The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration lists rear-end collisions as the most common type in the United States. These car accidents result in significant injuries. Because victims are taken by surprise, rear-end crashes can also be very frightening.
Why Are Rear-End Collisions So Serious?
Rear-end collisions can occur in different ways. The front vehicle may need to brake quickly, leaving the rear driver with insufficient time or space to decelerate and causing a collision.
Or, the rear vehicle may not have seen brake lights or otherwise noticed the front driver stopping, and they continue at the same speed before hitting the driver in front.
Either of these scenarios can result in significant damage to each vehicle, as well as serious personal injury, even at relatively slow speeds. This is because the amount of force applied on a vehicle can easily exceed one ton for a person who’s wearing a seat belt.1
What Should You Do Following a Rear-End Accident?
The first thing to do is to make sure that you and your passengers aren’t injured. Then, you’ll want to get your vehicle off the road and away from traffic if possible. If it’s safe to leave your vehicle, check that the occupants of the other vehicle are okay.
If police haven’t yet arrived at the scene, call them and provide a statement that’s accurate and contains only facts. Avoid giving an opinion about what you think happened or apologizing.
Then, get medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. This will establish a timeline of your injuries and ensure there’s little for the other driver’s insurance company to question you about later on.
Remember to exchange contact information and insurance numbers with the other driver, but, again, avoid apologizing or saying anything that could make you look responsible. Instead, remain calm.
Taking as many photos of the scene as possible will be your next step. Ensure you get pictures of the damage to both vehicles as well as your injuries.
How Liability Is Determined
In Texas, the liability for rear-end collisions is determined by modified comparative fault. If you accuse the other driver of negligence, then the court will determine to what percentage you and the other driver were at fault for the accident.
For example, if you were awarded $50,000 in damages but were found to be 30% at fault for the collision, the amount of compensation you’d ultimately receive would be $35,000. However, if the court found you to be 51% or more at fault, you’d be ineligible to receive any compensation whatsoever.
Injuries That Can Result from Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions can result in a wide range of injuries, including:
- Whiplash, herniated discs, and other back and neck injuries
- Soft tissue injuries like torn tendons and ligaments
- Broken legs, ribs, or arms
- Brain injury, concussions, and bruises
- Loss of vision
- Facial injuries
Some injuries may occur at the time of the crash, but others may not manifest themselves until days or weeks afterward. Depending on their severity, an injury may require weeks or months of rehabilitation. It’s also possible for an injury to cause irreversible damage, especially if you don’t experience any symptoms right away.
When Should You Call an Accident Lawyer?
The best time to call a lawyer after being involved in a rear-end collision is as soon as possible. This will ensure you have legal assistance right from the beginning, which can save you the time, cost, and frustration of trying to deal with everything by yourself.
Instead of worrying about how you’ll deal with the insurance company, the court, and your injuries, you can have an expert on your side who knows the law and will communicate with all parties on your behalf.
This allows you to focus on your recovery as they gather evidence, speak with the insurance company, and conduct a thorough case evaluation.
Get Help from Top Texas Attorneys
When you need legal help, the best firm to choose will be one that possesses specific motor vehicle accident experience. The law office of Schechter, Shaffer & Harris LLP is one of Texas’s top firms.
We’ve been going up against some of the nation’s largest insurance companies in court and winning for over 45 years. We don’t just know the law; we’re also aware of the tactics insurance companies use to avoid paying you what you deserve.
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident and are looking for a car accident attorney to represent you, call Schechter, Shaffer & Harris to claim your free case evaluation today: 713-364-0723.