These collisions have the potential to cause some pretty serious injuries, some may even be long-lasting or permanent. Furthermore, rear-end wrecks usually involve very complicated legal questions. Issues like legal responsibility and insurance requirements can muddy the waters of an accident claim, so it’s vital that you have representation.
Rear-end collisions account for nearly a third of all the car accidents in Virginia. Typically, the victim is stationary or nearly stationary. Meanwhile, the other vehicle is usually traveling at or near full speed. This combination explains the severe injuries that these victims often sustain, as outlined below.
What Causes Rear-End Wrecks?
Distraction and/or fatigue cause most of the rear-end wrecks in Virginia. As mentioned, these wrecks are quite common. So, most lawyers deal with them on a routine basis.
As for distracted driving, safety advocates are deeply concerned about hand-held cell phone use. Most drivers agree that it’s dangerous to use a phone while driving; yet most drivers also admit that they multitask when they are behind the wheel.
Other forms of distracted driving include non-device distractions, like drinking or eating while driving, and using a hands-free cell phone while driving. There is evidence that using a hands-free phone is as bad as driving drunk.
Speaking of driving drunk without taking a drink, fatigue and alcohol affect the body and brain in basically the same ways. Both conditions adversely affect judgment ability and slow motor skills. In fact, driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s a dangerous level of impairment for motorists.
When motorists rear-end another vehicle, odds are they were not adhering to right-of-way laws or other legal expectations for drivers. As a result, they may be held liable for damages.
This doctrine, which is called negligence per se, only applies if emergency responders issue citations (for the operation of the vehicle not within the bounds of the law). Frequently, that doesn’t happen in these cases.
Responders’ immediate priorities include tending to injured victims and securing the scene. Writing a ticket is often low on their to-do lists. Sometimes, the citation never gets issued. All the more reason, of course, to have a car accident attorney on your side.
Attorneys will normally use the ordinary negligence doctrine to obtain compensation for the victim’s injuries. In terms of complexity, an ordinary negligence rear-end claim is the polar opposite of a negligence per se claim.
Unfortunately for victims, that fact does not discourage insurance company lawyers from urging the sudden emergency defense in these cases. These wrecks inflict so much damage that most insurance companies do whatever it takes to reduce or deny compensation.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. To ascertain a claim’s settlement value, which is basically the first settlement offer, most attorneys multiply the economic losses by two, three, or four, mostly depending on the facts of the case.
Connect With Us for a Free Consultation
At Geoff McDonald and Associates, we handle these matters on a contingency fee basis. We charge no upfront legal fees. We also advance most litigation expenses, such as court costs and expert witness fees. So, the vast majority of our personal injury clients pay nothing upfront.
Rear-end crash victims may be entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Richmond, contact Geoff McDonald & Associates, P.C. Home, virtual, and after-hours visits are available.