Have you been involved in a rear-end accident? If you’re like most people, you assumed it would go a little something like this…both drivers would get out of their cars, exchange information, and after a pleasantry or two, they would both go their separate ways. Some rear-end accidents go a little something like that, but others can be more serious with totaled vehicles and serious injuries.
Did you know rear-end collisions are frequently referred to as whiplash accidents? They got the nickname because whiplash injuries are common in accidents involving one motionless vehicle suddenly struck from behind by another vehicle. Whiplash can be tricky because the occupant of the vehicle that is struck may not feel the effect immediately. Right after the accident, they often feel completely fine, but in many cases, symptoms of whiplash set it during the days following the rear end accident. It’s not uncommon for a rear-end collision to result in whiplash symptoms surfacing days or even weeks after the collision.
The Insurance Information Institute conducted a study that found 33% of total car accidents are rear-end collisions. They also discovered that 6.8% of car accident fatalities are a result of rear-end accidents. In 2017, there were 3,721 car accident fatalities in Texas. Of the 3,721 car accident fatalities, approximately 253 were due to rear-end collisions. These numbers show how serious the problem is – and they don’t even take into account serious injuries caused by Texas rear end collisions.
Did you know that you can be rear-ended, but still be held partially at fault? Most drivers assume if they are rear-ended, it’s the other driver’s fault. This is a common misunderstanding, since Texas is a modified comparative fault state, which means you can file a claim and recover damages when you are involved in a car accident if you are less than 51% at fault, but the total damages you can recover is reduced based on your percentage of fault. So, if you were in a Texas car accident and the total damages come to $100,000, but you are 30% at fault, the most you can potentially recover is $70,000. Since you are considered 30% at fault, you are assigned liability for 30% of your own damages.
In many cases featuring a driver who rear ended another driver who claims the driver who is struck is at least partially at fault, the driver will claim the vehicle in front of them stopped too suddenly with no warning and there was no time to prevent the collision. This is just one of the reasons it is important for drivers to be careful if the other driver’s insurance company wants to conduct an interview about the accident. Their interview may be designed to find some way to assign you partial fault in the rear-end collision.
If you’ve been in a rear-end collision and need help to protect yourself from comparative fault claims, get in touch with an experienced Dallas, Texas personal injury attorney at Hudson Law Firm. We put the “personal” back into personal injury law.