In the Rear-View: Filing a Personal Injury Claim After a Rear-End Collision
A rear-end collision is a commonplace occurrence in Texas. These incidents happen when one vehicle collides with the back of another, often in situations involving sudden stops, distracted driving, or inadequate following distances.
After a rear-end collision involving injuries or wrongful death, drivers will likely have a lot of questions. The skilled car accident attorneys in Austin can advise people injured in a car crash about liability – who is at fault for the accident – and potential damages. A lawyer is a valuable advocate for navigating personal injury claims arising from such incidents.
Liability in Rear-End Collisions
In Texas, there exists a general presumption that the driver who rear-ends another vehicle is at fault. The rationale is rooted in the expectation that drivers should maintain a safe following distance and be prepared to stop in traffic.
Despite the general presumption, exceptions exist. Circumstances such as sudden and unexpected stops, brake light malfunctions, or reckless behavior by the front vehicle may shift liability. Factors like road conditions and visibility also play a role in determining fault.
Texas also follows a comparative negligence system, allowing for proportionate assignment of fault. Even if the rear driver is primarily at fault, the front driver’s actions can influence the final liability determination. Each party’s degree of negligence matters when assessing damages in rear-end collision cases.
Damages in Rear-End Collisions
After a rear-end collision, you may recover economic and non-economic damages.
- Medical Expenses: Compensation for costs related to medical treatment, including hospital bills, surgeries, medication, therapy, and ongoing medical care.
- Property Damage: Reimbursement for the repair or replacement of the damaged vehicle and other personal property.
- Pain and Suffering: Compensation for the physical and emotional distress experienced as a result of the accident and injuries.
- Emotional Distress: Damages awarded for psychological impact, such as anxiety, depression, or sleep disturbances.
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life: Compensation for the diminished quality of life due to injuries sustained in the collision.
- Loss of Consortium: Damages awarded for the impact of the injuries on the victim’s relationships and family life.
- Punitive Damages: In rare cases, punitive damages may be awarded if the at-fault party’s actions were particularly egregious, demonstrating a willful disregard for the safety of others.
The specific damages available can vary based on the jurisdiction, the circumstances of the accident, and the nature of the injuries. A legal professional can assess and pursue the appropriate damages in a rear-end collision case.
Documenting and Proving Damages
Proper documentation can establish the extent of damages. Medical records, bills, and expert opinions can substantiate physical injuries and associated costs. Additionally, keeping a detailed account of the impact on daily life and well-being aids in proving non-economic damages. Photos, witness statements, and other evidence contribute to a comprehensive case for damages.
Common Injuries in Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions often result in specific injuries.
- Whiplash: Sudden impact can cause the head and neck to jerk forward and backward, resulting in whiplash. This is one of the most common injuries in rear-end collisions.
- Neck and Back Injuries: Strain, sprains, or more severe injuries to the neck and back can occur due to the force of the collision.
- Head Injuries: Impact can cause head injuries ranging from concussions to more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). No head injury should be considered minor.
- Soft Tissue Injuries: Damage to muscles, ligaments, and tendons can lead to pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: In more severe cases, a rear-end collision can cause spinal cord injuries, potentially resulting in paralysis.
- Fractures: Bones can break upon impact, leading to fractures in various parts of the body.
- Internal Injuries: Blunt force trauma can cause injuries to internal organs, which may not be immediately apparent but can be serious.
After a rear-end collision, seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is true even if you don’t feel your injuries are that serious. Some injuries, like TBI or internal injuries, do not immediately manifest and could worsen over time.
A medical professional also establishes a timeline linking your injuries to the car accident. You need this later when gathering support for a personal injury claim.
Wrongful death is less common in rear-end collisions compared to more severe accidents, but it is still possible. Fatalities can occur due to the impact’s force, especially if a vehicle is struck at high speed or in a vulnerable position.
The extent of injuries and the potential for wrongful death depend on the speed of the collision, the size of the vehicles involved, and the use of safety features like seatbelts and airbags. If someone you loved lost their life in a rear-end collision, you may file a wrongful death claim. Consult a legal professional to understand your options.
How Can a Lawyer Help After a Rear-End Collision?
Lawyers play a crucial role in conducting a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding a rear-end collision. This involves scrutinizing police reports, witness statements, and any available surveillance footage to establish a clear understanding of the events leading to the accident.
After a rear-end collision, seek legal advice to navigate the complexities of your personal injury claim. The intricacies of liability determination, damage assessment, and negotiations with insurance companies necessitate a seasoned attorney.
Timely action is equally imperative in securing a favorable outcome. Initiating the legal process promptly allows for the gathering of critical evidence while ensuring compliance with the statute of limitations. Delaying legal action may compromise the strength of a case and limit the options available for pursuing just compensation. In Texas, the statute of limitations is typically two years from the accident.
Legal professionals provide not only a strategic approach to building a compelling case but also compassionate guidance throughout the process. They represent victims well, advocate for their rights, and pursue the compensation they rightfully deserve.
Contact Lorenz & Lorenz
If you or a loved one was in a rear-end collision, the experienced legal team at Lorenz & Lorenz PLLC is here to help. Our dedicated Austin personal injury attorneys understand the complexities of personal injury claims and are committed to advocating for your rights. We are experienced in investigating accidents, gathering crucial evidence, and negotiating with insurance companies to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Take the first step towards justice and financial recovery. Contact Lorenz & Lorenz PLLC today for a confidential consultation. Our compassionate and skilled legal professionals are ready to guide you through the process of filing a personal injury claim, providing the support you need during this challenging time.