Rear-end accidents happen when we least expect them. Usually, victims of these crashes often find that their life has changed forever due to the severity of their car accident injuries. If a negligent driver rear-ended you, you might have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive financial compensation. Contact Patterson Law Group today to book a cost-free consultation with one of our accident attorneys.
While some rear-end crash victims escape with only mild injuries, others will be forced to adjust to a new way of life because they have been injured so seriously. Here are some common rear-end car accident injuries:
- Neck, back, and spinal cord injuries
- Head injuries such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Organ damage
- Ligament sprains or tears
- Bone breaks and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Permanent disfigurement and scarring
What causes these accidents? While it is helpful to learn how to avoid rear-end car collisions, here are some of the most common causes:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving can include texting, eating, or reading while driving
- Failing to maintain the proper distance from other cars
- Road rage
- The lead car’s brake lights malfunction
- The lead car “brake checks” the trailing driver
What Affects the Severity of a Rear-End Collision?
Speed is one of the most significant factors when analyzing how serious a rear-end collision is. The faster a car is traveling at the time of impact, the harder it will hit the car in front of it.
The size of the vehicles is also a major contributor to the severity of a crash. If a tractor-trailer hits a minivan, you can imagine that the injuries of those in the minivan will probably be severe—perhaps even fatal. However, if a two-door convertible rear-ends a sedan, the impact may not be as significant.
The location of the impact also affects the nature of a rear-end collision. For example, perhaps the driver realized he or she was about to rear-end a car and swerved at the last minute. The damage to the front car is primarily on one side of the rear bumper. However, if a car slams directly into a car in front of it, the force is much larger.
Vehicle Technology to Prevent Rear-End Collisions
Modern technology makes it possible for a vehicle to stop even when human error causes a driver not to notice an impending accident. Collision avoidance systems can make a huge difference in preventing rear-end collisions. Front crash prevention systems that can brake automatically when an obstruction is near can be instrumental in preventing wrecks.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that automobile manufacturers begin making collision avoidance systems part of the standard equipment for a vehicle in much the same way that seatbelts are considered standard equipment. If more vehicles were equipped with this technology, deaths and injuries could be drastically reduced.
Brake checking is when the driver in front intentionally slams on the brakes to upset or surprise the trailing driver, which is dangerous. The trailing driver slams on their brakes or swerves to another lane–or even off the road–to avoid an accident.
In Texas, no specific laws state that brake checking is illegal. However, there are laws that prohibit reckless driving, which is operating a vehicle with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of others. Depending on the circumstances, the driver in front may be at fault for brake checking.
Determining which driver is liable in a rear-end accident largely hinges on what caused it. Many of these crashes are caused by the trailing driver’s negligence, whether by speeding, distracted driving, or following too closely. However, if the leading car’s brake lights are not working, they may be liable. In short, whichever driver breached their duty of care by violating a traffic law is typically who will be held responsible.
As noted above, proving that one driver violated a traffic law will be the key to establishing fault in a rear-end accident. There are several different methods, such as:
- Statements made by either driver to the police or under oath
- Eyewitness statements
- Surveillance or dashboard cameras
- Expert testimony
- Cell phone records
- Field sobriety tests
If the negligence of another party caused your rear-end accident, you might be entitled to receive financial compensation for your damages. In this case, the help of a Fort Worth car accident lawyer will be invaluable. Some of the more common types of damages that crash victims receive include:
- Past and future medical costs
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
To prevail in your rear end accident claim, your Fort Worth personal injury attorney will need to prove that another person or entity was negligent. This entails proving the following four elements by a preponderance of the evidence:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- This breach is what caused your accident
- You were injured in this accident
If all four elements are proven, you should recover financial compensation.
An attorney will do the heavy lifting in your case once you start working together. However, there are several steps to help maximize the amount of financial compensation:
- Call the police and ensure that an accident report is filed
- Seek medical attention even if you think you are unharmed
- Take pictures of everything, such as any property damage, injuries sustained, the location of the accident, the area surrounding the scene of the collision, and the weather, road, and traffic conditions at the time of the accident
- Collect the contact information of any eyewitnesses
- Consult with an experienced rear-end collision lawyer as soon as possible
- Assume at all times during the litigation that a private investigator is following you, and live your life accordingly
- Refrain from posting any updates, pictures, or videos that discuss your accident, injuries, or lawsuit, and make sure that no one else tags you.
Rear-end accident claims can be complex, with much at stake financially for you and your family. Consequently, the actions you take in the aftermath of the crash are important. We recommend hiring an experienced Fort Worth rear-end truck accident attorney. At Patterson Law Group, we have handled hundreds of claims similar to yours and know the proper steps to take to file your claim and advocate for you.
To know whether or not you have a case, you need to examine the fact patterns of your case–in light of the aforementioned elements of a negligence claim. In other words, if you can prove that another person or entity owed you a duty of care, that duty of care was breached, caused your accident, and you were injured, then you have a case.
There are several different types of rear-end collisions, all of which may cause serious injuries. Here are some of the more common:
- The leading driver is stopped at a red light or stop sign, and the trailing driver is not paying attention and plows into the stopped vehicle.
- The trailing driver is following the leading driver too closely. The leading driver slows down or stops abruptly due to a hazard in the road, and the trailing car strikes the leading vehicle.
- The trailing driver is going too fast for traffic or weather conditions and cannot stop in time when conditions change, such as another vehicle changing lanes.
- Due to being under the influence, the trailing driver cannot correctly judge the speed or distance and collides with the leading car when that driver slows down or stops.
Is there a Time Limit to File a Claim?
In the aftermath of a serious rear-end crash, you may be experiencing significant trauma. It is important to note, though, that there is a time limit–known as a statute of limitations–on when you can file a claim for your injuries. In Texas, you have two years. If you miss this deadline, you may permanently forfeit all legal rights arising from your injuries.
However, there are exceptions to the statute of limitations. An experienced attorney can tell you whether or not any applies to your case. Two years may seem like a long time. However, much of the evidence you will need to help prove your case may disappear or decrease in credibility the longer you wait. Therefore, consulting with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible is wise.
Speak To A Fort Worth Personal Injury Lawyer
Insurance companies are businesses that are laser-focused on their bottom line. Therefore, they will do whatever they can to minimize your financial compensation. If you choose to handle your claim independently, you risk missing out on significant amounts of money that could help you and your family adjust to the “new normal.”
A personal injury lawyer will be well-versed in the statistics on rear-end car crashes and will immediately begin working to investigate and build your case. They will also consult with expert witnesses as needed, communicate, and negotiate with the insurance company, ensure that you meet all legal deadlines, draft and submit legal documents and filings on your behalf, file a lawsuit if necessary, and argue on your behalf in court should your case go all the way to trial.
The number one goal of our attorneys at the Patterson Law Group is to achieve justice on behalf of our injured clients in Texas. We are a lean and efficient firm that uses technology–with attorneys who are always accessible. To minimize costs, we aggressively seek a successful settlement for our clients. However, we are fully prepared to fight for justice and the best outcome if a trial is necessary.
If you have been injured in a rear-end accident in Fort Worth, call the Patterson Law Group today to schedule a 100 percent free consultation. You will not receive a bill from us unless you win your case.