Unfortunately, distracted drivers oblivious to their surroundings are a sight that’s far too common on the roads of Lake Elsinore and Riverside County today. Their lack of attention to the road in front of them makes it no surprise rear-end accidents (and resulting injuries) are an everyday occurrence in the area. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 87 percent of rear-end accidents happened because the rear driver wasn’t paying attention. The National Transportation Safety Board also reports the more than 1.7 million rear-end collisions each year, comprising almost 30 percent of the total number of crashes, are the most common type of car accident in the United States.
Though they may seem relatively harmless in many cases, this isn’t the case. The rear-ended driver is usually caught unaware during the accident, and injuries such as whiplash can happen at speeds as low as 5 miles per hour. In 2016, 500,000 people were injured and 2,350 died in rear-end accidents, most of which were avoidable collision with proper caution and behavior behind the wheel. If you were hurt in a rear-end accident in Lake Elsinore or the surrounding area, contact an experienced attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation.
What Injuries Commonly Result from Rear-End Collisions? Rear-end collisions often result in injury because the driver who was hit isn’t expecting the collision or prepared for impact. Though back injuries, head injuries, and strains and sprains are common result, whiplash is by far the most consistent injury reported by victims of these crashes. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the neck moves in a quick, unnatural motion and damages soft tissue around the area of movement. Symptoms can include:
- Blurry vision,
- Pain radiating to the shoulders and back, and
Unfortunately, many of these symptoms don’t present immediately after the injury occurs – this is why it’s important to seek immediate medical attention to evaluate whether you have been injured, even if you don’t believe you were hurt in the accident. Proper diagnosis can help establish the accident as the cause of your injury and allow you to receive treatment so you don’t unknowingly aggravate the injury.
How Do I Win My Case? In Lake Elsinore, rear-end accident victims usually pursue claims for compensation by filing a civil suit and arguing someone else’s negligence caused their injuries. If you can prove the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached their duty through an act or omission, and caused your injury during their breach, they’re generally negligent and liable for your damages. However, in traffic cases it’s often helpful to see if negligence per se applies; anyone who breaks a law or regulation when causing harm is presumed to have acted negligently. This includes traffic laws like no texting while driving and obeying speed limits.
Figuring out liability in a rear-end accident is usually not difficult. Drivers have a duty to act as a reasonably prudent person when operating a vehicle, so drivers who manage to rear-end someone else on the road are almost always at fault for the accident. However, sometimes the lead driver engages in improper behavior that renders them at least partly at fault for the collision. It’s possible for the driver of a front car to be negligent if it’s proven they:
- Brake-checked (slammed on their brakes for no reason) the rear vehicle,
- Put their car into reverse without a valid reason,
- Didn’t check their mirrors before reversing their vehicle,
- Drove their vehicle with broken brake lights or broken reverse lights, or
- Drove with a flat tire without using proper hazard lights or failing to pull the car off the road.
In these situations, courts may examine the facts to see if comparative negligence applies. If so, the court assigns each party a percentage of fault and will reduce a victim’s recovery by their portion of responsibility.
How Much Can I Recover for My Injuries? Victims that can prove they were hurt due to someone’s negligence may receive an award of damages from the court for their proven injuries. The money will never erase the trauma you’ve experienced, but it can help make you whole for expenses you incurred and damages you suffered as a result of the accident. Victims can recover damages for physical, financial, emotional, and psychological injuries from the rear-end accident such as:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage repairs,
- Lost wages and lost future earning capacity,
- Emotional distress,
- Permanent disfigurement or disability, and
- Loss of consortium (companionship).
In a few cases, you may be eligible for an additional damage award from the court designed to punish a defendant’s particularly vile, reprehensible behavior and discourage repetition of the conduct in the future. You must satisfy a very high burden of proof to qualify for punitive damages, and they are never guaranteed because the judge or jury decides whether to award them as well as the amount you receive. Navigating the tricky legal waters surrounding damages is best done with help from an experienced Lake Elsinore Rear-End Accident Lawyer to avoid potentially costly legal missteps.
Contact an Attorney Today Rear-end car accidents wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims every day and cause untold amounts of physical, emotional, and financial hardships that should have been avoided. If you were injured in one of these needless collisions, call the skilled Rear-End Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our attorneys have years of experience providing customized, dedicated representation for victims just like you and have secured millions of dollars in compensation for their injuries. Contact us today to schedule a no risk, no obligation case review. We are available 24/7 at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to set up your confidential consultation. The initial evaluation is free, and you pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys review your unique situation and use our resources and knowledge to help make the best of a bad situation so you can move forward.