Call (800) 863-5312 to Speak with a Rear-End Collision Lawyer in Austin for Free
Rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of vehicle collisions and are on the rise in the Austin area. These collisions occur when one vehicle is struck from behind (“rear-ended”) by another vehicle. These accidents can result in severe injuries. A rear-end collision lawyer helps those injuries in a rear-end accident seek compensation.
If you or a loved one has been injured, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free consultation with our rear-end car accident attorneys in Austin.
Who is at Fault?
If you have been rear-ended by a vehicle behind you, it is very likely that the other driver is at fault. If you rear-ended a vehicle in front of you, you may be at fault, unless the person behind you hit you and caused you to rear-end another vehicle.
The driver behind you might be deemed at fault if they failed to stop in time as traffic slowed down or stopped. This is because the rules of the road require a vehicle to be able to stop safely if traffic in front of it slows down or comes to a complete stop. If a car is unable to stop without rear-ending another vehicle, it may be presumed that the driver of that car was not acting as safely as he or she should have been.
There are several ways to establish liability in a rear end accident. One way is relying on eyewitness testimony from individuals who were at the scene when the accident occurred. Another good way of supporting a case is to look to the police report for a description of the accident. Finally, physical evidence such as damage to the automobile and skid marks on the road can help establish fault.
What To Do After Being Rear-Ended by Another Vehicle
In the moments following a car collision, it is likely that you will be under much stress. You may be confused, dizzy, or even physically injured. It is therefore imperative that you understand what to do ahead of time to increase your chances at a quick recovery.
1. Seek Medical Attention
After you have been rear-ended by another vehicle, it is essential that you contact emergency services as soon as possible. In many rear-end collision cases, the driver of the front vehicle does not experience pain immediately after the accident occurs. However, it is possible for pain and aching to set in hours or even days after the crash. Seeking medical attention after a rear-end collision is therefore very important for preventing and maintaining your health and well-being. It will also be useful when making a claim as your medical reports will prove the injuries you sustained.
2. Report the Accident
The next step is to report the accident to the police. Police officers will file an accident report which will document all pertinent aspects of the collision, including the parties involved, the location of the accident, and the time and date of the accident. Importantly, police officers may be able to gather statements from bystanders who were able to witness the rear end collision.
3. Document the Accident
A crucial step that is often overlooked by individuals who were rear-ended is to document the accident and to keep a thorough and organized record of all documents or materials relating to the crash. If possible, take photos of the scene of the accident after it occurred. Keep copies of police reports, medical records, and auto repair shop estimates in an organized file. Documenting this evidence will make it much easier to establish your case against the party that rear-ended you.
4. Contact a Car Accident Attorney
Finally, you should contact a car accident attorney. The recovery and settlement process with the other driver or the other driver's insurance company is often time-consuming and frustrating. A car accident attorney can ease the burden of this process by handling essential tasks such as contacting witnesses and conducting investigations into the accident. A car accident attorney will also be able to guide you through the settlement or litigation process and will be there to offer you legal advice regarding complex legal issues such as negligence.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Rear end collisions typically adhere to a pattern of common causes. Listed below are some of the leading causes of rear-end collisions:
As mentioned above, distracted driving is one of the primary causes of rear-end collisions throughout Austin as well as the entire country. Drunk driving, texting, eating, fidgeting with the entertainment system, and other similar activities all fall into the category of distracted driving.
Tailgating occurs when one car follows another car too closely. Heavy traffic on Austin’s busiest roads such as Interstate 35, Mopac, and Congress make these streets a hotbed for tailgating. Following another car too closely increases the chances of rear-ending the other vehicle. It is the responsibility of the vehicle behind you to ensure they leave enough space to avoid an accident. A rule of thumb is to leave one car-length of space between you and the other car for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling (e.g., two car-lengths if traveling at 20 miles per hour; five car-lengths if traveling at 50 miles per hour; etc.).
Driving at too high of a rate of speed means less time to react to the actions of traffic ahead of you. In Austin, speeding vehicles can be seen zooming down any given road. Interstate-35, Mopac, North Lamar, and downtown Austin are all common locations for speeding vehicles.
Hazardous Weather Conditions
Wet, sleek roads as a result of precipitation can also be a cause of rear-end collisions. These dangerous conditions can prevent a driver from decelerating or stopping their car in enough time to avoid a rear-end collision. In these situations, a driver should pay extra attention to the road, and give themselves plenty of space and time to decelerate your vehicle.
A driver who stays alert and follows every rule of the road is also susceptible to being involved in a rear end accident. Sometimes, mechanical failures with the vehicle itself cause rear-end collisions. For instance, faulty brakes may lead one car crashing into another. In these cases, the manufacturer of the parts may be held liable for the accident.
Even a seemingly minor collision can lead to multiple rear-ended injuries and pain after the car accident. Common injuries include:
Whiplash, which involves the sudden jerking of the head and neck, is perhaps the most complained of injury following a rear-end collision. When a vehicle is hit from behind, the momentum of the cars forces the passengers of the front car to jerk back and forth rapidly.
It is important to realize that even slow speed rear end accidents can cause back injuries. Another important thing to remember is that back pain may lay dormant for some time following a rear end accident. This means that back pain may not set in until hours or days after a rear-end collision.
Aside from whiplash, rear-end collisions can also lead to other forms of head, neck, and brain injuries. For instance, the sudden impact between cars may cause the driver of the front vehicle to bang their head against the interior of the vehicle. These types of injuries should always be taken seriously and promptly addressed.
Seatbelts have been another source of injury in rear-end collisions. When a car is struck from behind, a mechanism in the seatbelt causes the strap to tighten. Although this mechanism is intended to keep a driver's body in place, it can also lead to injury in the form of rashes, cuts, and lacerations. The likelihood and severity of these types of injuries increase with the speed and force of the rear end collision.
You don't have to be the driver in an accident to seek compensation. Passengers in an accident may be able to make a claim if they are injured. For example, an Uber driver is rear-ended by another vehicle. The driver is not injured but you are - in this case, you may be able to seek compensation from the vehicle that hit your Uber.
Can I Sue for Whiplash?
As discussed above, whiplash injuries occur after the abrupt back-and-forth flexion of the neck. Whiplash injuries are relatively common in car accidents, especially rear-end collisions. Whether or not you can sue for a whiplash injury is dependent on whether you or another person was at fault for the accident. If another person was at fault for the accident, you might be entitled to seek compensation for your injuries. An attorney will be able to determine your legal position and whether you have a viable claim or not.
How To File A Claim
Understanding what to do in the event of a rear-end collision and how the claim process works can go a long way when it comes time to resolve your claim. Familiarizing yourself with how to file an injury claim can help you learn what to expect, thereby alleviating some stress and frustration. Here are several important steps that comprise the claim filing process.
1. Call a Car Accident Lawyer
Contacting a car accident lawyer after being rear-ended by another vehicle is the crucial first step toward filing and resolving a claim. A lawyer will be able to listen to the facts of your case and provide you with your legal alternatives moving forward. They will also communicate with insurance companies and insurance claim adjusters.
In doing so, the attorney will make sure that these insurance companies don’t take advantage of your inexperience by offering you a settlement amount that is substantially less than the value of your claim.
Your attorney will begin a thorough investigation process into the details and circumstances surrounding your claim. This investigation process involves gathering essential documents such as police reports, eyewitness statements, and medical records. The attorney may also contact expert witnesses such as doctors, chiropractors, or automobile specialists. The purpose of this investigation is to build the most persuasive case possible to increase your chances of receiving fair and just compensation for your damages and injuries.
3. Case Settlement
The final component of the claim process involves settling the claim. This stage involves negotiating the value of your claim with an insurance company and the company’s claim adjuster. Although insurance companies are notorious for finding ways to minimize the value of your claim, having a well-prepared and experienced car accident attorney on your side can protect you throughout this settlement process.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Rear End Collision Claim?
Although it is impossible to give a precise timeframe as to how long a settlement process may last, several important factors can affect the pace at which a settlement is reached. Those factors include the types of injuries involved, cooperation with and by the insurance companies involved, and whether legal proceedings are being pursued. As a general rule of thumb, cases that involve critical or life-changing injuries, or a potentially high settlement value will take longer to settle than relatively straight-forward cases.
What is the Average Rear-Ended Car Accident Settlement?
The average settlement for a rear end collision can vary significantly from case to case. A settlement amount depends on a combination of many important factors including the type of injuries sustained, medical bills incurred, property damage, missed time from work, age, driving history, and emotional trauma, amongst others. As a general rule of thumb, the more extensive your injuries and property damage, the higher the possible settlement amount.
Dealing With Insurance Companies
After being involved in a rear-end collision, you may have to file a claim with an insurance company to receive compensation. It is important to realize that your communications with an insurance company throughout the claim filing and claim settlement process could end up affecting the overall value of your claim.
After you file a claim, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case. The adjuster’s job is to investigate the facts and circumstances regarding the accident. Part of this investigation may require you to provide the adjuster with a statement reflecting your account of the accident. When giving this statement, it is essential to relay the facts as you best remember them and to refrain from admitting any fault for the accident.
Once the adjuster concludes the investigation, the adjuster will rely on programs and formulas utilized by the insurance company to produce monetary values that are supposed to correspond to your injuries and damages. However, because these programs often fail to take into consideration important factors such as stress, emotional trauma, and the inability to participate in activities that you used to enjoy, the monetary values are frequently less than the actual value of your claim. As a result, the initial settlement offer proposed by the insurance company may be less than what you are entitled to.
Compensation can be split into two categories: Economic damages and Non-economic damages.
Economic damages reflect expenses that can be quantified regarding your injuries. Economic damages may include:
Medical expenses (present and future bills; rehab; medications; medical devices; etc.)
Lost income (salary lost while out of work; diminished earning capacity)
Property damage (vehicle; personal property damages in the collision)
Non-economic damages are intangible losses. Although harder to quantify, non-economic damages can be more valuable than economic damages.
Types of non-economic damages may include:
Pain and suffering
Loss of enjoyment of life
It is important to keep in mind, however, that the compensation which you may be eligible to receive after being rear-ended may be reduced if it can be shown that you were acting carelessly or negligently when the collision occurred.
This system of “comparative fault” or “comparative negligence” means that a percentage of responsibility is placed on each party for their respective roles in an accident.
Common examples of acts that may lead to a reduction in compensation due to comparative negligence include driving with broken taillights, failing to use a turn signal, and suddenly braking for no reason.
Legal Time Limits in Austin (Statute of Limitations)
A “statute of limitations” is essentially a time-limit on which a party must pursue a type of claim.
Austin adheres to the Statute of Limitations of Texas. In Texas, there is a two-year time limit for personal injury claims. This includes injuries that arise out of car accidents such as rear-end collisions. This means that a party that is injured in a car accident must file a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident.
In cases of minor children, the statute of limitations is “tolled,” or extended, until the child reaches the age of 18. The child then has two years from then to pursue a claim. However, a parent can bring a claim on the child’s behalf before they reach the age of 18 in some cases.
Because the statute of limitations is a crucial factor that can affect or destroy your claim, it is always a wise decision to seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney, especially if you think the statute of limitations period is running out. An attorney can provide you with legal advice regarding the status and viability of your claim.
OUR CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS CAN HELP
Zinda Law Group works with professionals in the field of accident investigation, as well as law enforcement and witnesses to collect evidence to help prove that the guilty party indeed was at fault. We will use that information to seek fair compensation on your behalf for the injuries and emotional suffering you have had to endure.
Our goal is to protect your rights, to help you, and to help you seek the compensation you deserve. To get started with your rear end accident claim, call Zinda Law Group today at (888) 659-9392 for a 100% free consultation with our no win no fee Austin attorneys.
Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.