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 6,296,000 police-reported motor vehicle accidents in 2015. The number has surely gone up in 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.
Causes of Rear-end 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 and some of them include:
Tailgating: Drivers are required to maintain a safe distance while on the road. You might not have time to react in case of an emergency when you’re following someone without maintaining the proper distance. A safe distance should be about three seconds so you can act accordingly should the vehicle in front stops suddenly without warning.
Distracted Driving: This one of the main causes of rear-end accidents. There are so many things that can distract someone while driving. It could be texting or talking on the phone will driving. You might also be distracted while talking with passengers. Make sure the focus is always on the road when you’re behind the wheel.
DUI: Driving under the influence will obviously cause a lapse in judgment. It will be impossible to react on time. An intoxicated person is also not likely to 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 such a situation, it could be fair to put the blame on the driver in front. You don’t have time to react and there is very little you can do under these circumstances.
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 from the sudden impact of a rear-end collision. It might take a while for someone to fully recover from such an injury.
Whiplash: This is a term used to refer to the stiffness and pain experienced around the neck area. It occurs when there is a sudden and violent movement which is beyond the normal range. 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 when involved in a car accident.
If it is possible, get out of the line in traffic. Make sure that no one is seriously hurt. Even if there is no one who is hurt and you’ve exchanged insurance information, it doesn’t hurt to call the police. In the event that it turns to a settlement case, the police report will play a crucial role in determining the evidence for the case. 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 Accident?
The person who rear-ends the vehicle will be at fault in most cases, 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 manage any sudden stops. There are certain situations in which the driver who was rear-ended will be found at fault for the accident. The driver might not have functioning brake lights and then decides to stop suddenly without warning. They will are deemed partially at fault if they fail to signal the vehicle following them when there is a problem.
Contributory Negligence and Comparative Negligence
There are circumstances where both parties will be partially at fault for the accident. The majority of the states in the U.S. will follow the rules of comparative negligence. This means that the liability of the drivers will be split according to the degree of fault. Pure comparative negligence will split the damages according to the degree of fault. If the driver that has been rear-ended is 40% to blame and suffered $10,000 in damages, the person will only receive $6,000.
Modified comparative negligence is the other type. The liability is also split among the parties but only to some degree. If the driver that has been rear-ended is 50% to blame for the accident, they will not be able to claim any compensation. The last option is contributory negligence which is only found in a few states. It states that a driver can’t seek compensation if he or she is to be blamed in any way for the accident. It doesn’t matter if you only contributed 10% of the accident, you will not be able to get compensation.
Consulting an Accident Attorney
You should consult an attorney no matter how negligible the accident might appear to be at first. 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 from the rear-end accident.