Fort Lauderdale Rear-end Collision Lawyers Fighting for Clients Hurt by Negligent Drivers
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that rear-end collisions account for about 29% of all car accidents, making them the most commonly seen type. While rear-end collisions may be common, every victim’s injuries and losses are unique. A compassionate car accident lawyer from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. will take the time to fully investigate and understand your case. We will pursue financial compensation from all liable parties on your behalf so you can pay your bills, continue your healing, and regain a sense of normalcy in your life. Even if you are partially at fault for your accident, you still retain the right to seek compensation for your damages under Florida’s pure comparative negligence laws. Call 954-466-3220 to set up a free case evaluation with a personal injury lawyer who will protect your legal rights.
How Do Rear-end Collisions Happen?
In a rear-end car accident, one vehicle is usually stationary or moving very slowly, and another vehicle smashes into it from behind. These accidents are often due to negligence on the part of the rear driver, although there are rare situations where the front driver may be wholly or partially at fault. Factors that can increase the likelihood of rear-end collisions include:
- Texting or talking on a cellphone.
- Eating while driving.
- Looking away from the road or checking the rear-view mirror.
- Reduced visibility due to fog or heavy rain.
- Driving in stop-and-go traffic.
- Experiencing a medical emergency, such as a seizure or stroke.
- Traveling at inappropriately high speeds.
- Poor weather conditions cause slippery roads.
- Mechanical failure of brakes or tires.
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including prescriptions and OTC drugs can slow reaction times.
- Inattention by the front driver when reversing.
- Drivers engage in “brake checking” if a vehicle is following too closely.
Are There Ways to Prevent a Rear-end Accident?
The vast majority of rear-end collisions could have been avoided if the rear driver had exercised more caution in operating their vehicle. In fact, tailgating is one of the top preventable causes of rear-end accidents. Tailgating is when a driver fails to leave a safe stopping distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them. Because it reduces the time a driver has to react to anything that happens with the car in front of them, like a sudden stop, it significantly increases the likelihood of a rear-end crash.
The National Safety Council (NSC), AAA, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), among others, recommend using the three-second rule to maintain a safe distance between vehicles. To use the three-second rule to determine whether you are following at an appropriate distance, follow these steps:
- Note when the vehicle you are following passes a stationary object like a telephone pole or fence post.
- Count the number of seconds until your car passes the same point.
- If less than three seconds have elapsed, you should slow down and give them more room.
An even larger gap between vehicles is recommended when there are poor road conditions, visibility issues, or if you know it may take a long time to stop safely, such as if you are towing a heavy trailer.
What Injuries Can Victims Experience?
Since the impact from a rear-end collision comes from a direction outside the field of view of the driver and passengers, it typically comes as a complete surprise. Because victims have no opportunity to brace themselves, they may experience more severe injuries than in some other crashes. Victims are thrown violently forward from the impact, and their heads may strike the steering wheel or the dashboard. If headrests are not in the proper positions, they may even do more harm than good as the head and neck area of the crash victim hits them on the rebound.
Injuries that are typically seen in rear-end crashes include:
- Back injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Spinal injuries, potentially causing paralysis
- Head trauma and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Bruises and lacerations
- Skull, facial, and eye injuries
- Fractures and broken bones
- Damage to internal organs
Some older vehicles have gas tanks near the rear that have been known to combust or explode during rear-end accidents, causing severe burns and fatalities. Many of these cars have been recalled or fixed, but there may still be vehicles on the road that are more likely to start on fire when involved in a severe rear-end collision. If you’ve suffered any injuries in a rear-end crash, you deserve to have a lawyer who will fight to recover a fair settlement for the losses you’ve endured. Kurzman Law Group, P.A. has the experience necessary to negotiate successfully with insurance companies. Our lawyers are also prepared to take your case to court, if needed, to get you full compensation.
Will Your PIP Insurance Cover Your Rear-end Accident Injuries?
Florida is a no-fault state for car accidents, meaning that victims will file claims with their own insurance companies for their damages. This is in contrast to an at-fault state, where victims file their claims with the liable party’s insurance. Due to the no-fault system, every driver in Florida is required to carry a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
If you’ve been hurt in a rear-end collision as a driver or passenger, you can use your PIP coverage to pay for medical expenses and recoup some of the wages you lost during your recovery period, up to your coverage limits. While PIP coverage can sometimes simplify the claims process, it can also have some downsides. For instance, most policies require you to get a medical evaluation within 14 days of your accident to qualify for benefits. If you do not realize you have an injury until later, you may miss this deadline. PIP benefits also do not cover property damage, pain and suffering, or losses caused by long-term disability due to your rear-end accident injuries.
If you’ve experienced catastrophic injuries in an auto accident, your PIP insurance coverage will certainly not cover all your medical expenses and other damages. In these cases, having an experienced rear-end collision attorney on your side can be vital to recovering your financial stability. They can help you explore your legal options for compensation and can file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent parties responsible for your losses.
What Damages Might You be Eligible to Recover?
Even a low-speed rear-end collision can cause injuries that can significantly disrupt your life. When seeking a settlement for your claim, it is crucial to recover full compensation for all the various losses you have suffered due to your accident. Typically, personal injury damages are split into three main categories:
- Economic damages: These are financial losses caused by your accident, including any anticipated future damages. Examples can include medical bills, lost wages, therapy costs, the loss of earning capacity if you can no longer work, and replacement or repair of property damage.
- Non-economic damages: Injuries can harm you in ways that are not financial. While these damages may be less concrete or obvious than economic losses, they can take a toll on victims and their families. To calculate fair compensation for these damages, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and the loss of your quality of life, the court will consider the severity of your injuries and how long they are expected to affect you.
- Punitive damages: Civil court cases usually focus on making victims whole again instead of punishing offenders for their actions. However, in rare cases where the defendant’s behavior was particularly egregious or malicious, the court may choose to award the plaintiff punitive damages. These damages are meant to deter others who might consider the same actions.
Why Hire a Rear-end Collision Lawyer?
While a rear-end collision case may seem very straightforward, insurance companies are notorious for denying claims, accusing victims of negligence to reduce the amount of their settlement, or refusing to offer a settlement amount that is adequate to cover the victim’s losses. An experienced car accident lawyer from Kurzman Law Group, P.A. can provide you with knowledgeable legal help. We will investigate your accident, promptly file all required documents, and negotiate with the insurance companies to recover damages for you. We work on a contingency basis, so you will owe nothing unless we secure a settlement for your rear-end collision claim. Contact our Fort Lauderdale law firm at 954-466-3220 to schedule your free consultation today.