Rear-end collisions are some of the most common accidents on roadways. Most rear-end accidents contain an element of negligence. These accidents do not occur unless vehicles are driving unsafely close to one another. The attorneys at Douglas, Haun & Heidemann, PC know the liability considerations that dictate damages in rear-end cases. We are prepared to help you maximize the compensation available to you through auto insurance claims and formal lawsuits against the individual(s) responsible.
Fault in Rear-End Accidents
In most rear-end accidents, the driver in the back is 100% liable. A few exceptions to this rule do exist. Front drivers or other parties may share responsibility for the accident if:
- A defect in the front vehicle contributed to the accident (i.e., brake failure, sudden stops from engine problems, etc.).
- A front vehicle driver swerves in front of a driver without giving him or her enough room to brake.
- Either natural or manmade hazards exist on the roadway that prevented adequate braking.
In any rear-end accident, factors such as distracted driving, drunk driving, and speed can further complicate liability issues. The distance and speed of vehicles largely determines fault in rear-end accident cases. If a driver had reasonable time to brake and avoid the collision, then the rear driver may shoulder 100% of the blame.
Missouri operates under a pure comparative fault rule. If you share blame in an accident, insurance adjustors and courts will reduce your damage award accordingly. In some cases, several parties may share a portion of the blame. In addition to holding negligent drivers accountable, our team also pursues actions against insurance companies, third parties such as auto parts manufacturers, and others.
Whether you were involved in a rear-end accident as a front driver or a back driver, a qualified attorney can help you determine the benefits of moving forward with a personal injury case.
Injuries in Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents typically occur at low speeds. Low speeds do not always indicate the severity of injuries, however. Whiplash, broken bones, head injuries, spinal injuries, and other injuries can occur at any speed, depending on unique factors in the accident. At high speeds, rear-end accidents can be fatal. Accident reconstruction experts help us connect accident factors with sustained injures in these cases.
Always see a physician for an exam after any accident or injury. The adrenaline from an incident can mask the symptoms of a problem, and medical records can strengthen your case against a negligent party.
Avoiding Rear-End Collisions
Using caution on the roadways can minimize the risk of a rear-end collision. Use the four-second rule to maintain distance as a back driver. Identify a stationary marker on the side of the road. You should be able to count four seconds from the time a vehicle’s rear end moves past the marker to the time your vehicle reaches it.
As a driver in front of other vehicles, you may have only a limited ability to avoid a collision. If you notice a driver behaving carelessly, try to pull over or move out of the lane. Do not purposefully vary your speeds to discourage a tailgater.
Contacting a Rear-End Accident Attorney in Springfield, Mo.
If you or a loved one has suffered in a rear-end accident, the team at Douglas, Haun & Heidemann, PC can help. We have seen the burdens a serious accident can have on a family. While we can never undo the damage, we can help you hold the responsible parties accountable. Liability in rear-end cases is not always straightforward, and our attorneys are committed to presenting the real facts of a case.
For more information about how we can help you obtain justice, please contact our Springfield office today.