Many accidents may feel unavoidable. When it comes to rear-end collisions, many of these car accidents may have been avoidable had the driver who was at fault been paying better attention and remained in better control of their vehicle.
Every driver on Florida roadways is obligated to maintain control of their vehicle. Control means not stopping too close to another car, maintaining the proper speed for road conditions, and paying attention to what is occurring with surrounding vehicles.
Typical Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions happen for several reasons, but most result from a driver’s error in judgment.
Some of the most common causes include:
- Distracted driving
- Brake failure/faulty brake lights
- Weather/road conditions
As you can see, the list is extensive, and each has the potential of a car running into the back of another.
Distracted Driving and Rear-End Collisions
Nearly everyone on the road has seen a driver using their cell phone, eating, or turning to speak with a passenger. It takes only seconds for a car to slow down, and if the driver behind is not paying attention to their speed, a rear-end collision can occur.
Rear-End Collisions as a Result of Tailgating
Florida makes tailgating a moving violation. Drivers must use common sense and allow sufficient space between themselves and the car in front of them. Speed, traffic, and roadway conditions should always determine the safest distance.
When a driver is in a hurry, they may simply be trying to gain an advantage in the line of traffic to get where they are going. Rushing can be dangerous for everyone involved because a car behind the one who is tailgating could fail to see a change in traffic signal and cause a multi-car accident.
Speeding Resulting in Rear-End Collisions
Every state sets speed limits based on many factors. School zones, heavily trafficked areas, and residential areas typically have lower speed limits than state highways or interstates. Most of us anticipate that people will take advantage of speed limits and may drive upwards of 10 miles over the limit, especially in light traffic and on a straight roadway. This violates the law and endangers others.
When someone is speeding, they put others in jeopardy. The faster a vehicle travels, the more challenging it is to stop. If a car in the front of a line stops suddenly, they anticipate the vehicles behind them will stop. Unfortunately, when one car travels too fast, the result is a rear-end collision.
Rear-End Collisions Due to Mechanical Failure
Sometimes the driver who strikes another vehicle is not at fault.
While these cases may be the exception, they include:
- Brake failure – When someone is operating their vehicle at a safe speed, following traffic signals, and paying attention to other traffic, the unspeakable can still occur. Unfortunately, mechanical parts of a vehicle can fail, including brakes, making it impossible for a driver to stop before rear-ending someone.
- Brake lights fail – If a driver in the front or anywhere in the line of traffic has failed to maintain their vehicle, they could have faulty brake lights. Any vehicle following them does not see the signal that the driver is slowing down or coming to a stop, which could result in a rear-end collision.
While mechanical failure is not the most common cause of a rear-end collision, these failures can result in some accidents.
Accidents Caused by Road/Weather Conditions
Weather conditions can change in an instant. What may have started as a sunny day can often turn gray and gloomy and result in downpours. When someone runs into unexpected weather while traveling, accidents can occur. Some drivers may get anxious due to the change in weather and slow down more than the driver behind them anticipates, resulting in an avoidable accident.
Roadway conditions can also play a role in rear-end collisions. An unexpected pothole, debris in the roadway, or uneven surfaces can cause a driver to make defensive moves, resulting in a rear-end collision.
These are reasons for a rear-end collision and why accident victims should seek help from a car accident attorney. If you were in a rear-end collision that was not your fault, you must know what to do. Victims need to protect their rights, and a lawyer with experience handling these collisions is best suited for that.
Common Injuries in Rear-End Collisions
Several factors contribute to the severity of an injury following a rear-end collision. Some have to do directly with the victim, including their age and overall health. Factors such as comparative vehicle size and the speed of the vehicles at the time of impact will significantly affect the extent of the injuries a victim suffers.
Common rear-end collision injuries include:
- Whiplash – Many people believe whiplash is not a big deal. And for some rear-end collision victims, this may be true. Rear-end car accidents, according to the Mayo Clinic, are major causes of whiplash. Victims often do not display symptoms until days after an accident. Treatment options can include physical therapy, pain management, and a cervical collar until the injury heals.
- Head injuries – Victims involved in a rear-end collision may suffer a concussion. These injuries can be devastating, and the aftermath can result in pain, visual issues, and memory problems. Treatment varies depending on the severity of the concussion.
- Broken bones – All car accidents can result in broken bones for a victim. Rear-end collisions are no different. Unfortunately, not all broken bones are simple enough to guarantee a victim will recover in four to six weeks. In some cases, compound fractures can require surgical intervention.
These are only a few of the types of injury a victim of a rear-end collision may suffer. Victims should remain aware of any changes or symptoms that occur in the days following an accident to observe newly developing symptoms that could mean an undiagnosed injury.
Florida Insurance Rules and Rear-End Accidents
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. No-fault means that you can file a claim with your insurer regardless of who is at fault for an accident. Insurance claims are typically settled quickly up to your insurance policy limit.
If you have suffered a serious injury in an automobile accident, you may not have sufficient insurance to cover your losses. Therefore, regardless of the severity of your injuries, you are usually better off if you contact a car accident lawyer as soon after an accident as possible.
Because of the no-fault statutes, the only time a car accident victim can file a personal injury claim against the responsible driver is if they can demonstrate their injuries were serious. Because of this ambiguous term, contacting an attorney can help victims better understand their options.
Why Hiring a Car Accident Lawyer Matters?
Accident victims tend to think that because they have no-fault coverage, they should file a claim with their own insurance company and let the chips fall where they may. This decision is often a serious miscalculation.
Here are some reasons why victims should seek legal advice following a rear-end collision:
- Attorneys understand the law – Statutes of limitations, liability, and other laws concerning how a victim may seek compensation from the responsible party all play a factor when dealing with the financial losses following an accident. A lawyer will be able to advocate for victims and make sure insurers treat them fairly.
- Insurance company tactics – Never underestimate the lengths an insurance company will go to minimize its liability following an accident. Their goal is to protect their bottom line, not necessarily to protect your interests. Key language in the no-fault laws states that an insurer will pay “customary and reasonable” charges. Additionally, if someone is out of work for an extended time, their insurance coverage may be inadequate to address these lost wages.
- A thorough investigation of accidents – Most of us do not have the contacts necessary to conduct a full accident investigation. When someone is working with an attorney skilled at evaluating facts and data, there is a better chance they will determine who was at fault.
These are some reasons to hire a car accident lawyer following an accident. Remember, initial consultations are free, and that is an opportunity for a victim to learn more about their legal rights and options.
Compensation for Victims of Rear-End Collisions
During a recent year, there were more than 400,000 roadway accidents in Florida. As a result, 252,652 people suffered bodily injury. These numbers do not explain the financial impact on the families of these victims.
Some out of pocket losses that may be recoverable in a rear-end collision claim include:
- Medical bills – A victim may claim any treatment received because of an accident if they cover those expenses. Treatment includes hospitalization, follow-up medical care, physical therapy, and medication to treat pain or infection.
- Medical devices – You may need crutches, braces, neck collars, wheelchairs, and specialized hospital beds to recover. In most cases, insurance won’t cover these costs and, therefore, a victim could claim them.
- Wage loss – While recovering from an injury suffered in a rear-end collision, victims lose time from work. Lost work time means less income. These losses are not the victim’s fault and they can include them in their compensation claims.
- Benefit losses – Some victims do not think about the benefits their job offers until they stop while recovering from an injury. Paid sick days and vacation days may run out while waiting for wage recovery. Additionally, some victims will lose out on matching 401(k) contributions, earned time off, and other similar benefits.
An accident injury attorney can explain other potential areas for recovery during a consultation. While not every accident victim is eligible for every category of compensation, no accident victim should have to suffer financially because of an accident that was not their fault. Reckless driving takes away so much from victims, and drivers should be held accountable for their failure to maintain control of their vehicles.
Contact a Florida Car Accident Lawyer After a Rear-End Collision
Victims often believe they can handle the claims process following a roadway accident. Additionally, they are concerned about facing a mounting legal bill if they hire a lawyer. Car accident attorneys work primarily on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means that victims do not pay for legal services until and only if they receive a settlement for their injury.
When someone you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a rear-end collision, contact an experienced car accident lawyer who has the knowledge and expertise to pursue compensation. Consultations are free and allow you to fully understand your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation for your losses. A rear-end car accident attorney can guide you through the claims process and ensure you receive what you deserve.