Rear-end or tailgate accidents usually occur when a rear driver is speeding or fails to observe the road. When a rear-end accident occurs with a significant amount of force, the accident victim's body can move forward and backward abruptly.
At other times, the force of a tailgating accident may be so strong that the accident victim's head strikes the windshield, resulting in a traumatic head or brain injury.
The unfortunate point about most rear-end accidents is that they are totally avoidable if the rear driver had been following the speed limit and paid closer attention to the road. Therefore, if you recently suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash, you can obtain compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Besides seeking the medical treatment that you need for your car accident injuries, you need to consult an experienced car accident lawyer as quickly as possible after your accident.
Your lawyer can review the circumstances surrounding your accident, prepare a claim on your behalf, and file a claim with the insurance company for the at-fault rear driver.
Your lawyer can handle all settlement negotiations in your case and pursue litigation if the insurance company refuses to compensate you fairly.
Unlike insurance companies, which are not advocating for your best interest, a skilled personal injury lawyer will be on your side and can aggressively fight for you. Your attorney can also attend all litigation proceedings with you, answer your questions, and help you maximize your financial compensation.
Another common cause of tailgate accidents is road rage or reckless driving. Many drivers are in a rush to arrive at their final destination, and as a result, tailgate other drivers, speed, or attempt to pass other drivers at improper times.
All these negligent and aggressive driving maneuvers may inadvertently cause a tailgate accident, resulting in injuries to the occupants of the front vehicle.
Alternatively, a tailgate accident can occur when the rear driver is distracted or fails to watch the road. Instead of paying attention to their surroundings, a rear driver may look at a cellular phone or tablet, roughhouse with vehicle passengers, listen to loud music, or program directions into a GPS navigation system.
If the driver takes their eyes and attention off the road for any reason, they might fail to notice an abrupt traffic slow down, negligently causing a tailgate accident.
Finally, some tailgate accidents happen when other drivers come under the influence of alcohol or drugs. An intoxicated driver may experience blurred vision and dizziness, preventing them from seeing a vehicle in front of them.
Additionally, a drunken driver may become disoriented or confused, and experience delayed reflexes. As a result, the drunk driver may speed up and may be unable to stop their vehicle in time to avoid colliding with a car in front of them.
If you suffered injuries in a tailgate accident that resulted from negligent driving, you should consult a car accident attorney in your jurisdiction as soon as you can.
In addition to investigating your accident circumstances, the lawyer can gather the documents necessary to satisfy your legal burden of proof and assemble those documents into a settlement demand package.
Common Injuries in a Rear-end Car Accident
The injuries that a rear-end car accident victim suffers vary from case to case. The force of the collision from behind is one of the main factors that affects the nature and extent of an accident victim's physical injuries.
In some cases, the force of a tailgating accident may move the accident victim's body backward and forward very quickly. As a result, the accident victim may suffer a soft tissue neck or back contusion, such as whiplash.
At other times, the force of the collision may be so strong that the accident victim suffers a vertebrae fracture or broken bone in either their neck or back.
If the force of the collision causes the accident victim's head to strike the window, headrest, steering wheel, or windshield, the accident victim can suffer a traumatic head or brain injury that leads to ongoing cognitive impairments, such as memory loss and migraines.
Other injuries that victims of tailgate accidents may suffer include internal bleeding, internal organ damage, rib fractures, open lacerations, bruises, spinal cord injuries, and paralysis injuries.
If you sustained one or more of these injuries in a recent tailgate accident, your top priority should be seeking the medical treatment that you need to make a full recovery.
For example, if you suffered a muscular sprain or strain, your medical provider may request MRIs, X-rays, and other imaging studies. Additionally, if you suffered a bone fracture in your rear-end accident, you may need to undergo surgery, such as a spinal fusion.
Additionally, depending on your injuries, you may need to attend regular physical therapy appointments to alleviate your pain and discomfort and recover your range of motion.
One of the most important steps you can take after your car accident is to seek continuous treatment for your injuries and wait for a medical provider to formally discharge you from medical treatment.
If you discharge yourself from medical care or if you fail to treat regularly for your injuries, the insurance company may become skeptical and refuse to offer you sufficient monetary compensation.
However, by seeking all the medical treatment that you need promptly, the insurance company is more likely to look favorably on your case and offer you reasonable and fair monetary compensation.
During the time when you receive treatment for your injuries, your car accident lawyer can obtain a copy of the police report and any available video footage of your accident, request medical records and bills, and obtain other documentation necessary to satisfy the legal elements of your car accident claim.
Proving a Tailgate Accident
To recover monetary compensation for physical injuries you suffered in a tailgate accident, you must satisfy your legal burden of proof.
First, you must establish that the other driver owed you a legal duty of care. In most car accident scenarios, this legal element is a given since all drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws, obey safety regulations, and drive reasonably and carefully under the circumstances.
Drivers also have a duty to adjust their driving maneuvers and speeds according to the prevailing traffic and weather conditions.
Next, a tailgate accident victim must show that the at-fault driver violated their legal duty. For example, the other driver might have been texting and driving, operating their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, or using their vehicle recklessly and without regard for other drivers on the road.
In addition, victims of tailgate accidents must establish that the other driver's irresponsible maneuvers or unreasonable conduct were both the actual and the foreseeable cause of their rear-end accident.
Finally, the injured accident victim must show that their injury or injuries directly resulted from the subject car accident.
When it comes to satisfying these legal elements, your car accident lawyer can retain several experts who can draft reports or testify as witnesses in your case. For example, if the insurance company is disputing fault for the accident, your lawyer may bring an accident reconstructionist on board in your case.
The accident reconstructionist can visit the accident scene, obtain forensic evidence, review police reports, speak with eyewitnesses, and draft a formal investigation report about the cause of your accident.
Similarly, a healthcare provider on board in your case may establish the necessary causal relationship between the rear-end accident and your claimed injuries.
Pursuing a Claim Following a Rear-end Accident
If a vehicle hits you from behind, you need to retain an experienced car accident lawyer who can begin the personal injury claims-filing process for you.
Specifically, your attorney can gather important documents, assemble these documents into a settlement demand package, and present the demand package to the insurance company adjuster who is in charge of your case.
More importantly, your lawyer can handle all oral and written communications with insurance company representatives, especially when it comes to negotiating fair settlement compensation for you.
During the settlement negotiation process, your lawyer may do all the following:
- Forward a settlement demand package, along with a formal settlement demand letter, to the insurance company adjuster handling your claim
- Respond to settlement offers that the insurance company adjuster puts on the table
- Make recommendations to you about whether you should accept a pending settlement offer or reject an offer and pursue litigation in your case
- Highlight the strengths of your case, including reports from expert witnesses, medical records, police diagrams, and other vital documents, while downplaying any weaknesses in your case
- Threaten the insurance company with litigation in court if the adjuster refuses to make you a fair and reasonable monetary settlement offer.
If the insurance company denies liability for your accident or if they will not make you a fair monetary settlement offer, then your lawyer can handle every step of the litigation process for you.
For example, your attorney may file a lawsuit in the court system on your behalf for monetary compensation, continue negotiating with the insurance company adjuster, and represent you during all legal proceedings.
Your attorney can also handle the discovery process for you by drafting answers to the defense lawyer's written interrogatories and preparing you for your discovery deposition.
If your case does not reach a resolution during litigation, there are several additional ways to resolve your case.
First, you may take the case to a civil jury trial, during which time your attorney will call witnesses to testify on your behalf, present expert testimony, and introduce documented evidence in support of your case. Instead of taking your case to a civil jury trial in court, you can pursue alternative dispute resolution options, such as binding arbitration or mediation.
Your lawyer will provide you with all the information you need to make an intelligent and informed decision in your case.
Recovering Damages for Your Car Accident Losses
Victims of rear-end accidents can suffer severe injuries, especially if the collision is forceful. Depending upon the nature and extent of an accident victim's injuries, along with the cost and extent of their medical treatment, an accident victim can receive various types of monetary damages.
First, an accident victim can pursue economic damages to compensate them for their related past and anticipated medical costs, loss of earnings, and loss of earning capacity, if any.
In addition, a rear-end accident victim can pursue compensation for non-economic damages, including compensation for mental distress, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, inconvenience, loss of spousal consortium, past and future pain and suffering, permanent disability or disfigurement, scarring, and cognitive impairments.
Your attorney can determine the likely value of your case so that you can develop realistic expectations and make difficult decisions regarding your legal options.
Speak with an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today
If you recently sustained injuries in a tailgate accident, a knowledgeable car accident lawyer is on your side and ready to help. Your attorney can file a claim or lawsuit in a timely manner on your behalf and well within the applicable statute of limitations time frame.
Your personal injury attorney in Myrtle Beach can then handle every aspect of your case for you to maximize the monetary recovery you ultimately receive for your injuries. Best of all, your lawyer can do all this for you while you focus on what's important: recovering from your injuries.