The average American can expect to be in 4 car accidents during their lifetime (not necessarily major), but rear-end accidents are the most common which means it’s really a matter of time before you get rear-ended while driving.
Like any car accident, it’s very important to know what to do in case you do get rear-ended.
We wrote this article below in hopes of educating our readers about what they need to know, and what pitfalls to be aware of like dealing with insurance companies.
Why Contact Law Offices of Daniel Kim
Dealing with all the aftermath of a car accident can be quite challenging.
Daniel Kim is an experienced car accident lawyer that has dealt with many rear-end accident cases before in his career.
Daniel is an aggressive injury lawyer that isn’t intimidated by the insurance companies and he will fight for you and your family to make sure you get fairly compensated for your injuries.
The insurance companies can be very difficult to deal with after a car accident, especially if you suffered any serious injuries.
The Law Offices of Daniel Kim have over 1000 positive reviews on Yelp, Facebook and Google from past clients that wanted to share their stories.
We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, so contact us for a FREE consultation.
How Much Is My Rear End Accident Settlement Worth
Unfortunately, there is not one set answer to this question.
Each accident is unique and many factors will go into determining a final settlement value and how long the injury settlement might take to finalize.
Things like who is placed at fault (50% or 75%, etc.), how bad were your injuries and what treatment did you receive, what do your medical bills look like, etc.
If you are the victim in a rear-end collision then you will be entitled to get compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
So economic damages would include things like lost wages and medical expenses, etc.
While non-economic damages would include pain and suffering which is really a subjective value that will be determined by how bad the accident affected your life.
This is the kind of stuff you don’t want to deal with unless you have an attorney like Daniel Kim representing you during the accident claim.
Insurance companies love to deny a claim completely if possible, or at the least they will try to minimize your damages and the value of your settlement.
Daniel Kim and his legal team will work tirelessly with the insurance companies to negotiate a fair settlement for you and your family.
If the insurance companies made the process fair and easy to work with then there would be no need for personal injury lawyers, but this is not the reality.
Do not fight the insurance companies alone.
Call our law firm today for answers to all your questions.
How Does Insurance Company Determine Fault
Most of the time, whichever driver is the last car in a rear-end accident will be placed at fault.
The driver who rear-ends another car will usually be fully liable, and then at that point the only thing to be determined with the at-fault driver’s insurance would be the value of the injury claim.
But don’t be surprised if the insurance company tries to say you (the car that got hit) are partially to blame for the accident, even though you got hit by the driver behind you.
The insurance adjuster could say your brake lights didn’t function correctly or that you stopped to suddenly, etc.
The comparative negligence laws allow a driver to pursue financial compensation from the other driver even if you were partially at fault. All of this stuff is best handled by your injury lawyer, so call Daniel Kim today for a FREE consultation.
Below are a few exceptions to rear-end liability –
If a driver is driving at a safe speed and distance, but snow or rain or fog, or other weather condition makes it impossible to stop in time.
If the driver in front was driving recklessly, then even if the driver behind is driving and keeping a safe distance it an be impossible to stop in time.
If a driver in front stops suddenly in the lane of traffic and doesn’t give a fair and reasonable notice (a flare for example) then it could be impossible for the driver behind to stop.
And there is the case where a 3rd driver strikes the 2nd driver in front of them, which then pushes that 2nd car into the first vehicle.
Common Causes Of Rear-End Accidents
Car accidents in general can happen for a million reasons and rear-end accidents are no different.
You might be the most cautious and careful driver on the road here in Southern California, but it’s the other drivers (like teenage drivers for example) that you need to worry about.
When a collision comes from behind it’s basically impossible to avoid.
Tailgating – even though there might be state laws that require drivers to “follow at a safe distance”, it doesn’t mean that drives abide by these rules of the road. If you are a safe driver then you should allow a safe distance of 3 seconds between you and the car in front of you, and nobody on the road does this. And in bad weather or bad road conditions, you should leave even more room.
DUI – alcohol and drugs (even prescription pills) can greatly impact a driver’s ability to scan the road and react to what is happening in front of them and around them. Intoxicated drivers don’t accurately judge distance or speed which of course is crucial when driving on the roads.
Weather – Even though Southern California doesn’t have severe weather (an occasional storm), the residents do deal with rain, wind, and fog especially in the beach cities like Huntington or Newport Beach.
Distracted driving – nowadays almost 75% of drivers admit to checking their cell phones, texting and emailing etc. Even putting on makeup, eating, listening to loud music or fighting with the kids in the back seat can be considered distracted driving.
Mechanical issues – your car might have bad brakes which can make it difficult to stop in time, or you might pop a tire and lose control before running into car in front of you.
Sudden stops – this happens all too often when the car in front of you stops for a kid or animal crossing the street, road construction, or a car backing out of a driveway, etc. Very seldom though can you blame the car in front of you because if you had a 3 second gap between their car then you could have avoided the crash.
Common Injuries From Rear End Accidents
Anytime you are injured in a car accident it can disrupt your life and cause a lot of stress for you and your family.
Dealing with any injury is bad enough, but when you have to start dealing with the medical bills, ambulance bills, and the insurance adjusters calling you every other day it can all become very overwhelming.
Always make sure you get proper medical treatment after a motor vehicle accident, this would include motorcycles, truck, Uber, etc. etc.
The most common injuries from rear-end accidents are soft-tissue injuries, although of course there can be fatalities.
Whiplash – a pain and stiffness that occurs when the shoulders, neck, and spine suddenly and forcefully move (or snap) way past the normal range of motion. Commonly referred to as hyperflexion or hyperextension, the neck moves very similar to the motion of a whip as it snaps.
Whiplash happens to about 20% of the people that are involved in rear-end accidents. Over 75% of those people experience pain for over 7 days, and about 50% will have pain and soreness for more than a year.
Seatbelts – the main purpose of a seatbelt is to immediately and forcefully hold your body in place when your car is hit. In a rear-end collision your body will automatically tend to slam forward and hit the safety straps on the seatbelt. This of course can cause severe bruising and injury to your neck and shoulders.
Head and face – of course head injuries are worse in high speed crashes or rollover accidents but being rear-ended at only 15 miles per hour can cause a bad head injury. In a slow speed collision, many times the airbags don’t deploy and your face can smash right into the steering wheel. This sudden impact can break a nose or easily fracture your jawbone. Of course cuts and bruises will happen almost every time your face hits the steering wheel.
Back injuries – any back injury can be extremely painful. Even at low speeds, the force of impact from a car accident can cause in compression of your spine and disks found in the lower back area of the spinal column, which is why rear-end accidents are known to cause a herniated disc.
Rear End Car Accident Statistics
Hard to believe, but there are more than 550,000 people injured annually in rear-end accidents, which is almost 30% of all car accidents that cause an injury.
Most rear-end accidents occur at less than 10 miles per hour, but that is fast enough to cause injuries to those people involved.
The NHTSA reports that 63% of rear-end accidents were caused by driver inattention. This is a crazy stat because most of these accidents could be avoided.
You are supposed to leave 3 seconds between you and the car in front of you, but we all know that drivers don’t leave that much space.
Here in California I’d say we are lucky if the driver behind us even leaves 1 second between themselves and the car in front of them.