Do I Need a Car Accident Attorney if I Was Rear-Ended?
Many people are under the mistaken belief that rear-end accidents are little more than fender benders and that rear-end accident claims are smooth sailing. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Rear-end accidents are actually one of the most common types of traffic accidents, and they are also some of the most dangerous. If you have been injured in a rear-end accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you are well-advised to consult with an experienced Florida car accident attorney early on in the process.
Rear-End Accidents Are Often Deadly Accidents
The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that, in 2019, there were 2,346 fatal rear-end accidents in the United States, and these accidents accounted for 7.1 percent of all fatal accidents that year. Additionally, The Washington Post shares that, every year in this country, there are about 1.7 million rear-end accidents – calling them the most-common-of-all traffic accidents. In other words, rear-end accidents happen all too often, and they can be exceptionally dangerous.
The fact is that you can suffer serious losses (what the law calls damages) in a rear-end accident, and reaching your fullest recovery can hinge on your ability to be fully compensated for those damages (what the law calls recovering on your damages). The surest plan for obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is bringing your strongest car accident claim, and for this, you need a dedicated car accident attorney. Although your rear-end accident case will be unique to the circumstances involved, your legal damages fall into several basic categories.
This is a straightforward category of loss that refers to the damage caused to your vehicle.
The medical costs associated with a rear-end accident can be extensive, and they can be even more so if your injuries are serious enough to require ongoing care. Some injuries common to rear-end accidents, such as whiplash and spinal cord injuries, are very closely associated with long-lasting effects like chronic pain and a severe decrease in range of motion (both of which can prove debilitating). Common medical expenses include:
- Emergency care and transportation
- Surgical care and medical follow-up
- Care from doctors, specialists, and other medical professionals
- Medical treatments, procedures, and tests
- Pain management
- Prescription medications
- Physical therapy and/or occupational therapy
- Home health care
- Adaptations for physical limitations
A serious physical injury typically means time lost on the job, which often translates to a decrease in income. The more serious your injuries, the more significant your losses are likely to be, and if your earning potential is affected, it means an overarching financial loss. We tend to put a good deal of ourselves into our careers, and if yours is derailed by a rear-end accident, it can lead to serious emotional upheaval (in addition to your financial losses).
Pain and Suffering
It is fairly easy to recognize your physical and financial losses, but the physical pain and suffering you endure can be far more difficult to address and overcome. The emotional hardships you face can include any number of the following:
- Fear of getting back behind the wheel of a vehicle
- Accident flashbacks
- Increased anxiety and panic attacks
- Bouts of depression
- Sleep disturbances that can include insomnia and/or nightmares
- Severe mood swings
- Emotional lability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Other PTSD-like symptoms
One of the most difficult aspects of these emotional consequences is that they can serve as a barrier to the support from friends, family members, and loved ones that you need now more than ever.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
While nearly any kind of driver negligence can cause a rear-end accident, two of the most common causes include distraction and excess speed.
Motorists owe what the law calls a duty of care (or responsibility) to everyone else on the road that includes paying careful attention to everything that is happening on the road. Distracted drivers drop the ball on this one, and drivers who are focused on texting – rather than on the road ahead – are often responsible for rear-end accidents. It takes an average of five seconds to read or type a text, and this works out to about the length of a football field when the motorist is traveling at highway speeds. When the driver looks up from his or her text reverie, coming to a safe stop due to an unexpected slowdown or stop ahead may not be possible, and rear-end accidents are often the result. While distractions come in many forms, texting (and other forms of smartphone usage) is the only one that melds all three categories of distraction into one tidy activity, including:
- The driver’s vision is distracted.
- The driver’s thoughts are distracted.
- The driver’s hands are otherwise engaged.
The fact is that speed plays a primary role in traffic accident statistics, and those involving rear-end accidents are no exception. The faster a motorist is traveling, the more space on the road he or she needs to come to a safe stop. When a driver fails to slow down and allow a safe distance between his or her own vehicle and the one ahead, a rear-end accident becomes that much more likely. Driving at a safe speed here is relative. While motorists should never exceed the posted speed limit, that number is set for ideal driving conditions. Every driver is responsible for assessing the condition of the road and for adjusting his or her speed accordingly.
An Experienced Florida Car Accident Attorney Can Help
The trusted car accident attorneys at Iscoe Law Firm – serving Miami, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Fort Lauderdale, and Broward County – have the keen legal insight, impressive experience, and drive to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled – in pursuit of your fullest recovery. We’re here to take your call – all day, every day – so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 800-800-6500 for more information today.