A rear-end collision can deliver a very shocking and destructive blow to your neck and back because you are hit without warning and do not have an opportunity to brace yourself for the impact. The greater the speed of the driver who hit you, the greater the force of the impact and the more painful your injuries will be. A low speed rear-end collision usually results in whiplash and neck and back soreness that requires months of physical therapy in order to fully recover. High speed rear end collisions are much more dangerous and can cause severe head, neck and back injuries. In some cases, high speed rear-end collisions are fatal and result in a wrongful death.
Rear Driver Usually Responsible
In the great majority of rear-end collisions, fault will be 100% assigned to the driver who was in the rear, meaning they will be fully responsible for the accident. That means that if you were rear-ended by the driver in back of you, liability will be 100% attributed to the driver who hit you. If you rear-ended another driver, fault will be 100% attributed to you. Moreover, there will usually be an admission by the driver in the rear who caused the rear-end collision, such as “I’m sorry I was going to fast, or I stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal!” Such admissions will usually be noted in the police report written by the officer who was called to the scene of the accident.
Exception: Front Driver Responsible
The driving laws require drivers to maintain a safe distance so that they will not rear-end the vehicle in front of them, even if the vehicle stops abruptly. But there are exceptions. There are instances in which a rear-end collision can be the fault of the driver who was in front, that is, the one who has been rear-ended. The most common exception would be if one makes a sudden swerve across one or more lanes of traffic.
For example, if you are driving in the center lane of traffic on a 3-lane road and you suddenly change lanes and slow down to make a turn, you may accidentally swerve your car in front of another driver who is driving in his or her own lane and travelling the speed limit and despite going the speed limit is unable to slow down in time to avoid a rear end collision with your vehicle. In such a situation, the driver who rear-ended you may be determined to be not at fault and 100% of the fault may be assigned to you.
Examination by a Lawyer
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, a car accident lawyer will be able to tell you, after careful examination, whether you have a right to recover compensation for your injuries. Your lawyer will review any police reports, witness statements, and photographs of the accident, and other evidence, and give you a proper assessment of your claim. If you were rear-ended by a commercial truck, an experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to obtain records from the trucking company and statements through discovery and hold the trucking company accountable for your injuries. In most rear end collision situations, you will have a claim against the driver who rear-ended you and will be able to recover your medical bills, your pain and suffering, and your lost wages due to the accident.