Brad Nakase, Attorney
Here is the information you need about receiving the compensation that you deserve for the injuries incurred to you if you were in an accident involving a rear-end.
Almost one-third of all injuries caused by road accidents are due to rear-end crashes, and this number is as high as 556,000 injuries per year.
On average, each American can be expected to be involved in an accident four times during the lifetime, and these are commonly caused by rear-ending.
If you know what to do after you get involved in a rear-end road accident, you can successfully claim the compensation of damages incurred to you by accident. Here is everything that you must know to claim compensation successfully after getting rear-ended.
It is difficult to avoid getting hit from behind, even if you drive with extreme care.
Tailgating: Most states’ laws require drivers to follow safely behind other vehicles. A safe distance is considered about allowing yourself at least three seconds to stop abruptly. Longer time should be applied if driving conditions are wet or hazardous.
Driving under Distraction: Drivers can be distracted by different reasons while driving, which can cause a serious accident. Distractions could include putting on makeup, using a cell phone, or eating. Other distractions could be looking away from the road, talking to someone else in the car, or looking in the back while driving.
Driving under Influence: The use of drugs or alcohol can significantly compromise the reflexes or the time to react. So, it can be the reason of serious rear-end accident because the driver is not in his senses to judge the speed or distance accurately.
Weather conditions: Snow, ice, mud, rain, fog, or high winds can cause difficulty for the driver to see in front of the car. They may fail to stop at the accurate time or to keep the vehicle in their lane.
A sudden stop: A sudden stop can lead to rear-ending, but it may not always be the driver in front’s fault. Some valid reasons could cause a driver to stop abruptly. These could include trying not to hit an animal or child, an accident in front of them, police in front of them, or construction.
There are chances of fatal injuries or disabilities for a lifetime in any road accident which includes rear-ending. However, mostly, the victims of rear-end collisions involve damage to the soft tissues.
Whiplash: When the shoulder, neck or spine are suddenly jerked or violently snapped beyond the normal allowable range, this is called whiplash. This causes serious pain and stiffness in the shoulder and neck region. The name whiplash is itself describes the condition where a whip is snapped off due to sudden movements such as hyperflexion or hyperextension.
Twenty percent of persons involved in a rear-end collision experience whiplash. Out of these victims, about 80% suffer the pain and stiffness that lasts more than seven days, and about half of these victims, experience the suffering longer than a year.
Back Injuries: This is another common type of injury that results from a rear-end collision. This injury can be very painful. The sudden force that causes the injury can be very harmful even at low speeds There is the potential to compress the spine or dislocate the discs of the spine at the lower back. Bulging discs and herniated disks are common examples of injuries that occurred due to rear-end accidents.
Face or head injuries: It doesn’t take a crash at high speeds to suffer from the face or head injuries. Many rear-end crashes happen at lowers speeds, i.e., lower than 20 mph. If the airbags are not deployed in a lower speed accident, this can cause your face to collide with the steering column. This impact of force is enough to fracture your nose, jawbone, or cheek, or even it can detach the retina. You might receive bruises and cuts on your face. If the airbag does deploy, you might have abrasions on your head. Arms and hand injuries can also take place.
Seatbelts: Seatbelts are there to secure your middle body if the car is hit. Your body slams forward in a rear-end collision and hits the strap This can result in bruises on your neck, torso, and shoulders.
Usually the driver that is the last to hit a car in the rear-end is found responsible. If you have been in a car accident, you usually seek to find payment for any damage to your body or property you have experienced.
Some states have no-fault insurance laws. If this is true for your area, you must ask your own insurance company for the payment of personal injuries. Med pay and Personal Injury Protection involve the payment required to cover all the expenses due to medical injuries, wages lost, and out-of-pocket expense. The compensation for suffering and pain is not included.
In states with no-fault laws, you are permitted to seek compensation from the other driver if you are severely injured or your PIP limit is reached.
You can file the liability claim for the damages incurred to you with the insurance company of the driver at fault if you are not living in a no-fault region.
The driver who rear-ends is usually held responsible for the rear-end accident. Normally their insurance company would payout for any loss due to your injuries.
In many states, there are laws for comparative negligence that allows you to claim compensation of your damages even though you might be partially responsible for the accident. The amount you receive for your claim will be decreased based on your amount of responsibility. An experienced attorney will be able to help prove you are not liable or lessen your amount of liability.
Here are some exceptions in case of rear-end collision liability:
You might believe the accident the fault of the driver that rear-ended you. You shouldn’t just wait for your claim to be approved and compensation to be paid. Insurance companies train the claim adjusters to deny claims on any available excuse and minimize the compensation amount.
Here are some of the important terminologies used in claim processing by the insurance company as well as the attorney:
Duty of Care means drivers are legally bound to follow traffic laws. It implies that the driver must drive safely, should stop at the red signal, avoid over speeding, and lookout properly for the pedestrians and other vehicles traveling on the road.
If someone stops paying attention or starts driving recklessly, then a rear-end accident can occur. It can also take place if a car’s brakes fail, and the driver knowingly refused to fix it. These are considered as negligent actions, and you are entitled to receive compensation in these cases.
It is your responsibility, or the proof of burden is on you to prove the other driver was negligent, which caused your damages.
You will need to show evidence of your injuries and that these occurred because of the rear-end accident.
In order to win your claim for the damages incurred to you in a road accident, you need to prove that the at-fault driver showed negligence. In such a case, you should gather as much information as you can to meet the burden of proof and win your claim. Here are some the evidence that you can go for to claim your compensation successfully.
If you are in an accident, then you must call 911. You may ask someone else to call if your injuries have disabled you. You must inform the dispatcher that you need help and are injured. If you are an injured pedestrian, then you must tell it to the dispatcher. Describe your condition to the dispatcher and inform him/her of your location, and any dangers like blocked danger or leaking fuel.
Police or other law enforcement may not show up for minimal property-damage accidents in a busy jurisdiction. Police usually respond to parking lot accidents when they are blocking traffic or if there are injuries reported.
Photographs and Video: You shouldn’t move the cars until you take photographs or make a video of the accident scene. You should try to take pictures from different angles, and get close-up photos of the point of impact. Videos of the other driver may capture admission of fault or evidence of intoxication. Photographic evidence can help in protecting you from false accusations and proving the other driver’s fault.
In case that the investigation officer is administering a drunk driving test, record the action with your cell phone from as close as possible. The photographs of any bottles of beer or open cans of alcohol must be taken that can be helpful in your compensation claim.
Witness Statements: Witnesses can be a great help for proving which driver was at fault. You should ask every witness for their name and contact information. Have the witness sign and date any account they may provide to you.
Some witnesses will be willing to help you, while others won’t get involved. There is no obligation on the witnesses to cooperate with you.
Notes in Detail: You should keep a diary about how the accident happened. Write explicit notes about your injuries, inability to perform daily activities, daily pain levels, your emotional distress, and interference with family relations. Use your diary as supporting evidence for obtaining compensation for your pain and suffering.
Police report: When the police arrive at the scene, they talk to both the parties to record their statement and survey the sight and call for the ambulance or medical care if required. The police officer investigating the accident prepares an official document called a report. They will add information about the witnesses and driver, statements and diagrams of the accident site. It may include the professional opinion of the investigator about who was at fault. You can purchase a copy of this report for a nominal fee.
Medical bills and records: If your treatment records contain the doctor’s notes; then your injuries will be directly tied to the car accident. Your medical expenses will be an integral part of your compensation demand. You should ask for copies of your medical bills. Keep the receipts for medical expenses which you paid for, such as, hospital parking fees, medications, and the fuel used for going to the medical appointments.
In the event you suffered minor injuries like bumps, small cuts, and bruises, you can settle with the insurance company on your own. You may not need to seek help from an attorney.
Calculate a fair amount of compensation by adding all the expenses for medical treatment, lost wages, and out of pocket costs. For pain and suffering, one or two times, the total amount can be added.
Severe injuries involves a high amount of complex claims. If you are injured severely, you can have an attorney who will get the available amount of compensation for you. It will be the duty of the attorney to find out all sources of compensation to get the maximum amount.
So, do not settle so quickly for a lesser amount. Instead, consult with the attorney to get the maximum compensation for your loss.
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