Mitchell Lattof | November 14, 2020 | Car Accidents
A rear-end collision happens when the front of a vehicle slams into the rear of a vehicle. Rear-end crashes are often referred to as “fender benders” because the front fender strikes the other car’s rear fender. Calling the crash a fender bender makes it sound as if a rear-end collision is not a serious car crash, but that is far from the truth.
One of the most common types of car accidents in the United States is the rear-end collision. In 2018, over 2.1 million rear-end crashes were reported. Those crashes resulted in 594,000 injuries and 2,439 fatalities.
Rear-end crashes are serious car accidents. They result in traumatic injuries and millions of dollars in damages each year. Accident victims can seek compensation for their injuries and damages by filing a personal injury claim.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Human error is one of the most common factors in rear-end collisions. However, weather and road conditions play a factor in some rear-impact crashes. Defective brakes and other defective automobile parts can also be a factor in some crashes.
Factors that often contribute to the cause of a rear-end accident include:
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Failing to obey traffic laws
- Texting while driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Aggressive driving
Many newer car models are equipped with an AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking) system. AEB systems detect impending frontal collisions and apply the brakes to slow the vehicle. However, drivers should not rely on safety technology to prevent a rear-end accident.
Drivers can reduce their risk of causing a rear-end collision by remaining alert and avoiding distractions while driving. Individuals can also reduce their risk of a car wreck by avoiding dangerous driving behaviors, such as driving and driving, speeding, and fatigued driving.
Common Rear-End Collision Injuries
A rear-end crash can cause a variety of injuries. Some injuries caused by a rear-impact crash might be minor and heal within a few weeks. Other injuries can result in permanent impairments or disabling conditions.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries drivers sustain when their vehicle is hit from the back. The force of the impact causes the head to whip back and forth violently. The motion causes damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck.
The treatment for whiplash is general rest and pain medication. Most cases of whiplash do not result in long-term pain or impairments. However, there are cases of whiplash that can require additional treatment because the individual suffers from chronic pain and/or reduced flexibility.
Other injuries that a person might sustain if they are involved in a rear-end accident include:
- Airbag and seat belt injuries
- Broken bones
- Chest injuries
- Facial injuries
- Bugling or slipped discs
- Spinal fractures
- Brain injuries and head trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
If you are injured in a rear-end accident, it is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. You might feel “shaken up” after the accident or experience aches and pains in the next few days. These symptoms could be signs that you sustained a severe injury.
A doctor needs to examine and diagnose your injuries so that you can receive medical treatment. The longer you wait to seek medical care, the worse your injuries may become.
Also, a lack of medical treatment after a car crash can cause problems if you file a personal injury claim.
The insurance company might allege that you were not injured in the car accident because you did not seek medical care for days or weeks after the crash. It is possible to recover compensation in those cases, but it could make the process more difficult and lower your injury claim value.
What Damages Can I Receive for a Rear-End Collision?
Rear-end collisions are the same as all other car accidents. You are entitled to recover compensation for your financial losses, pain, and suffering. Damages that are common in rear-end accident claims include:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Past, present, and future loss of income and benefits
- Loss of earning capacity because of a disabling condition
- Cost of in-home health care or personal care
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Disabilities, scarring, and permanent impairments
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Out-of-pocket expenses or payments related to the accident and your injuries
The amount of compensation you might receive for a rear-end accident depends on the facts of your case. Cases involving severe injuries tend to have a higher value than cases involving minor injuries. Also, the strength of your evidence impacts how much your personal injury claim is worth.
Do I Need an Attorney for a Rear-end Accident in Alabama?
Consulting a car accident lawyer after an automobile accident is always a wise idea. A car accident attorney reviews your case, explains your legal rights, and gives you information that helps you make a decision about your claim that is best for you.
There are several reasons why you would want to consult an attorney after a rear-end crash:
- You are being blamed for contributing to the case of the crash
- You sustained severe injuries as a result of the accident
- Your financial losses are substantial
- Your child was injured in the car accident
- The accident involved a government employee or government vehicle
- A commercial truck or rideshare vehicle was involved in the accident
- The accident involved multiple vehicles
- The insurance company is pressuring you to accept a low settlement offer
- The at-fault driver was uninsured
There are numerous reasons why you should consult with an attorney after a car accident. However, in Alabama, one of the most important reasons to talk with a lawyer is the state’s comparative negligence laws.
Comparative Negligence and Rear-End Collisions in Alabama
Alabama is just one of a handful of states that continues to use pure contributory negligence in car accident cases. Under the contributory negligence laws, if you contribute to the cause of the traffic accident, you cannot recover any money for your injuries.
It does not matter if the other driver was 99 percent at fault, and you were one percent at fault. You are barred from recovering money for your damages if you contribute to the cause of the crash in any way. The rule is extremely harsh, and insurance companies love it.
Insurance companies often try to shift blame to the car accident victim in Alabama to avoid liability for a car accident claim. For that reason, it is in your best interest to avoid giving a statement to the insurance provider or discussing the claim with the company before you consult with a car accident lawyer.
Something you say, even an innocent statement that does not imply fault, could be twisted and used against you to allege comparative negligence. If an insurance adjuster hints that you could be at fault, contact an attorney immediately for help.
Lattof & Lattof, P.C.
156 St Anthony St
Mobile, AL 36603