Rear-End Accidents and Your Right to Compensation
If you have been injured in a car accident, there is a good chance that it was a rear-end accident and that you suffered a potentially serious injury. It is also likely that you are due compensation from the driver of the car that hit you.
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration put the incidence of rear-end collisions at 23.4 percent to 27.9 percent of all car accidents. The latter study also said rear-end collisions are responsible for 30 percent of all car accident injuries and 29.7 percent of property damage that occurs in car accidents.
When a car is struck from behind, the occupant initially is pushed backward. If a vehicle’s head rests are improperly positioned, the occupant’s neck will hyperextend backward, causing whiplash injury or a fracture of the cervical spine. Whiplash, a sprain of neck muscles, tendons and/or ligaments, causes pain that can be chronic. Whiplash is the most frequently reported injury in U.S. insurance claims and accounts for about 25 percent of auto insurance payouts for crash injuries, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The abrupt wrenching of the cervical spine may also cause other spinal injuries. The impact of a car crash may cause broken bones, head / traumatic brain injury (TBI), serious cuts, burns, or any number of other injuries.
A rear-end collision typically occurs because a driver is following too closely, going too fast, not paying attention or is distracted. In some cases, the driver in front stops abruptly, but it is still generally the following driver’s responsibility to avoid a rear-end collision.
In some instances, the lead driver involved in a rear-end collision is at fault. A driver whose brake lights do not work, for instance, would likely be considered negligent for driving a malfunctioning vehicle. In cases of a sudden stop that leads to a rear-end collision, the location of the stop may have been improper – such as a nonemergency stop in an active traffic lane.
The driver in the rear car involved in a rear-end collision can be significantly injured, too. The impact of a sudden stop and being slammed into the steering wheel and/or windshield can cause chest injuries, internal organ damage and other impact injuries.
Passengers in either car may be injured, as well.
If you were seriously injured in a rear-end collision, you will face expensive medical bills, loss of work and income, and pain and suffering during your recovery. If it was your car, you face the cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle. If the accident was not your fault, all of the costs and losses are compensable, meaning you may be able to recover money for them.
Auto liability insurance pays for the losses of someone who the policyholder injured physically and/or financially. But the two hurdles to receiving an insurance payment are proving responsibility (liability) and compelling the insurance company to make a proper payment. Overcoming those hurdles is the primary work of a car accident lawyer.
The attorneys at Millar & Mixon investigate rear-end accidents on behalf of injured drivers and passengers in Georgia with the objective of obtaining a fair and proper insurance settlement. As we noted above, in most rear-end accidents, it is the driver in the rear who is at fault – but not always.
If you have been injured in a rear-end accident, we can review it with you and explain your options for filing a claim in a free legal consultation. Don’t assume you have no chance to recover compensation after a car crash, and do not accept an insurance company’s settlement offer without a professional review of your losses. You don’t have to go it alone. Contact us today.