs and Broken Bones — Fractured ribs are typical when the airbags deploy, hitting your chest with unexpected force. The force is enough to break or crack your ribs. The seatbelts pulling taut also contribute to broken ribs. It is even worse if you have harmful loose objects in the vehicle that may smash your face or limbs. In severe cases, you might even get a broken bone. Symptoms of fractured or broken bones could be dizziness, weakness, fever, deep intense pain, bruises, stiffness, and a feeling of chilliness around the affected part.
- Disfigurement and Facial Injuries — Rear-end accidents are known to cause severe facial scars and dislocation. It could include deep cuts, scrapes, bruises, lacerations, lost teeth, or jawbone damage. In case of rear-end collisions, shattered glasses, loose objects, slamming against the dashboard or steering are the causes of these face injuries. In severe cases, some of the incurred injuries may take time and multiple surgeries to heal. Some of the disfigurement may even cause esteem and emotional issues.
- Skull and Brain Injuries — Rear-end accidents can, in severe cases, cause skull injuries and even worse brain injuries. The collision could force you to smash your head against the dashboard or the steering wheel. A stiff, loose object could also come crashing on your head. Open wounds may result but, in worse situations, a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Intense whiplash may slam your brain against the skull.
Consequently, you may get a concussion, torn neurons, bruises, internal bleeding, or an ugly swelling. Head injuries can be problematic in the long run. Hence, you should seek medical attention if you experience these symptoms. They may take up to years to heal, and in severe cases, the damage may be permanent.
- Paralysis, Amputations, and Crushed Limbs — A rear-end crash can result in a more severe accident involving more vehicles with more casualties. If, for instance, the crash happens when the vehicles are at high speed, the results can be catastrophic. It can cause severe spinal injuries that may leave you partially or fully paralyzed, and your life could change unwarrantedly. Spinal injuries are expensive to treat and take a long time to heal even with years of therapy.
In cases where the vehicle is extensively crumpled, your limbs can be severed or crushed. Such injuries can demand amputations where the limbs are severely damaged. Consequently, your life will be altered. You can be forced to change jobs and be rendered jobless if the injuries are too severe. Moreover, treatment may require surgeries, which can be quite expensive.
- Emotional Effects of Rear-End Collisions — The emotional effects of a rear-end accident can be quite overwhelming to both the victim and their loved ones. High medical bills, car loans, trauma, and anxiety can cause overwhelming stress levels. If the crash is severe and the victim gets terminal life-changing injuries, this may weigh heavily on their families. The cost of treatment and inability to work is enough to disorient a family. However, the victim could explore injury settlement options to alleviate their suffering, especially if they are not responsible for the accident. Such could help cater for some of the expected unwarranted expenses.
What to Do After a Rear-End Accident
After involvement in a rear-end collision, it is imperative to steer away from harm’s way. There are chances of more unappealing situations even after the accidents; a fire could break out.
Drive your vehicle to a safe spot at the side of the road and contact law enforcement officers. If you have passengers, check on them and ensure none is seriously injured. You can then check out the other vehicle’s occupants and also ensure they are safe.
When the law enforcers arrive alongside the medical personnel, ensure you get evaluated no matter how insignificant your injuries might appear. Shock and fear from the crash may freeze your injuries symptoms, and such could haunt you later.
If you are fit, take photographs of the accident scene on your phone. Take pictures of those involved, the vehicles, traffic signals, speed signage, or anything outstanding features on the scene. While the officers on-site take a report of the accident, consider taking the contacts of those involved, especially the other driver.
After clearing with the accident scene, you should then contact your attorney. Your attorney should then notify your insurance service provider. Note that insurance companies will be seeking to reduce the amount of compensation they can give out. Thus, it is better to let an experienced personal injury attorney handle them.
If you are involved in a rear-end accident, you should take some time off from your daily activities for a few days and pay attention to your body. It comes in handy to help you identify symptoms of injury. Take notice of change in sleep patterns, unnecessary pain, change in vision, and memory. In case of any unusual changes, consult a certified medical practitioner, and get checked accordingly.
Suing for a Rear-End Accident Claim
If you are entirely on the clear and played no part in the rear-end accident, you can confidently sue for a rear-end accident claim. After the accident, you should file a personal injury claim to get deserved compensation. In most cases, the driver in the back is responsible for the collision. You will file the lawsuit against the at-fault driver's insurance service provider through your attorney's guidance. The insurer will always offer you a low settlement, but your attorney can push for the best you deserve.
If the insurance is unwilling to offer you the best settlement, especially if you are the victim, you can file a lawsuit to get the right compensation. Getting an esteemed and experienced lawyer is critical to getting the best settlement.
How to Prepare for a Rear-End Accident Lawsuit
Preparation is critical to getting a deserved compensation. Immediately after the accident, you should proceed to engage your lawyer on the way to go about the settlement. You can start the process in the following ways:
- Start at the Accident Scene — Preparation starts right at the accident site. If you did not incur serious injuries filing a personal claim should be on your mind. Accidents are subject to severe legal battles, especially when the at-fault driver's insurance company is trying to dismiss a settlement. To be on the safe side, collect as much evidence as possible. After ensuring that everyone gets the necessary medical help and those with life-threatening cases are attended to, the following are to win you compensation:
- Take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles involved, your injuries, and anything relevant for your case.
- Get the contacts of other drivers and their insurance providers’ details.
- Keep records of the effects of the accident, both physically and emotionally.
- Engage witnesses or anybody on-site, get their names and contacts
The above details come in handy to support your case.
- Collect evidence Against the At-Fault Driver — To win your case, you have to prove that the other driver is responsible for the rear-end accident. You have to show how their negligence caused the accident and that the damages you incurred are solely due to the accident. The first and most significant piece of evidence is the report collected by the police at the scene. This report provides a detailed account of whatever happened, including who was at fault for the accident. It further provides facts, some of which can be critical to your case.
- Showing Your Damages — To prove your case's credibility, you have to demonstrate how the accident negatively impacted your everyday life. It means keeping detailed records of any expenses you might have incurred on account of the collision. Some of the records you have to keep include:
- Any medical bills that you have already incurred, prescriptions, surgeries, tests, among others
- Any expected future medical costs you are likely or expected to face, such as scheduled surgeries or tests.
- Lost livelihood and wages from a job you can no longer attend
- Vehicle repair or parts replacements
- Lost earnings due to inability to attend to expected tasks, jobs, or business ventures
- Pain and suffering caused by the damages; you might have acquired life-changing injuries that will change your way of life and the ability.
Most of the damages can be demonstrated through bills, pay stubs, and receipts. However, others will need the intervention of a highly qualified vehicle accident lawyer to prove. Such lawyers are capable of demonstrating how much emotional and physical damage the rear-end accident caused you in a way you might not be able to express.
- Filing the Complaint — After collecting the relevant evidence needed for the case, the next step is filing a formal complaint. A formal complaint explains what happened and how the accident has hurt you and the size of compensation you are demanding for your damages. The complaint entails clearly outlining the reasons why you are seeking compensation. However, with a reasonable attorney alongside you, the process is bound to be flawless.
After filing a complaint, the legal process to get your claim kicks off. The process does not necessarily have to end up in court if the two parties agree. However, if the at-fault party fails to meet your demands or offers a low settlement that may not settle your bills, going to court cannot be ruled out.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has its period within which you can file a personal injury claim. In Nevada, you have a maximum of two years to sue for compensation after a rear-end accident.
Find a Rear-End Accident Attorney Near Me
If you are looking for the best car accident lawyer in Las Vegas, Dallas Horton & Associates is here for you. Our team of experienced attorneys has a comprehensive understanding of Nevada’s personal injury laws, which can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 702-380-3100 to get the best representation possible.