Understanding How You Can Get Compensation for Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end accidents are among the most common car accidents. Although rear-end collisions happen more often than other vehicle crashes, that does not minimize their seriousness or potential to cause serious, life-altering injuries.
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a rear-end collision another driver caused in Texas, you likely qualify to receive compensation. Consult with a Texas car accident attorney to review your case, explore legal options, and secure the full and fair compensation you deserve. Read on to learn more about rear-end car accidents and how an experienced attorney can guide you through the process.
What Are Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents in Texas?
Rear-end collisions can occur due to:
- Tailgating: Drivers must maintain a safe following distance from the vehicle in front of them to be able to stop safely if the lead vehicle’s driver suddenly brakes or stops.
- Distracted driving: Distracted drivers are not paying attention to traffic, and they can slam into the back of the vehicle in front of them. Common forms of driver distraction include texting, changing the radio, or reaching in the back seat to retrieve an item.
- Speeding: Speeding reduces the time a driver has to brake or stop to avoid a collision. Many rear-end car accidents result from drivers speeding or driving too fast for the conditions.
- Impaired driving: Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs may have slower reaction times and can’t respond in time to avoid causing a rear-end crash.
- Changing traffic conditions: Some drivers fail to assess traffic flow and changes in the road. If a driver is not paying attention or driving aggressively through heavy traffic, they can collide with the rear end of a slower or stopped vehicle.
Other factors can cause rear-end collisions as well, such as if the rear driver experienced a major health issue while driving like a heart attack or seizure. Regardless, consult a personal injury attorney in Texas if a driver caused a rear-end collision that injured you or a close family member.
Is the Rear Driver Always At Fault for a Rear-End Collision in Texas?
In most cases, the driver who rear-ended the car in front of them bears liability for the crash. However, this legal presumption is not always correct.
Some scenarios where you can hold other parties liable for a rear-end collision include:
- Multi-vehicle accidents: Some accidents involve a chain reaction, where several vehicles crash into each other due to an initial crash. In these cases, liability may accrue to more than one party.
- Mechanical problems or defects: Sometimes, a faulty car component may fail and lead to a rear-end crash. For instance, brake failure is a common cause of rear-end accidents, as are transmission problems, and other mechanical issues. If your attorney can prove a mechanical defect caused you to lose control of your car and collide with the rear of another vehicle, you may hold the product manufacturer liable for damages.
- Unexpected events: Sometimes, factors beyond your control can cause rear-end collisions, such as inclement weather or an animal running onto the road.
- Intentional misconduct and brake checking: Although rare, some people engage in brake checking, where they merge suddenly in front of another vehicle and slam on their brakes. People may do this because of road rage or because they purposely want to cause a rear-end accident for insurance purposes.
To properly determine liability in a Texas rear-end collision, you need an attorney to collect and analyze the evidence surrounding the crash. This can include police reports, witness statements, photos or videos of the scene, and anything else that shows the cause of the crash. A lawyer may also enlist accident reconstruction experts to determine the collision’s cause.
What Injuries Do People Suffer in Rear-End Collisions?
Rear-end collisions can result in injuries that range in severity from minor to life-threatening. The injuries depend largely on the nature of the crash, such as the speed at which it occurred, the vehicles involved, and the overall health of the victims.
Some common injuries people sustain in Texas rear-end collisions include:
- Whiplash: This neck injury commonly occurs in rear-end accidents. The sudden and forceful jerking motion of the head overly strains the neck muscles and ligaments. Symptoms can include neck stiffness and pain, headaches, and difficulty turning the head or neck.
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs): Rear-end collisions can also cause traumatic brain injuries and other head injuries depending on the force of the impact and whether the person was wearing a seatbelt. Concussion and TBI symptoms range widely but can include memory problems, confusion, cognitive impairments, and loss of consciousness.
- Back injuries: People can sustain back injuries in rear-end collisions that cause intense pain and limited mobility.
- Soft tissue injuries: Rear-end crashes can damage soft tissue surrounding the joints, straining or spraining muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
- Internal injuries: Some rear-end accidents can cause internal injuries. In some cases, the damage may not be apparent or symptoms may not appear right away. However, if a major organ such as the liver or spleen sustains damage, it can lead to internal bleeding and other life-threatening complications.
- Psychological trauma: A car accident is harrowing, and some people experience psychological issues from the ordeal. This includes anxiety and depression along with PTSD and other emotional and mental issues.
Depending on the vehicles involved and where the victims were sitting at the time of the crash, some rear-end accidents can cause fatal injuries. Other types of injuries include broken bones, deep cuts and extensive bruising, joint dislocations, and facial injuries.
Even if your injuries appear minor, you should still get a medical evaluation to rule out any underlying issues that could cause problems later. Speak with an experienced Texas rear-end accident attorney as soon as you can after sustaining injuries in a rear-end collision someone else caused.
What Types of Compensation Can I Get from a Texas Rear-End Accident Claim?
After sustaining injuries in a rear-end accident another driver caused in Texas, you could qualify to receive various forms of compensation, including:
These damages have a defined dollar amount and include:
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Lost income
- Property damage
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Additionally, you could pursue non-economic damages. These damages do not have a defined dollar amount but compensate for the ongoing effects the accident and injuries have had on your life.
- Emotional distress
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
In certain rare cases, the court may also award punitive damages. These damages punish the wrongdoer and deter similar behavior. The court usually only awards punitive damages for particularly egregious or unlawful conduct.
In the unfortunate event a rear-end accident kills a close family member, certain surviving family members may receive wrongful death damages. This typically involves spouses and blood relatives of the deceased, and compensation can include funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support, and more.
What Should I Do After a Rear-End Collision in Texas?
If you suffered injuries in a Texas rear-end accident, to ensure your health and protect your legal rights:
- Call 911 immediately if anyone sustained injuries in the crash. Do not attempt to move a victim. Wait for emergency personnel to arrive. If you can, move any damaged vehicles from the road and move yourself and others to a safe location.
- Report the crash to law enforcement: Call the police and report the accident. They will create an accident report that details the cause of the crash that your attorney can use to establish liability.
- Get the contact and insurance information from any other drivers or parties in the crash. Obtain their names, phone numbers, addresses, driver’s licenses, license plate numbers, and insurance information.
- Get witness statements and contact information: If you can, speak with others who witnessed the wreck and get their contact information. Your attorney may need to depose them later on to get their testimony regarding the accident to support your claim.
- Report the crash to your insurance company as soon as possible. Provide them with basic information but don’t go into detail regarding the cause of the crash. Follow their advice about how to file a claim, if necessary.
- Be careful about what you say to any insurance company or even the police. Insurance companies will look for every avenue to shift blame to reduce their own liability. Keep to the facts and don’t apologize for the crash or elaborate on how it happened. Also, don’t post anything about the crash on social media, as the insurance company may use any information you post against you.
- Get medical attention even if you don’t feel injured. You will need to prove you sustained an injury and received treatment to file an injury claim.
Gather all the evidence you can at the accident scene. Take photos and note the position of the vehicles involved. Also, note road conditions, traffic signals, skid marks, and any other evidence that seems pertinent. Preserve this evidence and keep it in a safe location so you can share it with your attorney.
Consult an Attorney
Perhaps the most important step you can take after a rear-end accident in Texas once you’ve received treatment for your injuries is to contact an experienced car accident attorney. They can assess your claim, evaluate the evidence, and help you navigate the claims process.
How Long Do I Have to File a Rear-End Accident Claim in Texas?
Like all other states, Texas imposes a statute of limitations for most personal injury claims, including rear-end car accident claims. Texas allows you two years from the date of the collision to file a lawsuit in civil court. If you don’t have an attorney file suit on your behalf within that time, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will have no other legal recourse to get the compensation you need.
Some exceptions can extend or even shorten the time you have to file, so you need to consult a Texas car accident attorney right away to start the process and ensure you don’t miss important deadlines that will derail your chances of getting compensation.
Contact an Experienced Texas Rear-End Accident Lawyer Today
Do not let the actions of a negligent driver negatively impact your life and future. Texas allows injured parties to seek compensation from those responsible, but the complex process requires the skills and resources of an experienced attorney. Contact the Francis Firm today for a free consultation concerning your Texas rear-end accident claim. Our experienced personal injury lawyers in Texas have decades of legal expertise, and we are fully committed to helping you get the maximum compensation you deserve.