Rear-end accidents are more serious than you think
There are a number of factors that can result in a rear-end accident. And in many cases, the cause can greatly determine the severity of the crash. Rear-end accidents are often caused by:
- Distracted driving: Texting, changing the radio station or programming a GPS are common examples of distracted driving. Motorists who take their eyes off the road for even a few seconds may not react in time to avoid a crash when traffic comes to a stop.
- Impaired driving: Drunk driving, drugged driving and drowsy driving can greatly impair a motorist’s judgment and ability to avoid obstacles in the road. Further, drivers who fall asleep at the wheel may not make any attempt to stop, resulting in a rear-end collision at high impact.
- Inclement weather: Winter conditions are the leading culprit when it comes to accidents caused by inclement weather. Snow or icy roads can make it difficult to stop, especially if a motorist is driving above a speed that is reasonable.
- Speeding: Drivers who travel over the speed limit may not be distracted or impaired but can still be a liability to others sharing the road. Excessive speeding can make it difficult to stop when traffic unexpectedly comes to a stop. In many cases, a speeding driver may apply his or her brakes, but will end up skidding into another vehicle.
The injuries sustained in rear-end collisions can be minor to severe or life-threatening. They often include:
- Whiplash: The most common injury sustained in a rear-end accident is whiplash, which occurs when the crash victim’s head thrusts forward and abruptly whips back. This usually causes damage to the muscles, nerves and ligaments in the neck. A crash victim suffering whiplash may not experience any immediate symptoms, but failure to seek medical treatment could result in prolonged, and even permanent, complications.
- Broken bones: A rear-end accident at high impact can result in broken bones, especially around the ribs.
- Head injuries: Crash victims who are rear-ended at a high impact can suffer from a concussion. This often involves loss of memory, severe headaches, confusion, dizziness and other prolonged complications.
- Paralysis: In extreme cases, the impact from a rear-end accident can be so severe to the victim’s spine, that it can result in paralysis.
- Fatality: Rear-end collisions at extremely high speeds can be fatal. If a loved one was killed in a rear-end accident, you may have a wrongful death claim.
Securing your claim after a rear-end accident
After a rear-end accident, you should always take the appropriate steps to protect your own interests.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver.
- Take photos of the crash scene.
- Speak to witnesses.
- Always contact the police so they can examine the crash scene and piece together a detailed police report.
Even if you don’t experience any immediate signs of an injury, your next step should be to seek medical attention. Injuries sustained from low-impact rear-end accidents can take hours or days to manifest. Undergoing a thorough medical evaluation can make a dramatic difference when it comes to receiving compensation for your injuries.
How South Dakota’s legal system works
South Dakota is an “at-fault” state, which means that you must prove that someone else’s negligence caused your accident. In cases where you and the other driver share fault for the accident, you can still recover if you are slightly at fault, but not more than slightly. Typically, in rear-end accidents, the driver of the rear vehicle is found at fault, but circumstances can vary between accidents.
If your rear-end accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you should not attempt to handle your claim alone. Insurance companies, including your own, often only care about keeping costs low and maximizing profit margins. That’s why they might try to offer you a small settlement or no money at all after your rear-end accident.
That’s not right. That’s why you need our experienced car accident attorneys on your side. They can gather evidence crucial to your claim and fight for your compensation. Contact Northern Plains Justice, LLP, today for a free consultation. You can also call our Sioux Falls office at 605-306-4100.