Rear-end accidents happen all of the time in Texas. Even though these crashes usually occur at low speeds, they can produce major injuries such as whiplash, brain injuries, back and spine injuries, scarring, fractures and soft tissue damage.
Like any type of car crash, the two main issues in a rear-end accident claim are liability and damages. Here, we focus on liability, or fault. As you will see, the determination of who is at fault in a rear-end collision can present many challenges. For this reason, you should always seek help from an experienced car accident attorney if you or a loved one suffers harm in one of these crashes.
Burch Law Firm can provide the legal help you need. For more than a quarter of century, we have protected injured Texans in New Braunfels, San Marcos, Seguin, Comal County and communities throughout South Central Texas. We know how to investigate fault in rear-end crashes and pursue maximum compensation for our clients. We also give every one of our clients the respect and attention they deserve. We have more lawyers than support staff for a reason: We want to work one-on-one with the people we serve. Contact us today to learn more in a free consultation.
Rear and Front Drivers Can Cause Rear-End Collisions
Rear drivers typically cause rear-end collisions. However, you cannot assume that the rear driver automatically is at fault in a crash. Every case is unique. You need to focus on the evidence. When we investigate rear-end crashes at Burch Law Firm, we gather and study evidence such as:
- Signs of what happened at the accident scene such as tire marks
- Location and extent of vehicle damage
- Electronic data recorder (“black box”) data
- Driver cell phone records
- Driver blood or breath test results
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Video footage (if a surveillance camera caught the crash).
As our attorneys have seen, the driver in the rear often is responsible for causing a crash. The driver may be liable if the driver:
- Follows too closely (or “tailgates”)
- Drives too fast for conditions (leaving no room or time to brake)
- Fails to pay attention (possibly due to distracted driving)
- Simply exercises poor judgment or fails to control the car (often due to driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs or while overly fatigued).
However, careless driving by the driver in the front can also cause these crashes. For instance, in 2016, defective brake lights and tail lights contributed to a combined 63 accidents across the state, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Drivers in the front car can also cause rear-end collisions where they:
- Turn or change lanes without using a signal
- Abruptly stop or slow down at an intersection
- Suddenly swerve to avoid an object in the road.
Again, you cannot jump to conclusions in a rear-end accident. You need to work with a law firm that has the skill and resources to conduct a thorough investigation and get to the truth about what happened. Additionally, the firm should be able to turn to accident reconstruction specialists and other experts to analyze the cause of a crash and, ultimately, to identify who should pay damages.
What Happens When More than One Driver Causes a Rear-End Accident?
In most rear-end car accidents, only one party is at fault. However, in some situations, two or more parties may share fault, including the driver who brings a lawsuit against the other party or parties. Pile-ups and chain-reaction crashes are examples of auto accidents that may involve numerous negligent drivers.
If you share some responsibility for your own injuries in a rear-end car crash, it does not necessarily mean that you cannot recover compensation. However, you may be subject to a reduced recovery under Texas’ law of “proportionate responsibility.” Here’s how the law works in car accidents:
A percentage of fault is assigned to each driver. No driver is legally responsible for more than his or her share of fault. If a driver’s percentage of fault is greater than 50 percent, then the driver cannot recover any damages. Otherwise, the driver’s damages are reduced in proportion to his or her degree of fault.
For example, you get into a rear-end car accident with one other driver, and you sustain $100,000 in total damages. If you were 10 percent at fault, your recovery would be reduced by 10 percent. So, the most you could recover from the other driver would be $90,000. If you were 51 percent at fault, you could recover nothing.
Because of Texas’ proportionate responsibility law – or “modified comparative negligence” system – insurance companies will try just about anything to put the blame on you in a rear-end accident. The insurance company wants to pay as little as possible or avoid paying anything at all.
This is another reason why it is so important to work with an experienced car accident attorney. At Burch Law Firm, we know how insurance companies operate. We will aggressively fight any attempt to assign undeserved fault to you in a rear-end crash.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Rear-End Collision?
As you can see, the determination of liability in a rear-end crash may be clear-cut, or it may require a complex investigation and analysis of the evidence. The insurance company may also challenge the amount that you claim in damages. Your attorney should carefully examine your medical records and other evidence to determine the value of your case. If necessary, the attorney should also consult with experts in areas such as life-care planning in order to assess your long-term medical needs and costs.
When you work with Burch Law Firm, we will pursue a maximum financial recovery for you through a settlement or a verdict. The damages we seek on your behalf may include:
- Past and future medical expenses and other out-of-pocket costs
- Lost income and wages
- Diminished future earning ability
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Wrongful death benefits (if you lost a loved one in a rear-end crash).
Get Help from a New Braunfels Rear-End Accident Lawyer Today
Texas, like most states, has statutes of limitations that apply to civil claims. In our state, you must bring a personal injury lawsuit within two years from the date of a rear-end accident or within two years from the death of a loved one. Given these deadlines, you should get help from a lawyer without delay. Contact Burch Law Firm today and learn more in a free consultation. Additionally, we will charge no legal fees unless we secure compensation for you.