Have you ever been in a rear-end accident? According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are approximately 2.2 million rear-end accidents each year. To make matters worse, in these types of crashes, the struck individual has no way of evading the situation.
Rear-end accidents are very frequent in the U.S. Most of the time, the driver who caused the collision is at fault. But it is not always the case. Numerous factors must be taken into account before filing a claim.
So, you may ask: “Do I need a lawyer if I was rear-ended?” Even if the case seems simple, problems can arise, which is why it is always better to hire an attorney.
Who Is to Blame in a Rear-End Collision?
Before taking any legal action, it is important to investigate the state laws regarding car collisions. The majority of states function under a fault-based liability system, which means the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident is liable for the expenses of material losses and sustained injuries. For instance, Iowa is an at-fault state.
As previously mentioned, most commonly the guilty driver is responsible for the damages. However, this isn’t always correct. If there is evidence of carelessness on the plaintiff’s side (an individual who seeks to make a claim), comparative negligence acts may divide the blame between drivers. Such situations include faulty brake lights, sudden braking for no evident reason, road rage, or driving under the influence.
Additionally, in some cases, the responsibility for the crash may include a third party. If the accident occurred because of a mechanical problem, such as defective brakes, or poor road conditions, it is possible to file a defective product claim or a claim against the government.
Depending on the circumstances, it is best to consult a car accident lawyer, who can calculate the best course of action and assist through the entire process.
The Extent of Injuries
Rear-end collisions may seem to cause less severe trauma in contrast to other kinds of car accidents. This may be accurate for low-speed crashes, while on the other hand, high-speed collisions may result in serious injuries or even death.
Some victims may not have any physical marks, others can suffer a minor whiplash, while the most unfortunate ones may be left with life-long consequences. Oftentimes, it can take a toll on a person’s finances, mental health, as well as emotional well-being. However, settlement-wise, it all comes down to the extent of injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
What is a serious injury? According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), serious injuries include loss of limbs or organs, miscarriage, broken bones, disfigurements, and other long-term physical restrictions.
Before filing a settlement claim, it would be wise to request legal counsel. Car accident attorneys will ask for relevant medical documentation which will help build a winnable case.
Car Insurance Companies
Determining one’s accountability in a car accident case can sometimes prove to be difficult. Settlement fees, in most instances, come from the liable driver’s insurance company. Unfortunately, car insurance companies are infamous for treating their customers and accident victims poorly. Regardless, it is important to tell your car insurance if someone hits you.
As soon as the plaintiff files the suit, an insurance adjuster takes over the case. Their job is to assess the extent of the victim’s damages and offer a settlement. However, it is important to point out that the adjuster’s primary objective is to cut costs for the insurance company. In some situations, the insurance firm may postpone or reject settlements under a false pretext in order to pressure the plaintiff to accept the lowest deal.
Additionally, another crucial aspect that needs to be discussed is evidence. In order to determine responsibility and subsequently the compensation fee, the case has to present indisputable proof of sustained injuries to the plaintiff and the vehicle. Such evidence includes the liable driver’s name and license plate, police report, video footage, location of the accident, medical bills, car damage estimates, witness testimonies, along with reports noting the time spent away from work.
To prevent any issues, hiring a car accident lawyer in Des Moines may prove to be a smart investment. Most car accident attorneys work on a contingency fee, which can help individuals with financial troubles. Furthermore, they can help determine if the case is profitable for the client.