As one of the most-common kinds of crashes, rear-end collisions happen every day in Missouri. In many rear-end accidents, people suffer serious injuries, such as whiplash, that change their lives. Making a full recovery usually depends on getting costly medical treatment and taking time off work, which creates a sudden financial burden in an already stressful situation. Rear-end crashes can also result in permanent disabilities that put a lasting strain on the victim’s health and security.
If you’ve suffered rear-end collision injuries in a St. Louis wreck, contact the attorneys at Sansone & Lauber. Our lawyers are experienced litigators who have won million-dollar verdicts and settlements for people harmed in Missouri auto accidents. We have seen the devastating consequences of crashes caused by another’s negligence and will fight to make it right.
Insurance companies may ask for a recorded statement soon after an accident occurs, and they may make a quick offer in hopes of making the claim go away for pennies on the dollar. You need a skilled lawyer to make sure that you don’t accept a lowball settlement offer that is far less than what you deserve.
There is no obligation to hire us if you come for a free consultation. Find out about your legal rights and options by calling us or contacting us online now.
How Do Rear-End Collisions Happen?
A rear-end car accident occurs when a vehicle hits the back of the vehicle in front of it. Rear-end collisions are common in chain-reaction accidents involving multiple vehicles. Usually, the people in the leading vehicle have no idea that an accident is about to occur or have only split-seconds to prepare for impact.
Missouri traffic laws enforce the expectation that motorists drive safely and should be held responsible if their negligence injures another person. Rear-end accidents typically happen because the trailing driver is doing something careless behind the wheel, such as:
- Tailgating: The rule of thumb in Missouri is to follow the three-second rule while driving behind another vehicle. That means that you should leave a three-second gap between you and the car in front of you. To determine this, choose a fixed point on the road, such as a light post. Once the vehicle in front passes it, start counting for three seconds. If you reach the light post before three seconds is up, you are probably following too closely.
- Distracted driving: Talking on a cell phone, texting, looking at a GPS or music player, eating or monitoring children can take your eyes and mind off the road long enough to cause a rear-end collision.
- Unsafe lane changes: Cutting in front of another car without leaving adequate space can cause a rear-end accident. It also leaves little time to prepare for any sudden stops ahead.
- Driver stops short: Rear-end crashes also happen when a leading driver stops suddenly, perhaps to avoid a child in the road or another obstacle. If the other driver isn’t paying attention or following too closely, he or she could be held liable for the crash.
- Driving while intoxicated: An impaired driver is less attentive and has a slower reaction time behind the wheel, which can cause him or her to slam into another vehicle.
- Vehicle defects: Examples include faulty brakes, airbag failures and seatbelt defects.
Injuries in Missouri Rear-End Car Accidents
A variety of factors influence the severity of injuries sustained in a rear-end collision. Speed makes a huge difference. But it’s also the drivers’ actions and reactions, whether seatbelts are used, weather conditions and the safety features of the cars that can increase or decrease the likelihood of a serious injury.
Even at low speeds, rear-end accident injuries can cause substantial harm. Any time a vehicle crashes, it causes the body to move in an unexpected way. In a rear-end collision, that means that the driver and passengers in the cars lurch backward and are flung forward as the car stops moving.
The types of injuries commonly associated with rear-end accidents include:
- Whiplash: The sudden back-and-forth motion of the crash can strain muscles and ligaments in the neck, causing severe pain and stress on the cervical spine.
- Back injuries: Muscle injuries and disc herniations can happen due to compression on the spine after impact.
- Brain injury: If a head strikes the dashboard or other solid structure, a concussion or traumatic brain injury could cause lifelong disabilities.
- Airbag injuries: Airbags are installed to keep us safe, but they can also cause facial, hand, arm and shoulder injuries.
Assigning Fault in A Missouri Rear-End Accident
Determining liability for a rear-end accident is usually pretty simple. Almost always, a rear-end accident is deemed to be the fault of the driver of the trailing car. That can be true even when the driver in front stops short, because the presumption is that the trailing driver should have left enough space to react and stop before hitting the other car.
There are cases when drivers in rear-end accidents may share fault. If the leading driver knew that his or her car had broken brake lights, he or she could be held responsible for all or part of the wreck, for example. In multi-car chain reaction accidents, an investigation would help determine fault and which driver’s liability insurance company would handle your insurance claim.
Why You Need a Missouri Rear-End Accident Attorney on Your Side
Getting help from an attorney after a rear-end collision is an important part of making sure that your legal rights are protected. Our lawyers are ready to review your injuries and property damage and prepare a strong case for you to seek fair compensation.
After calculating losses and gathering evidence, our lawyers will submit a claim to the responsible driver’s insurance company. It’s often possible to negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance companies and avoid court. But if they fight back, our attorneys are prepared to take it to court and stand up for you at trial.
In Missouri, you may be able to obtain compensation for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earnings
- Future medical treatment
- Home modifications
- Pain and suffering
- And more
Contact Sansone & Lauber today to learn about your legal options. If you don’t get paid, we don’t get paid.