If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, you are not alone. Around 33% of all highway accidents are rear-end collisions. In Louisiana alone, more than 50,000 rear-end crashes occurred in 2019. If you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident or want knowledge in case of an accident or potential rear-end settlement, here’s what to know.
How Do Rear-end Collisions Happen?
Careless or inattentive drivers commonly result in rear-end collisions. Many people fit this category, such as drunk drivers, drivers on cell phones, or individuals attempting to multitask while driving.
Rear-end collisions and accidents can happen suddenly and without warning. The consequences are far-reaching and carry with them serious legal ramifications.
Am I Automatically At Fault If I Rear-End Someone?
Following existing legislation, a rear-ending driver carries the presumption of fault. According to Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81, the driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to maintain a “reasonable and prudent” distance from the vehicle being followed. The statute goes on to state that drivers must have “due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon.” This basically means you shouldn’t drive at unnecessary speeds. The condition of the road is also noted as a factor to consider.
In basic terms, drivers should pay attention to the vehicles ahead of them. They also must leave proper amounts of distance for safely stopping without collisions.
Under the following conditions, a driver can avoid fault for a rear-end accident by being able to prove:
- The vehicle was being driven under control
- The lead vehicle was closely observed
- A safe distance for the circumstances was followed
Instances of drivers in rear-end accidents avoiding fault do occur. These instances include drivers rear-ending someone after another driver crosses into the lane, leaving drivers nowhere to avoid a collision. Drivers may claim the leading vehicle stopped short, had no brake lights, or slowed down for no apparent reason.
Another example of drivers avoiding fault for rear-end accidents comes from instances where another driver enters the highway unsafely. This can occur when entering from a private path or the shoulder. By appearing in front of someone suddenly and not allowing for maintenance of safe distance, the rear-ending driver escapes fault.
When Am I At Fault For A Rear-End Accident?
Following motorists generally bear the majority of blame in rear-end car accidents. This rule finds its basis on the principle that the following motorist fails to responsibly maintain close watch of the preceding vehicle. Another reason for fault occurs when the following driver fails to allow for sufficient space to stop.
Left-turning motorists must make sure, before turning, that they can turn without danger. They must also yield to oncoming traffic. As such, left-turning motorists involved in collisions occurring across the center-line receive the presumption of fault for accidents. The driver must offer evidence showing freedom from negligence to avoid liability.
In instances of motorists turning at intersections with green arrows, drivers can show freedom from negligence. This happens by proving green arrow illumination at the time of the turn. A motorist in an accident should never assume that they are at-fault for accidents without proper examination of the situation. Auto insurers of tailing or left-turning motorists try to avoid paying for property damage and injuries. They refuse to acknowledge or attempt to refute these well-established presumptions.
Prior to dealing with insurance companies, communicate with an experienced Louisiana car accident attorney for assistance.
What are the Car Insurance Requirements for Louisiana?
Louisiana requires the following :
- Bodily injury liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage: The minimum legal requirement – $25,000
- Medical payments: The minimum legal requirement – $1,000
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury: The minimum legal requirement – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
What are the Typical Injuries from a Rear-End Car accident? Do They Influence A Rear-end Settlement?
During a rear-end collision, injuries range from minor bruising and superficial cuts up to paralysis or even death.
Frequently, neck and back injuries occur due to whiplash. Whiplash typically occurs when a vehicle strikes an unmoving car from behind. This causes the head to snap backward, then forward violently. Common symptoms of whiplash include neck pain, neck stiffness, headaches, shoulder pain and stiffness, and upper and lower back pain.
Another common injury as a result of rear-end collisions comes with long-lasting effects. Traumatic Brain Injuries can occur as a result of violent blows or jolts to the head. Traumatic Brain Injuries can result in permanent brain damage and loss of many basic physical capabilities.
Considered perhaps the most identifiable injury associated with rear-end collisions — broken bones — can occur to any part of the body and often require intensive therapy for full recovery.
Only a trained medical professional can properly diagnose the injuries sustained in a vehicular collision. Based on the extent of injuries, the settlement can grow quickly.
How Much Will a Rear-end Settlement Be?
While the amount for a rear-end settlement varies, the level of compensation depends on the scope and severity of the accident. Factors influencing rear-end settlement amounts include:
- Extent of serious injuries
- The severity of the accident
- Effects on the victim’s ability to work
- The effects of injuries on family members
- How quickly, if ever, the victim can heal from the injuries
- Specialty medical care or treatments
- Assignment of fault
- If the victim had proper seat belt etiquette
Seasoned attorneys at Gordon & Gordon can work with you to assess the circumstances of the case and deliver an estimate of the potential worth of your case.
Need Help With Your Rear-End Settlement? Contact Gordon & Gordon Today!
If you find yourself or someone you know in a situation where assistance with a rear-end settlement is needed, don’t hesitate to speak with the experienced team at Gordon & Gordon Law Firm. Call our top Shreveport personal injury lawyers at 318-716-HELP today to schedule a free consultation concerning your injury claim.