Although car accidents throughout Canada have generally decreased recently, motor vehicle crashes—including rear-end accidents—are still a problem. Victims of rear-end motor vehicle accidents can suffer severe injuries that lead to medical treatment and sometimes permanent consequences. When a driver or passenger is in a rear-end collision, their body may move around inside the vehicle, and they might strike something in the vehicle, injuring themselves.
In addition to undergoing medical treatment for their car accident injuries, an accident victim may also need to miss time away from work to recover. Consequently, they may lose a significant amount of wages, not to mention the pain, inconvenience, suffering, and mental distress that they have to undergo.
If you have suffered injuries in a rear-end car collision, one of the first steps you should take is to speak with a knowledgeable car accident lawyer. Your lawyer can investigate the circumstances of your auto accident and see if you are eligible to file a claim. If liability is in your favor, your lawyer can submit a claim, usually with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
In addition, your lawyer can negotiate the claim on your behalf and can also file a lawsuit if the insurance company refuses to compensate you adequately for your injuries. Please give us a call to learn more about how we can assist you with recovering compensation for your rear-end car accident injuries.
What Happens in a Rear-end Car Accident?
A rear-end car collision happens when the front of a vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle. These accidents are widespread at traffic intersections, where an overzealous driver is operating their vehicle too fast for the traffic conditions. An accident like this might also occur when a driver follows the vehicle in front too closely, leading to an impact when the traffic slows down abruptly. Other common causes of rear-end car crashes include intoxicated driving, distracted driving and motor vehicle operation, motor vehicle malfunction and poor consideration of road conditions.
Intoxicated driving means operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol impairment is especially problematic because it can alter a driver’s vision and cause them to experience other physical symptoms, which can lead to an accident. In addition, alcohol intoxication might cause a driver to experience delayed reaction time. Consequently, they might be unable to slow their vehicle down in time to avoid a rear-end collision. Similarly, impaired driving can also occur while under the influence of drugs including marijuana.
When a court convicts an intoxicated driver for driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence, they might incur criminal and/or administrative penalties, such as a license suspension.
In addition, they might have to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle to start it. An intoxicated motor vehicle operator who causes a rear-end accident can also be subject to civil liability if the accident results in someone else suffering injuries.
Finally, rear-end accidents can result from distracted motor vehicle operations. The at-fault driver might not be paying sufficient attention to the road and may not even see a vehicle in front of them. Consequently, they may be unable to slow down or stop until it is too late.
Distracted motor vehicle operation involves a driver’s failure to give full time and attention to the road. Instead of focusing on driving, the motor vehicle operator might be playing with a cellular phone, tablet, or GPS. Alternatively, the driver may be listening to loud music in the car or roughhousing with other vehicle occupants, diverting their attention away from the road for some time.
If you or a person you love suffered injuries in a rear-end accident that resulted from negligence, a motor vehicle accident lawyer can review your accident with you. Your injury lawyer can lay out all of your legal options and help you decide on the best course of action for your car accident personal injury case.
Types of Rear-end Collision Injuries and How They Occur
There are several types of injuries that a victim of a rear-end car crash might suffer. Depending upon the force of the impact, an accident victim’s body might move around in the vehicle, resulting in various injuries.
For example, the accident victim’s body might move from side to side or frontward and backward in an abrupt motion. This can result in soft tissue whiplash injuries to the neck, shoulders or upper back. In some instances, the accident victim might suffer an injury to their lower back, such as a muscle sprain or strain or even a fracture.
The force of a rear-end impact might also cause the accident victim’s body to strike something in the vehicle.
For example, the accident victim might bang their head on the steering wheel, headrest, or window in the vehicle. As a result, they can suffer a traumatic head or brain injury, such as a concussion. A concussion usually involves bruising to the brain and can result in short-term memory loss. More severe injury can result in spinal cord damage, such as paralysis.
A rear-end accident can also lead to cuts, lacerations, and bruising. This is especially true if the airbag deploys in a rear-end collision. The accident victim’s seatbelt can also cause bruising in a rear-end impact.
Finally, some accident victims suffer fatal rear-end collisions. When that happens, the accident victim’s surviving loved ones can file a wrongful death claim seeking various damages, including the costs of funeral and burial expenses.
If you or a person you love has suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash that resulted from another person’s negligence, your first step should be to seek the medical treatment you need. As soon as possible after your accident, follow up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center for treatment. You should also make sure that you follow through with any recommended follow-up treatment and you wait for a provider to discharge you.
While you focus on getting better and making a full recovery from your injuries, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer can begin handling the legal aspects of your case.
For example, your lawyer can start to gather medical records, lost wage statements, witness statements, police reports, and photographs of your injuries and the property damage. In addition, your lawyer might ask you to prepare a victim impact statement that explains how the accident occurred, your injuries, and the impact that the accident had on your overall life and well-being.
Filing a Claim With the Insurance Company for Your Injuries
If you have suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash that resulted from another person’s negligence, you have several avenues for pursuing and recovering the monetary compensation that you need. The first avenue for seeking damages is filing a personal injury claim. Your personal injury lawyer will typically file the claim with the insurance company for the at-fault driver.
The claims-filing process begins when you submit a settlement demand package to the insurance company for review. The settlement demand package will include a settlement demand letter which makes a monetary demand for resolution through settlement. Your lawyer can help you determine what number you should put into the demand letter as an opening demand.
In addition to the settlement demand letter, the demand package will include other documents critical to the personal injury claim, including police reports, investigation reports, eyewitness statements concerning the accident, medical records, lost wage documents, caselaw and photographs. Your injury lawyer will submit all of these documents to the insurance company adjuster, who will then review everything.
If the insurance company accepts liability for the car accident claim, then the adjuster will likely make an opening settlement offer to resolve the case. However, in almost all circumstances, your accident lawyer will need to negotiate further as that opening settlement number will likely be far less than the actual value of the case. Your lawyer can continue dealing with the insurance company until you reach a favorable settlement or an impasse.
If the insurance company refuses to adequately compensate you for your injuries, you may file a lawsuit and bring your case to a conclusion through litigation. Your lawyer can help you with every aspect of the claims filing and litigation processes in your case.
Litigating a Car Accident Claim
In some instances, litigation becomes a necessary option in a personal injury car accident case. The insurance company may not take your case seriously for one reason or another, and the adjuster may refuse to offer you the compensation that you need.
What Happens if We Have to Litigate a Car Accident Claim?
When that happens, your lawyer can file a lawsuit and begin the litigation process in the court system. Just because your lawyer filed a lawsuit, however, does not guarantee that your case will go to trial. Most car accident claims settle long before the case ever gets to a trial. Therefore, even after filing suit, your lawyer can continue negotiating with the insurance company adjuster handling your case.
What Occurs in the Courts with a Car Accident Claim?
When the case is in a court system, the court will establish various deadlines by which the parties must satisfy certain milestones. For example, the court will set a deadline for litigation discovery completion. By then, the parties must have exchanged all written discovery answers, produced all relevant documents, and taken depositions.
A deposition is an opportunity for the defense lawyer to ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, your medical treatment, and the permanency aspects of your case.
Once discovery is over, the insurance company may offer additional compensation to resolve your case through settlement. However, if that does not happen, the parties can take the case to a trial, mediation, or arbitration proceeding.
What Alternatives are There?
At a trial, a judge or jury will resolve all of the disputed issues between the parties. In many cases, the sole issue that the parties are debating is that of damages or the amount of monetary compensation to award the accident victim plaintiff. As an alternative to a trial, the parties may consider one or more alternative dispute resolution proceedings. For example, they might agree for a mediator to hear the case and help them facilitate settlement discussions.
Alternatively, the parties can take their case to arbitration, where a neutral, third-party arbitrator listens to the evidence that the parties present and decides the issue of damages. A car accident lawyer can help you decide on the best legal course of action for your case and can represent you at all court proceedings and alternative dispute resolution conferences.
What Damages Can I Recover After a Rear-end Crash?
Victims of a rear-end car crash often need to undergo many medical treatments for their injuries. They may require hospital stays, physical therapy, surgical procedures, and other types of medical care. Depending on the severity of their injuries, the types of medical treatment they receive, and the effects of their injuries, they might be eligible to recover various damages.
Some common damages that rear-end car crash victims may recover include compensation for lost wages or loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, mental distress, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of housekeeping ability, out of pocket expenses and loss of spousal consortium. An auto accident lawyer can help you maximize your damages, either through settlement or litigation. Your injury lawyer can play up the strengths of your case and downplay any weaknesses so that you may recover the maximum amount of compensation that is available.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today
If you have suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash, time is of the essence. A skilled car accident lawyer can help you with every aspect of your claim or lawsuit and will work to recover the compensation that you deserve for all of your injuries. For a free legal consultation and case evaluation, please speak with a car accident lawyer at MNH Injury Lawyers today for more information.