Tampa Rear-End Accident Lawyers
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in the United States. When a driver strikes another vehicle from behind, there is a high potential for injuries and property damage, especially at high speeds. It’s essential for Florida drivers to understand the dangers of rear-end collisions and know what to do after one happens. Florida is statistically one of the least safe states for drivers, so consider the following information and remember to call Bulluck Law if you need Tampa rear-end accident lawyers.
Dangers of Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions can cause significant damage and injuries at even moderate speeds. The size and weight of the vehicles involved, road conditions, and their speeds of travel all play major roles in the outcome of a rear-end collision. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 28% of all vehicle accidents are rear-ended collisions. Although new vehicle safety features like front-collision detection and automatic braking can help reduce the number of rear-end collisions on American roads, it ultimately falls to drivers to operate their vehicles safely in all conditions and do their best to prevent these accidents.
Rear-end collisions happen for many of the same reasons as other car accidents. Driver inattention, driving under the influence of alcohol, aggressive driving, and poorly timed lane changes can all lead to rear-end collisions. One of the most common causes of a rear-end collision is when a car suddenly brakes and the driver behind is too close to coming to a stop before crashing. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as avoiding a road hazard, a pedestrian suddenly (and illegally) crossing the road, or avoiding an animal.
Driving at night is inherently more dangerous than daytime driving due to the lack of visibility. If a driver forgets to turn on his or her vehicle’s running lights, another driver may not notice the car ahead before it’s too late. Driving during inclement weather such as snow, rain, or fog also limits visibility, so drivers should be very careful in these situations and allow for more room between themselves and cars ahead. Snow, ice, and rain impair a vehicle’s ability to quickly stop, and slamming on the brakes on wet roads is extremely dangerous. Allowing yourself more time and distance to stop can help prevent rear-end collisions in bad weather.
Drivers should do their best to keep a healthy distance from cars ahead. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to try to allow for one car length of distance per 10 mph. When traveling at 40 mph, leaving a distance of four car lengths between you and the car in front of you should provide you with adequate room to come to a sudden stop, if necessary. This isn’t always a functional rule, so it’s up to drivers to use their best judgment when it comes to maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles on the road.
Serious Injuries from Rear-End Collisions
A rear-end collision can cause cuts, bruises, broken bones, crushing injuries, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and soft tissue injuries such as whiplash. Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from rear-end collisions, and the term describes a violent twisting or snapping of the head and neck. The sudden stop from a rear-end collision causes the drivers involved to suffer the force of their momentum, and safety belts keep them in their seats. The momentum from a rear-end collision will cause a driver’s head and neck to move forward and backward quite violently after the impact.
Whiplash most commonly results from rear-end collisions and the condition can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and pain in the head, neck, and shoulders. Some people who suffer whiplash injuries also experience sleeping trouble, irritability, memory loss, blurred vision, tinnitus, and depression following a whiplash injury. These symptoms generally fade within a few weeks, but some people who sustain whiplash injuries can experience pain for months or even years after a rear-end collision.
First Steps After a Rear-End Collision
After a rear-end collision, contact the police to report any deaths, injuries, or property damage, and wait for first responders to arrive at the scene. Provide the police with a clear, concise, and honest statement about the accident, if you only sustain minor injuries and can do so. If you sustain serious injuries, call 911 if you can and wait for assistance.
Once the police finish their initial investigation of the scene, they will clear away the debris and have tow trucks remove damaged vehicles. Before this happens, try to take a few photos of the accident site, the damage to the vehicles involved, any skid marks on the road, and your injuries. These photos can be valuable evidence in a future lawsuit.
Florida follows a no-fault law concerning automobile accidents, meaning an injured driver simply files a claim against his or her own auto insurance policy to secure compensation after an accident. Florida requires all drivers to carry auto insurance that provides a minimum of up to $10,000 coverage for Property Damage Liability and up to $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection. Drivers can purchase additional coverage like Bodily Injury Liability Coverage, but Florida’s no-fault rule may make it more difficult for victims in rear-end collisions to collect compensation for non-economic damages like pain and suffering.
Building a Lawsuit in Tampa
Once an injured driver has made a statement to the police and sought medical attention, he or she should consider the legal options available for securing recovery. Insurance claims are daunting for many drivers, and the right attorney can help his or her, client, file an insurance claim and manage any pushback from claims adjusters. If an insurance claim will not cover the driver’s damages, his or her attorney will advise filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance or start building a lawsuit against the at-fault driver if insurance will not cover the full damages.
Damages and Compensation
In a no-fault state, an injured driver must have sustained a permanent injury or an injury significant enough to cause extreme pain and extensive recovery for the driver to recover pain and suffering damages. In the event the driver’s insurance is insufficient to cover the driver’s total losses, he or she will need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver. This involves gathering evidence from the accident site (such as the photos taken immediately after the crash), taking statements from eyewitnesses, and contacting medical experts to testify as expert witnesses.
Rear-end collisions are different than most other types of car accidents because fault is generally much easier to determine. The driver who strikes another vehicle from behind will almost always face some degree of liability for the resulting damages. Many assume that fault will always fall to a driver if he or she rear-ends another driver, but this isn’t necessarily true. Florida drivers need to remember that the state follows a “pure comparative fault” law, meaning a plaintiff who is partially at fault for his or her damages can still collect compensation from a settlement. The court reduces the amount received in proportion to the plaintiff’s fault percentage.
Do I Need an Attorney?
The attorneys at Bulluck Law Group are Tampa rear-end accident lawyers, Florida understand the risks facing Florida drivers, and we know how frustrating it can be to navigate the state’s no-fault car accident law and insurance issues. Many drivers may feel tempted to simply accept an insurer’s initial settlement offer to put the situation behind them, but this is generally a bad idea and will lead to far less compensation for injured drivers.
Contact Bulluck Law Group in Tampa today to schedule a consultation about your rear-end collision claim, and we can let you know what type of legal options are open to you. We work closely with clients to help them maximize their recovery after car accidents, so let us put our experience to work for you.