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Stuart Rear-End Car Accident Lawyer

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Rear-end accidents occur when the front of one vehicle makes contact with the rear of another vehicle. While this sometimes only results in minor scuff damage to the automobiles involved, it can also have serious or even catastrophic results if the rear-ended vehicle is pushed into traffic or if the driver suffers extreme whiplash.

The Stuart rear-end accident lawyers at Kogan & DiSalvo are experienced advocates who can represent you every step of the way toward full compensation for your losses, including money to cover medical bills and reduced ability to work due to your injuries. If you have been rear-ended, speak with a knowledgeable lawyer at our firm to discuss the full range of your legal options. All initial consultations are completely without charge.

Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions

Some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions include:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Tailgating, or following the next car too closely
  • Driving under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol
  • Fatigued or drowsy driving from lack of sleep or legal medication
  • Aggressive driving
  • Changing lanes without looking first

Common Injuries in Rear-End Collisions

While many rear-end collisions are minor fender benders in car parking lots, some happen at high speeds with heavy vehicles and produce catastrophic injuries. 

Some of the injuries that are most common to this particular type of collision include:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Whiplash can occur when the head is jolted back and forth by an impact, forcing the neck outside of its normal range of motion
  • Seat belt injuries – while it is undeniable that seat belts are an important safety tool that prevents catastrophic injuries like being ejected through a windshield or colliding with a dashboard, they often produce lesser injuries to the chest and neck
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) like concussions when a head is jolted forward and collides with a dashboard or airbag
  • Broken bones

Regardless of the injury, seeking medical attention and speaking with an attorney before calling the insurance company is important. Remember, insurance companies have a profit motive, and paying less to an injured party is good for their bottom line as a business.

Liability and Negligence

When a rear-end accident occurs, usually at least one party was negligent. Negligence is proven by a particular legal formula of establishing that the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff, the defendant breached their duty, and this caused the injury. The duty owed is to act as a reasonable person under the circumstances, such as a reasonable driver. 

While the analysis may appear straightforward, several factors can combine to cause an accident and require more analysis, or the reasonableness of an action may come into question. Once it is proven that a driver was negligent by driving unreasonably, the court will examine damages. Damages are the losses suffered by the plaintiff caused by the accident, such as the cost of repairing their car.

Similarly, determining the party liable for the damages may be more nuanced than anticipated. For example, one of the most well-covered rear-end accidents was that of Tracy Morgan, who lost a friend and was in a coma after an accident in which his limo was struck from behind by a truck delivering goods for Walmart.

The driver had been awake for longer than a day, and his striking the limo sent it into traffic and caused a 6-vehicle accident. Tracy Morgan sued Walmart through a legal doctrine called respondeat superior, which holds an employer liable for the injuries caused by the negligence of their employees in the course of their employment. In the end, he received a payment from Walmart, just as another employer could face liability for the actions of their employees on the road.

Determining liability and analyzing negligence can be complicated, and are only a few of the many steps on the road to compensation. If you have been involved in this type of accident, we recommend speaking with a rear-end collision attorney with expertise in your type of case.

Proving Negligence in a Rear-End Accident

The first step after any accident is ensuring everyone is safe, such as pulling over to the side of the road and out of the way of traffic if possible. If there are any injuries, call emergency medical services.

Once this is done, the initial steps of documenting evidence can begin immediately. This can involve using a smartphone to:

  • Record an initial impression of the accident while your memory is still fresh;
  • Take the contact information of witnesses, and record an account if possible;
  • Take photos and video of the immediate scene, such as damage to the car or other property, injuries to individuals, traffic lights and signs, traffic conditions, weather conditions, road conditions, and anything else that may be a relevant fact to help prove your case; and
  • Call the police and fill out a police report, which will likely include information about the drivers, contact information for witnesses, and a statement for both drivers.

Once the immediate documenting is finished, it will be time to consider medical treatment. The diagnosis and treatments can help provide evidence of things like pain and suffering. Adrenaline can mask an injury that can worsen over time, so it is a good idea to seek medical diagnosis to be sure about any potential injuries. Should some time pass before an injury is diagnosed, an insurance company or defendant may claim that something else caused it. 

Also, there are a few things to be sure not to do, such as not talking about the case. This includes making posts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or other social media platforms – insurance agents and opposing attorneys will likely look there for any admissions or to disprove injuries if you post a new workout video.

Proving Damages

There are three types of damages for negligence lawsuits: economic, non-economic, and punitive or exemplary.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are demonstrable financial losses, such as losing several paychecks from being out of work, medical bills, or bills from repairing or replacing property damaged in the accident. These can usually be proven by receipts and payments.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are intangibles that are suffered, such as the physical pain experienced from the accident, emotional trauma, and lasting psychological effects, like the trauma of living with a disfiguring scar. This can be proven by testimony from expert witnesses and peer-reviewed articles, as well as the plaintiff’s testimony.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are awarded to both punish egregious behavior of the defendant, and make an example of them to deter similar acts. This requires clear and convincing evidence that proves the defendant is guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence.

How an Attorney Can Help

Although rear-end accidents are typically regarded as less dangerous than head-on or T-bone collisions, they are still a very serious matter that can produce life-altering injuries or even fatalities, particularly when the rear-ending pushes a vehicle into hazards like traffic

In the aftermath of an accident, you will have to negotiate with insurers, decide whether to accept an offer or make a counter-offer, and ultimately choose whether to accept a settlement or go to litigation. While debating each decision, evidence will need to be gathered, arguments constructed, and important factors of law and facts weighed.

If you have been rear-ended in Florida, speak for free with a Stuart car accident lawyer. The attorneys at Kogan & DiSalvo have years of experience analyzing rear-end accidents and winning the compensation required for our clients to receive proper treatment and move on with life.

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