A rear-end collision is a disturbing accident, and unfortunately, rear-end accidents are common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29% of all crashes in the United States that result in a “substantial number of injuries and fatalities” are rear-ended accidents.
If you are involved in a rear-end car accident, you should speak with an experienced personal injury attorney. A seasoned personal injury attorney can start your claim and show you how to calculate your rear-end car accident settlement.
The Hartley Law Firm aggressively represents injured rear-end car accident victims. We handle every aspect of your case. You will only have to worry about getting well.
Common Cause of Rear-End Car Accidents
Distracted driving is the most common cause of rear-end accidents. An NHTSA study found that 87% of rear-end accidents involved some “form of driver distraction.” Other factors that can cause a car accident are:
- Following too close,
- Reckless driving,
- Road rage,
- Drowsy driving,
- Sudden stops,
- Inexperienced drivers,
- Bad weather,
- Inadequate lighting,
- Poor road design,
- Age, and
- Driver intoxication.
In a perfect world, drivers would slow down, pay attention, and give enough room. However, life is not perfect. Therefore, if you find yourself involved in a rear-end accident, you must document everything.
After calling 911, take pictures and notes, identify witnesses, and exchange insurance information. Also, be polite to first responders. However, never admit fault. An accident investigation can determine who was at fault.
Injuries in a Rear-End Car Accident
The injuries you suffer are the most significant factor affecting your rear-end car accident settlement. Unfortunately, rear-end car accidents can have grave outcomes. In 2015, the Washington Post reported 1.7 million rear-end car accidents in the US. Further, rear-end car accidents take 1,700 lives and leave 500,000 people injured.
Rear-end car accident cases can be the hardest to prove as the signs of injury may not be visible. Nevertheless, victims can suffer years of neck and back pain because of rapid head acceleration. Other injuries suffered typically include:
- Spinal injuries,
- Head trauma,
- Torn ligaments,
- Leg and knee injuries,
- Herniated discs,
- Broken bones, and
- Head injuries.
Soft tissue injuries are also common. Damage to ligaments, tendons, and bands of tissues that hold the muscles and bones together comprises soft tissue injuries. Soft tissue injuries are harder to prove because the pain and suffering caused by the injury are subjective.
Regardless of your injury, you and your healthcare providers must document all treatment. Recouping damages from a soft tissue injury is highly dependent on medical records and treatment history. Thus, you must document and remain compliant with all treatment.
Can a Settlement Include Damages for Pain and Suffering?
Also, pain and suffering make computing the average settlement of a rear-end car accident tricky. Pain and suffering encompass two parts—physical and emotional damage. Physical damage is the pain you suffer from a physical injury.
Emotional damages caused by a rear-end car accident can include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder,
- Vehophobia (fear of driving),
- Mental anguish, and
Similar to soft tissue injuries, pain and suffering are subjective. Therefore, pain and suffering are easy for insurance companies to dismiss. However, pain and suffering are real to those who agonize through it.
For example, vehophobia can make a person’s life impossible in the metroplex—where a car is essential. Since pain and suffering are hard to prove, it’s important to take notes or keep a journal on how your life has changed since the rear-end car accident.
Should You Settle a Rear-End Car Accident Claim?
Many factors go into calculating a rear-end car accident settlement. Foremost, the insurance company must be open to a settlement. Since rear-end car accidents involve soft tissue injuries, insurance companies may play hardball during the settlement process.
Nevertheless, settlements are preferable because juries can return wild and unpredictable results. Therefore, a settlement can be a desirable option for all involved.
Some lawyers turn soft tissue injury clients away. However, our team is tried and true when it comes to soft tissue injuries. We will fight to hold the negligent driver and their insurance company accountable.
How to Calculate a Rear-End Car Accident Settlement?
Your settlement will depend on your damages. Damages are economic and non-economic. Economic damages are tangible and can include:
- Vehicle repair or replacement,
- Physical therapy,
- Doctor and hospital expenses,
- Medical equipment,
- Costs for expensive diagnostic tests (CT scans, MRIs, X-rays),
- Funeral and burial expenses,
- Medication, and
- Lost wages.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are intangible and can include:
- Pain and suffering,
- Disability or disfigurement,
- Loss of enjoyment, and
- Loss of consortium.
A lawyer calculates the total damages by adding the economic and non-economic damages together. However, calculating these damages is not an easy feat. The attorney must determine the value of each category and wrangle the insurance company into agreeing to pay out those values.
Do You Need To Hire an Attorney to Get the Full Settlement Value of A Rear-End Car Accident?
Yes. Insurance companies of negligent drivers love to take advantage of unrepresented victims. Settlement damages—especially non-economic damages—can be tricky to calculate. For example, people love to make fun of those who request damages for pain and suffering. Moreover, shifty insurance companies will tell unrepresented clients that they have no case but offer them a small amount of money to go away. Therefore, it is essential to hire an experienced personal injury attorney.
An experienced personal injury attorney can fight the negligent driver’s insurance company for the highest settlement possible. At Hartley Law Firm, we are experienced personal injury attorneys with a track record of earning favorable settlements for our clients. Call us today or schedule your free consultation online.