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Rear-End Car Accidents and Your Legal Rights

After a rear-end collision, knowing how to respond in relation to potential legal complications can greatly help with compensation down the road.

overview of rear-end collisions

Rear-end car accidents are one of the most common type of accidents.These accidents happen when the front bumper of vehicle A collides into the rear end of vehicle B. Rear-end accidents may occur as a result of a driver’s inattention, intoxication, road defects, adverse weather conditions and other factors.

In most cases, the primary cause of rear-end accidents is negligence - meaning one of the driver's’ actions are short of what any reasonable person would have or have not taken under the circumstances which led to the accident.

To prove that another driver was negligent, however, you must prove that he or she did not exercise care when handling the motor vehicle and consequently breached that duty.

Who is liable for a rear end accident

Though fault (or “liability“) for the accident will be determined by the specific conditions, more often than not it is the tailing driver who is held responsible. This is due to the universal road rules that require drivers to follow vehicles at a safe distance.

In the event of an abrupt stop by the car in front, the tailing driver should be in a position to stop without there being a collision. Insurance companies seldom dispute such an accident and will often focus on the damages resulting from the accident, such as the extent that the vehicle is damaged and physical injuries.

Common injuries associated with rear-end collisions

Though the vehicles involved might have impacted at a low speed, the force of the collision can lead to the compression of the spine or dislocation of disks at the base of the spinal column. This condition is medically known as “disk herniation.”

A whiplash injury is another common injury caused by a rear-end collision. This is where the impact violently jerks the victim’s body forward while the head is fixed. This exposes the neck to an abrupt and severe motion similar to that of a whip. Though a whiplash injury is often considered minor, it has been proven that the soft neck tissue, when injured, can have long-term painful effects on the victim.

The force of the collision may also cause the driver to smash their face against the steering wheel, thus leaving disfigurements from fractures or, in worse cases, permanent scarring.

Notably, airbags may also cause burns on the facial area or scalp. It is, therefore, advisable to observe safety measures such as making sure you have fastened your seatbelt to minimize the severity of the impact in case of such an accident.

Although most are often downplayed, injuries from rear-end collisions can lead to inflated medical bills due to hospitalization, medical care or even surgical procedures. Most victims of severe rear-end accidents may even fail to go to work for a few weeks or months while they recuperate, leading to loss of income.

Permanent disability may mean that the victim is dependent on medications and care and may never again be able to care for themselves. In the worst case scenario, wrongful death can result from a serious accident.

What to do after a rear end collision

Should there be any injuries, immediately contact an ambulance or other medical emergency service. If there are no severe injuries, gathering as much evidence as possible to prove that the tailing driver was negligent should be the next step. This will afford you a better chance at being compensated for the damages.

The digital age era has helped in this regard, enabling people to take high quality photos at the scene of the accident without moving the vehicles (unless it is necessary). Take pictures of the points of impact both at close range and wider shots that may contain relevant information about the context of the crash such as traffic signs, weather or stoplights.

Always call the police after such an accident, even if there appear to be no serious injuries. Also, be sure that you obtain a copy of the police incident report. This usually has the opinion of the officer in charge, including who caused the accident and whether the defaulting driver has a record.

Before you leave, don’t forget to collect witnesses’ information that may show that the driver was negligent. Be sure to write down their names and contact information.

Contact a Tennessee car accident injury attorney

Rear-end accidents can sometimes be fatal and should not be taken for granted. In such cases, you need to engage an experienced and qualified car accident attorney to represent you. This will guarantee that you earn the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries, damage to your property and expenses arising from a rear-end collision.

If you or someone you love has been in a rear-end car accident, the Tennessee personal injury attorneys at Gilreath & Associates are prepared to take on your case. We have the know-how and experience to help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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