A rear-end accident is where a vehicle crashes into the rear of another vehicle. Of all the different types of accidents that can occur, rear-end collisions happen more often than any other type according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In fact, they account for approximately 29 percent of all crashes, and approximately 7.2 percent of all fatal crashes according to the Insurance Information Institute. Because rear-end crashes happen so frequently, there’s a good chance you’ll become victim to it and require legal representation.
If you have recently been involved in a rear-end car collision, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an Orange County rear-end accident attorney at the Crockett Law Group to learn about how we can help you maximize your settlement. Call (800) 900-9393 for a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer in Orange County today.
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What Should You Do When You’re Rear-Ended?
After you are in a rear-end car accident take the following steps to preserve your claim:
Call the Police
The very first thing you should do after being rear-ended is to call the police. If the police cannot, or will not, come to the scene of the accident, then go to the nearest police station and complete a report yourself.
Exchange contact and insurance information with the other drivers, including their full name, address, and phone number; their insurance company and policy number; and their driver’s license number, license plate number, and VIN.
Use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene, including your vehicle and other vehicles that were involved. You should also take photos of the documentation you obtained from Step 2 above, such as their driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance.
See a Doctor
The extent and degree of injury may not be readily apparent due to adrenaline. Even if you think you’re okay in the moment, it’s absolutely critical that you seek immediate medical attention to at least get checked out.
Notify Your Insurance
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. However, do not provide a recorded statement or accept any settlement offers before speaking with a rear-end attorney.
Contact a Lawyer
Before speaking with the other driver’s insurance company, seek the advice of a skilled Orange County rear-end accident attorney. Even a seemingly simple accident can quickly get complicated.
Who Is Responsible for a Rear-End Accident?
In almost every rear-end accident, the driver that rear-ended the car in front of them is the one who was placed at fault. If there’s a Traffic Collision Report, you’ll probably notice that they were cited for violating California Vehicle Code Section 22350—unsafe speed, or California Vehicle Code Section 21703—following too closely (tailgating).
Sometimes the driver in the rear will try to blame the driver in the front for braking suddenly. However, the rear driver will still probably be placed at fault for the accident. This is because the rear driver has a duty to leave enough space between their car and the car in front such that they can safely stop without incident.
There are some exceptions, of course.
- The front driver might share some responsibility if they failed to activate their emergency lights, even if their car was disabled.
- The front driver might also share some fault if the accident happens at night and their brake lights were out.
- The front driver might share some responsibility if their car was drivable but they chose to leave it sitting in the middle of the road.
We’ve seen this third scenario many times and it all comes down to how long the car was sitting there. If the front driver left their car in the middle of the road for several minutes before you rear-ended them, then it’s your own fault because you had plenty of time to react and avoid the accident. In insurance company lingo, they would say you breached your duty to maintain a proper lookout.
What Injuries Can You Get From Being Rear-Ended?
Here are some of the most common injuries we see from rear-end collisions in Orange County, CA:
Whiplash is by far the most common injury that occurs from rear-end crashes. A rear-end crash causes your head and neck to move violently forward and back. Rear-end crashes often catch the victim unaware so that they’re not able to brace themselves either. This causes your neck and back to move more quickly, increasing the severity of the injury. Whiplash is more serious than the public gives it credit for. The National Safety Council estimates that more than 80% of people who suffer from whiplash injuries will experience pain that lasts longer than a week, and more than half will have soreness and pain that lasts longer than a year.
Seat Belt Injuries
In high speed rear-end accidents, seat belts can save your life on the one hand, and cause you injuries on the other. Seatbelts sometimes cause bruising and lacerations to the torso, chest, and neck. It’s even possible to sustain internal organ injuries from seatbelts, or a fractured sternum, or broken ribs.
Airbags are useful in preventing serious injuries, but they can also cause injuries of their own just like seatbelts. The most common injuries are burns to the face, scalp, or hands, as well as fractured noses and ribs.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Sometimes the violent back-and-forth movement can cause more than just whiplash, such as a spinal cord injury, bulging discs, herniated discs, and fractured vertebrae that result in temporary or permanent paralysis.
Rear-end accidents can cause serious head injuries, even when the airbags deploy. Lacerations, bruising, swelling, concussions, and bleeding in the brain are all possible in high-speed rear-end collisions. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you sustain a head injury, it’s important to look for these important signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI):
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of consciousness
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Problems with speech
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Blurred vision or ringing in the ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of coordination
Scars and Disfigurement
Lacerations to the face and other parts of the body can sometimes cause open wounds that need sutures to be closed. This can result in disfiguring scars.
Paralysis, loss of a limb, blindness, deafness, and other catastrophic injuries can all result from a rear-end accident.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a rear-end collision, it’s important to work with experienced Orange County rear-end accident lawyers who know how to present your case to the insurance company in a manner that will maximize your financial recovery.
What Happens To Your Body In A Rear-End Collision?
In a rear-end accident, the momentum from the rear vehicle gets transferred to the front vehicle. The front vehicle and the person inside of it absorb that momentum, which forces them to fly forward. Then, after being suddenly flung forward, your body will violently snap back against the seat and the headrest. This can cause injuries throughout your body. Your body stops moving, but your brain doesn’t and it can slam up against your skull as a result.
It’s really important that you get checked out by a medical doctor immediately after a rear-end accident, even if you don’t feel any pain right away due to the adrenaline running through your body. Once the adrenaline wears off, your pain levels may increase. By seeking immediate medical attention, you have a better chance of recovery and you’re able to show to the insurance company that you’re being proactive in treating your injuries as opposed to letting them get worse by not taking care of them right away.
What Compensation Can You Get For Injuries Caused by Rear-End Collisions?
There are two types of compensation available for victims injured in rear-end car accidents in California: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include the cost of past and future medical treatment, past and future loss of income, and any out-of-pocket expenses you might incur, such as transportation costs and prescription medication.
Noneconomic damages include compensation for your physical pain and mental suffering.
Although countless factors have to be considered when determining the value of your injury claim, it will greatly depend on the severity of your injuries and the cost of your medical treatment.
Get The Help of Our Orange County Rear-End Accident Attorneys
There are approximately 1.7 million rear-end accidents each year in the United States. However, just because they’re frequent doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous. Of the 1.7 million rear-end accidents that occur each year, about 500,000 people are injured and another 17,000 people die.
As rear-end accident injury lawyers, we regularly represent the interests of victims who have been treated unfairly by an insurance company. Crockett Law Group is committed to handling your injury claim from start to finish and will fight to make sure that you receive the money you deserve. If you’ve been injured as a result of a rear-end crash, contact the Crockett Law Group to speak with one of our Orange County car accident attorneys at (800) 900-9393.