Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident. If you were rear-ended in West Virginia, it is important to know what rights you have.
Sometimes a rear-end crash will result in little to no damage. As car accident lawyers, however, we have seen the devastating impact of rear-end collisions firsthand. Victims of these crashes may suffer serious injuries that permanently alter the course of their lives.
Colombo Law has helped countless victims of rear-end collisions pursue compensation for their losses. For a FREE case review, call (304) 599-4229 today.
The Dangers of Rear-End Collisions
A rear-end accident can cause significant injuries even at relatively low speeds. Drivers and passengers in the forward vehicle are highly likely to suffer whiplash injuries. The seriousness of whiplash is often overlooked; severe cases can lead to chronic pain and limited mobility in the neck, back, and shoulders, in addition to other symptoms.
Other potential injuries in a rear-end collision include:
- Head and brain injuries
- Facial injuries
- Bone fractures
- Damage to the discs in the neck and back
- Spinal cord injuries
Those involved in rear-end collisions should see a doctor as soon as possible. If you or someone you love suffered any injuries in a rear-end crash, you also owe it to yourself to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you will need to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, rear-end collisions account for nearly 7% of fatal motor vehicle accidents. If your loved one tragically died in a rear-end crash, it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible. You and your family may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Who Is Most Often at Fault for a Rear-End Collision?
The rear driver is typically found to be at fault for the crash. Motorists are required to keep a safe distance from other vehicles (see West Virginia Code § 17C-7-10). When a driver fails in this duty and an accident ensues, he or she can be held liable for damages.
Common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving
- Excess speed
- Failure to obey traffic signals and signs
- Aggressive driving
- Driving under the influence
- Failure to adjust to poor visibility, adverse weather, etc.
However, just because the driver in the rear is generally at fault for rear-end collisions does not mean this is automatically true in all circumstances. There are situations where the driver in front may be at fault for the accident. These include:
- Brake checks
- Sudden stops
- Abruptly changing lanes without signaling
- Trying to block the driver in back from passing
- Failure to maintain the vehicle; tire blowouts, broken tail lights, and other mechanical issues increase the risk of an accident
- Backing into a trailing vehicle
Liability for rear-end collisions can be complicated. An experienced lawyer will review the facts of the case and collect evidence to determine who is responsible for the crash.
What If I Am Partly at Fault?
Sometimes both drivers share responsibility for a crash. If you are partly at fault—whether you are the driver in front or in back—it is important to understand West Virginia’s comparative fault statute.
“Any fault chargeable to the plaintiff shall not bar recovery by the plaintiff unless the plaintiff’s fault is greater than the combined fault of all other persons responsible for the total amount of damages, if any, to be awarded. If the plaintiff’s fault is less than the combined fault of all other persons, the plaintiff’s recovery shall be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault.”– WV Code § 55-7-13(c)
In other words, you may still be entitled to compensation for injuries in a rear-end collision as long as your share of fault does not exceed that of the other defendant(s). The recoverable damages are then reduced based on your proportion of fault for the accident.
Compensation for Rear-End Collisions
Along with determining who is at fault for the accident, your lawyer will investigate to determine the value of your claim. You may be entitled to recovery of the following damages:
- The cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle
- Current and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
The compensation you are due depends on the specific facts of your case. Generally, the more serious your injuries, the more damages you will incur. With this in mind, more compensation tends to be at stake in claims involving high-speed crashes and rear-end collisions with larger vehicles (being hit by a semi-truck, for example).
Multiple forms of evidence may be required to support your case. A knowledgeable attorney will review your medical records, as well as any bills, receipts, and other documents that establish the costs associated with your injuries. Your lawyer will also consult with your doctors and other experts to determine the full impact the rear-end collision has had on your life.
Speak to an Accident Lawyer Today
Colombo Law has extensive experience handling all types of motor vehicle accidents. We understand that not all rear-end collisions are simple “fender benders”; they can leave victims with severe injuries and substantial damages. If you and your family are facing this situation, our lawyers can seek maximum compensation on your behalf.
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Whether you were hit by a car, a truck, or any other type of vehicle, Colombo Law can help. Our team prepares every case as though it will go to trial, enabling us to negotiate higher settlements and, if needed, represent our clients in court effectively.
Contact Colombo Law for a FREE case review. Our lawyers serve clients injured in rear-end collisions throughout West Virginia from our office in Morgantown.