Rear-End Accident Attorneys in St. Pete and Pinellas Park
What to Do When a Vehicle Fails to Stop Behind You
A rear-end accident is typically more than a fender-bender. While the severity of the accident depends upon a variety of factors, the end result is often personal injuries to you and your passengers. Avoiding the impact of a rear-end collision is almost impossible due to little time to react and no place to go. Chances are your own vehicle is stopped behind someone else. If you are sitting at a traffic light, there’s a good chance the force of the collision may push you into the intersection. If you’ve experienced serious injuries in a rear-end accident caused by a negligent driver, a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Rear-end collisions are very common both in Florida and nationwide. These collisions can be minor “fender benders” that victims walk away from or result in fatalities. In either situation and every case in-between, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to discuss your damages and how to seek compensation.
Rear-end collisions are often caused by distracted driving, tailgating, and weather conditions. Sometimes road obstacles and sudden movements of other vehicles are partially to blame such as in “chain reaction” collisions. And, in other cases, the driver may be under the influence of a substance, drowsily driving, or suffer vision issues.
Florida law is clear on liability for rear-end collisions in most cases, the rear driver is presumed to be at fault. [link to rear driver article].
The Impact of a Rear-End Accident
According to the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes account for nearly 30 percent of all accidents. The severity of a rear-end accident depends upon the type of lead vehicle—the vehicle that is stopped or moving very slowly prior to the crash.
For example, a passenger car stopped in traffic is no match for a semi-truck approaching them from behind. The differences in size and weight can result in devastating injuries and possibly death for those in the passenger vehicle. Semi-trucks may carry loads up to 80,000 pounds. A passenger car weighs approximately 3,000-4,000 pounds. The math is simple: When a semi-truck rear-ends a passenger vehicle, the force, even at a low speed, can cause catastrophic injuries.
The same is true when a motorcycle is the lead vehicle and is struck from behind by a passenger vehicle. The results are often even more devastating due to the lack of protection for the motorcycle rider. With no seatbelts or airbags to protect them, motorcycle riders, and their passengers, face ejection from the bike and into traffic.
How Do Rear-End Accidents Occur?
While braking and coming to a complete stop seem easy enough, there are many reasons why people don’t. For one, distracted driving continues to develop as a key issue in rear-end accidents. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 96 percent of drivers surveyed view texting and emailing behind the wheel a serious threat. Despite this, 44 percent admitted to reading a text behind the wheel and 34 percent admitted to typing and sending a text.
Aggressive driving is another key factor in rear-end crashes. Tailgating and speeding are just two ways aggressive drivers endanger others. Half of those surveyed reported driving a minimum of 15 mph over the posted speed limit on a highway. Forty-seven percent admitted to driving 10 mph on a residential street.
A rear-end accident can occur due to a drunk or distracted driver, a speeding driver, or any other type of reckless behavior. When you experience serious injuries in a rear-end accident that were due to no fault of your own, contact Oldham and Delcamp.
What to Do If You Experience a Rear-End Accident
It is likely that you will not see the impact coming. The sudden force of another vehicle striking the back of your car or motorcycle is shocking and traumatic. If this happens to you, try to remain calm. Always accept medical assistance even if you feel fine. You may have injuries such as internal bleeding or a concussion that don’t show symptoms right away.
Document the scene with pictures and videos. Collect the contact information from witnesses. If your injuries prevent you from gathering evidence, ask a witness to assist you. Do provide a statement to law enforcement. All of this can serve as helpful information for any future litigation.
Rear-end collisions can lead to painful and permanent injuries due to the force of the impact on the driver and passengers bodies. Even minor injuries can worsen over time and some injuries may not be immediately apparent, so it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The following are some common injuries resulting from a rear-end collision:
- Whiplash: pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder resulting from being thrown forward in a collision
- Back injuries: the force of impact can injure your spine causing compression and damage to discs, spinal cord and nerves
- Head and face injuries: rear-end collisions, especially those at higher speeds, present the risk that the front occupants face will strike the steering wheel or dashboard or the airbag if it deploys. This force can cause fractures, brain injuries, eye damage, and abrasions.
- Arm and hand injuries: these injuries often result from passengers bracing for impact or holding onto the steering wheel tightly, when the force of impact causes limbs to be twisted unnaturally or become jammed in vehicle compartments
- Seatbelt injuries: many accident victims suffer less severe injuries thanks to wearing their seatbelts but also suffer injuries from the seatbelt. Rear-end impact cause the wearer’s torso to thrust forward against the seatbelt which may worsen whiplash, cause lacerations and bruises.
Florida law mandates that if an accident victim does not seek medical treatment within fourteen days following the accident, they have forfeited their personal injury protection coverage. So, it is important to seek medical care immediately even if you are not suffering severe pain or discomfort because injuries such as those to the head, neck, and back may worsen over time and require early intervention for optimal recovery.
Call us after your car accident 888-737-4129
Your car accident happened quickly but the consequences can last a lifetime. You should talk to a car accident lawyer to review your case and discuss if compensation is available. Monetary compensation may include the cost of your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The experienced attorneys of Oldham & Delcamp are prepared to thoroughly evaluate your case and determine how to pursue your claim.
We will do the work of gathering records related to your claim such as medical and insurance policies, investigate the accident, and negotiate with the insurance company. If settlement negotiations are unsuccessful, we are prepared to go to trial and present your case to a jury.
Experiencing a life-changing injury during a simple trip to the store or your commute home from work isn’t fair. A Florida driver’s license is a privilege and not a right. When someone fails to share the road with you and to drive in a responsible manner, they are negligent. Gather your evidence and contact us without delay. Time is of the essence due to the Florida statute of limitations. The sooner we review your case, the sooner we can decide upon the best course of action for you. Schedule your free case evaluation today. We can help with your trucking accidents or as your premises lawyer and auto accident attorney.