This is a question that you’re likely to ask yourself when you’ve been rear-ended. Even if it seems like a minor accident, you shouldn’t leave anything to chance. You should immediately look for a Chicago car accident lawyer just to be safe. What initially seems like a minor fender bender could lead to a full-blown trial.

According to statistics, there were over six million police-reported motor vehicle accidents in 2015. This number has surely gone up over the last couple of years. There are a couple of reasons why you could have been rear-ended. It could’ve been a careless driver who was not mindful of the rules of the road. There are occasions where both parties might be at fault. Either way, it’s best to contact an attorney.

WHAT ARE THE COMMON CAUSES OF REAR-END CAR ACCIDENTS?

You could be the most careful driver on the road, but you might not be able to prevent a collision from behind. There are a couple of reasons for rear-end accidents, including:

  • Tailgating: Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance from other vehicles while on the road. You might not have time to react in case of an emergency when you’re following someone too closely. A safe distance should be about three seconds behind the vehicle so you can safely stop in the event of an emergency.
  • Distracted Driving: This is one of the main causes of rear-end accidents. There are so many things that can distract someone who is driving. It could be texting or talking on the phone while driving. The driver might also be distracted while talking with passengers. These distractions can lead to rear-end car accidents.
  • DUI: Driving under the influence will obviously impact a driver’s judgment and make it impossible to react on time. An intoxicated person is also not able to accurately judge the distance between vehicles.  They could also nod off when they’re driving.
  • Sudden Stops: A rear-end can be caused by an abrupt stop. In this situation, the blame could fall on the driver in front. However, in most rear-end accidents, it is the tailing driver who is to blame.

WHAT ARE COMMON REAR-END ACCIDENT INJURIES?

It should be noted that any auto accident has the potential to cause fatal injuries. For rear-end accidents, the majority of victims will suffer from soft-tissue injuries.

  • Back Injuries: This comes as a result of the sudden impact of a rear-end collision. It might take a while for someone to fully recover from such an injury.
  • Whiplash: This injury causes stiffness and pain in and around the neck area. It occurs when the impact of the accident causes the head and neck to jerk forward and backward beyond its normal range of motion. According to statistics, 1 out of 5 people involved in a rear-end accident suffer a whiplash injury. More than 80% of the victims experience pain that lasts more than a week. That is why it is important to see a doctor even though there might not be obvious signs of injuries immediately after the car accident.

 These are two of the most common types of injuries that occur in rear-end car accidents. 

WHY SHOULD YOU CALL 911 AFTER A REAR-END CAR ACCIDENT?

If it is possible, get out of traffic as soon as possible after an accident. Make sure that no one is seriously hurt. Even if no one is hurt and you’ve exchanged insurance information with the other driver, it’s best to call the police. In the event that a personal injury claim is filed, the police report will play a crucial role in determining liability for the accident. You should still call the police even if you think you’re the one at fault.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE FAULT IN A REAR-END CAR ACCIDENT?

The person who rear-ends the vehicle will most likely be at fault, but that is not always the case. According to road safety rules, you’re supposed to follow the vehicle in front of you at a safe distance so that you can come to a sudden stop without getting into an accident.

There are certain situations in which the driver who was rear-ended will be found at fault for the accident. For example, the driver might not have functioning brake lights. If the driver stops suddenly without warning, the tailing driver won’t know since the vehicle does not have functioning brake lights. 

WHAT IS COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE?

There are circumstances where both parties will be partially at fault for the accident. Illinois is a modified comparative negligence state. This means the liability can be split between the parties involved in the accident.

If you are partially to blame for the accident, you can still recover compensation for your injuries as long as you were less than 51% liable. However, your compensation is reduced to account for the role you played in causing the accident. For example, if you are found to be 30% at fault for a rear-end accident, you can still recover 70% of the compensation you are entitled to for your injuries.

SHOULD YOU CONTACT A PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY AFTER A REAR-END ACCIDENT?

You should consult an attorney no matter how minor the accident might seem. You might have suffered serious injuries which will not manifest immediately. A good attorney will ensure that you see a specialist so that nothing is being left to chance.

Getting the right personal injury attorney can be challenging. Doing your due diligence is crucial as you don’t want to work with just anyone. Even if you feel like it is not a case worth pursuing, you still may want to talk to an attorney. You get to discuss your options so that you’re able to get what you truly deserve for your injuries from the rear-end accident.