Rear-end car accidents are unfortunately a commonplace in Murrieta and the surrounding area of Southern California. Not only are they especially dangerous because a driver is caught unaware when the accident happens, they’re one of the most frequent types of collisions on the roads today. The National Transportation Safety Board reports rear-end collisions, numbering over 1.7 million each year (nearly 30 percent of all traffic accidents), are the most common car accidents in the United States. In 2016, 500,000 people were injured and 2,350 died in rear-end accidents. This year in Murrieta, a motorist died when their truck was rear-ended by a bus on the 215 freeway.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 87 percent of rear-end accidents happened because the rear driver wasn’t paying attention. Cell phones play a major part in distraction and the resulting collisions. Unfortunately, the frequent use of phones and other electronics while driving make rear-end collisions unsurprising and far too common. If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people hurt in an avoidable collision due to someone’s negligence, contact an experienced Murrieta Rear-End Accident Attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.
What Kinds of Injuries Do Rear-End Accidents Cause?Due to the fact rear-ended drivers are not anticipating a crash and have no time to prepare for impact, these accidents often cause severe, life-changing injuries or even result in death. A variety of injuries are commonly found from these collisions due to the sudden impact:
- Back injuries,
- Neck injuries,
- Head injuries including traumatic brain injuries, and
- Strains and sprains.
The most consistently occurring injury is whiplash – a form of neck injury where a victim’s neck moves quickly unnaturally, damaging the soft tissue in the area. Due to the fact whiplash often doesn’t present symptoms for days or even weeks after the accident, it can be difficult to understand you may have been injured at the time of the crash. This is why it’s so critical you seek medical attention and receive a full evaluation as soon as possible after the rear-end accident; proper diagnoses can help you recover from your injuries more quickly and establish the cause of your injury to substantiate any future legal claims before you begin experiencing symptoms like headaches, stiffness, fatigue, dizziness, neck or shoulder pain, and numbness.
How Do I Win My Case?Rear-end accident victims often argue they are entitled to compensation because they were injured as a result of someone’s negligence. To establish another person was negligent, you must prove that they owed you a legal duty of care, breached their duty by acting improperly or failing to act when they should have, and their breach actually caused you harm.
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. Rear-end collisions can happen for a variety of reasons: speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changes, distracted driving, or even driving under the influence. However, in a few situations the driver who was rear-ended may have engaged in unsafe, negligent behavior that makes them at least partly responsible for the accident. Liability may be assigned to the lead driver for:
- Engaging in brake-checking the rear vehicle,
- Shifting their vehicle into reverse without a valid reason,
- Failing to check their mirrors before reversing their vehicle,
- Driving with broken taillights and/or reverse lights, or
- Operating a vehicle with a problem such as a flat tire without using proper hazard lights or failing to pull the car off the road.
If the lead driver has engaged in any of these behaviors, a court may examine the facts to see if comparative negligence applies and apportion fault (and any resulting damages) appropriately between the parties. However, outside situations such as these the rear driver is usually negligent and liable for the victim’s injuries.
What is My Case Worth?After you’ve established that someone was negligent and caused your injuries through a rear-end accident, you may be entitled to an award of damages. Though it will never undo the accident, an award of compensatory damages can help you cover the expenses you incurred for your injuries. Victims are often given compensation for quantifiable damages such as:
- Medical bills,
- Property damage repairs,
- Lost wages and lost future earning capacity, and
- Funeral expenses.
You may also be able to recover damages for injuries from mental, emotional, and psychological trauma that don’t have a fixed price tag. Emotional distress, pain and suffering, disfigurement or disability, and loss of consortium are all common noneconomic damages.
In some cases, a victim may be entitled to an award of additional damages to punish a defendant’s bad behavior and deter repetition of the conduct. These damages require satisfying a high burden of proof regarding the defendant’s vile, reprehensible behavior, and the decision to award punitive damages as well as the amount of an award are entirely up to the judge or jury. The potential difficulty of establishing causation for negligence, along with satisfying different burdens of proof, are best handled by an experienced Murrieta Rear-End Accident Lawyer to avoid costly legal missteps in your case.
Contact an Attorney Today Rear-end car accidents are cause for serious concern and often cause catastrophic, life-changing injuries or death to unsuspecting individuals on the road in a split second. If you were injured in one of these needless, avoidable collisions because of someone else’s actions, contact the skilled Murrieta Rear-End Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC today. Our attorneys spent years delivering personalized, aggressive representation for victims just like you and have recovered millions in compensation on their behalf. Contact us today to schedule a risk-free, no obligation case review. We are available 24/7 at (866) 338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to set up your consultation. The initial evaluation is free, and you don’t pay until we win your case. Let our attorneys fight for you so you can focus on your recovery starting today.