Were you in a rear end accident? It is common to wonder how much the average rear end collision settlement is, and what you should do next. Who is responsible for your accident damages? What is a typical rear end crash worth?
First, know that rear end collisions are common. Approximately 1/3 of all highway crashes are rear end collisions. A rear end accident occurs when a car hits another vehicle in front of it. Rear end collision damages can vary from minor bumper damage with no injuries to a totaled vehicle with serious personal injuries, such as whiplash, brain trauma, broken bones and organ damage.
What Causes Most Rear End Collisions?
The most common explanation for a rear end crash is the driver in the rear is simply driving too closely to the vehicle in front. Distractions also can lead to these accidents – most often, using a cell phone, talking to passengers, or adjusting the radio. Driver inattention is generally at the heart of most rear end collisions.
There can be other factors, though. Poor weather conditions lead to many rear end accidents. A road that is slick with rain or snow, or fog, can cause many serious accidents. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of the driver in the rear to drive safely. If that driver hits you from behind, he or she still may be liable for your accident injuries.
What To Do In a Rear End Crash
If you are hit in the rear, there are several vital steps to take right away:
- Check for injuries: Even a low-speed, rear end crash can cause broken bones, facial lacerations and/or whiplash. You should go to the hospital to be checked out, even if you think you are unhurt. Minor soreness right after a crash could turn into a severe injury after a few days, so you are always safer to be examined by a medical professional after an accident. You are more likely to be compensated for your injuries if they were documented right away by a medical professional.
- Document property damage: Take pictures of your vehicle and the one that hit you. Also take photos of the road conditions as soon as possible after the crash. Take wide angle photos of the cars’ positions on the road before they are moved. Also take up close pictures of vehicle damage. If in doubt, photograph it.
- Obtain police report: No matter if the accident is minor or severe, your claim or lawsuit will be bolstered by having a copy of the police report. If the other driver was negligent, it is likely that this will be noted in the police report.
- Contact insurance company: If your car was hit from behind, it is important to give your insurance company with all the information it needs as soon as possible.
Who Is At Fault in a Rear End Crash?
In establishing who is at fault, state and federal laws, as well as insurance companies, will strongly favor the driver that is hit from the rear. Most rear end crashes are eventually blamed upon the driver in the back. This is because driving rules dictate that it is the responsibility of all drivers to follow from a safe distance. By ‘safe distance,’ we mean that the driver should be able to slow and stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle or object. This applies regardless of why the car in front slowed or stopped.
That said, there are several factors that can reduce the level of rear driver liability. For instance, poor road conditions or poor visibility can be factors in a crash. This can reduce the liability of the driver in the rear.
Another factor to determine fault for rear end collision injuries is whether any laws were broken. If a car makes a left turn at a red light into traffic and is hit from behind by a car with right of way, the car in the rear may not be completely at fault. The driver in front also may be negligent. Other factors that can influence fault are whether the car in front had working brake lights or if the driver suddenly went into reverse without warning.
Determining liability in a rear end collision will consider all the above scenarios and others. The ability of the driver in front to receive rear end collision injuries compensation will depend upon such factors as mentioned above. A personal injury attorney can assist in analyzing specific accident factors to determine liability in your case.
Rear End Collision Settlement Process
To receive compensation, the first step usually is to file an insurance company claim. It is possible that the claim will need to be litigated in court, but most rear end collisions settle out of court. Going to court is expensive and can take weeks or months. It usually is not needed in a rear end crash case. Negligence in these accidents usually is clear.
Typically, the insurance company for the at-fault driver will offer a settlement to the party who has been injured. The initial offer from the insurance company may be inadequate, so be ready to negotiate by proving how much your damages are, including lost income. If the accident involves substantial medical bills and pain and suffering, it would be wise to enlist the help of a personal injury attorney at this point.
Average Settlement Amount for Rear End Collision
The amount you may receive in a rear end car accident will vary tremendously. The idea behind compensation for your accident injuries is to ‘make you whole again.’ This means that the compensation received should be enough to put you in a place where you would have been if you had never been rear ended. What that amount would be will hinge upon your property damage, medical bills, time missed from work, pain and suffering and other factors.
There is no precise calculation that will determine how much you will get in a rear end collision. Your personal injury attorney can help you to understand the types of settlements and judgments that have been decided in your area in similar circumstances recently. Generally, however, remember that the more extensive your injuries and property damage, the higher the possible settlement. Below is a closer look at the key aspects of a rear end accident case that ultimately determine the level of compensation.
What will be the cost to repair your vehicle? Some damage is obvious, such as a crushed bumper. But there could be substantial damage to the frame of the vehicle that is concealed. Therefore, it is smart to have your vehicle completely checked over by a mechanic after the rear end crash.
Medical and Related Expenses
Think about all the medical-related costs after the car hit you:
- Ambulance ride
- Prescription drugs
- Hospital stay
- Doctor visits
- Physical therapy
- Physical and mental pain/suffering
Lost wages are a substantial factor when considering what your potential damages are in a rear end collision. This is defined as how long you were unable to work, as well as how much you will not be able to work in the future due to accident injuries. The level of lost income varies on the sort of work you do, and how the accident has affected it. If you are a server and broke your leg, your lost wages would theoretically be higher than a person who can work sitting at a desk.
The total of all the above damages may be enhanced by a ‘multiplier’ that will depend upon how violent the crash was. The more severe the crash, the bigger the multiplier will be. For a devastating rear end accident that leaves you unable to work for a year, the total financial loss could be multiplied by a factor as high as four, for example.
Rear End Collision Settlement Examples
Below are some real life, rear end collision settlement examples. These can give you an idea of what a settlement might look like. But remember to talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your specific case to get a better idea of what your settlement could look like.
- $90,000: Client was rear ended by a pickup truck. This broke her driver’s seat and led to a rotator cuff injury.
- $25,000: Client slowed down in traffic and was rear ended by a large SUV. Diagnosed with whiplash and soft tissue injuries.
- $25,000: Client was rear ended at a stop sign; awoke the next day with serious neck and low back pain. Had to have extensive physical therapy.
This article should give you a good overview of what to do in the case of rear end collision injuries. If you have any further questions, it is recommended to speak with a rear end accident lawyer. He will be able to review your case – including your medical records and police report – to determine if there is the possibility of making a personal injury claim.