If someone caused your rear-end car accident, you might think it won’t be difficult to prove liability. Unfortunately, this type of case isn’t always cut and dry. The North Carolina car accident attorneys at DeMayo Law Offices, LLP understand how to navigate the legal process to ensure our clients receive the maximum compensation available. We’ll fight to protect your rights and seek justice against the at-fault driver and their insurance company.
Rear-end collisions are common, and while some of them are minor, many of them cause severe injuries, fatalities, and vehicle damage. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, 7.2 percent of fatal U.S. crashes in 2017 resulted from one driver colliding with the back of another person’s car.
If you were injured in a rear-end collision caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation from an insurance claim or lawsuit. Our attorneys have over 150 years of combined legal experience, and we leverage our team’s knowledge and our extensive resources to secure high-value settlements and verdicts, again and again.
To find out more about how we can help, call DeMayo Law Offices, LLP at (877) 333-1000 for a free consultation.
Why Do Rear-End Collisions Occur?
Tailgating is one of the most common causes of rear-end car crashes in the United States. If there isn’t enough space between two vehicles, the person who’s tailgating won’t have enough time to stop if the person ahead stops or slows down suddenly. The best way to avoid this situation is by following the three-second rule.
This rule provides a safe following distance behind another car. To implement it, choose a stationary object, such as a telephone pole, and count how many seconds it takes for you to pass it after the vehicle in front of you does. It should take at least three seconds. Any shorter and you’re too close to them. If there are hazardous road conditions or adverse weather, you should use five seconds or more for the following distance.
Other common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Road rage
- Distracted driving, such as texting
- Traffic congestion
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
- Impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Slow-moving vehicles
If you end up encountering someone who’s tailgating, you should immediately take steps to decrease the risk of a crash. Stay calm, alert, and respectful. Don’t do or say anything that could aggravate the other driver and make the situation more dangerous. Following are steps you should take to stay safe:
- Merge into the slow lane so they can pass
- Don’t brake-check
- If you’re in the far left lane and can’t move over, try exiting the road
- Avoid acts of road rage against the other driver
- Speed up so there’s more distance between your vehicles if you can still travel safely and at the speed limit
How to Handle the Aftermath of a Rear-End Collision
When you get into a car accident, you may feel shocked and unsure of what to do next. The steps you take immediately after a crash could affect whether you receive financial compensation from the at-fault party or end up with a denied insurance claim. To avoid any mishaps and ensure you’re able to recover from your injuries, follow the steps below.
Step 1: Call the police to report the accident. Once an officer arrives, they will investigate the cause and write a traffic crash report. They will let you know when it’s okay to leave.
Step 2: Speak to witnesses and ask what they saw. Write down their names and phone numbers so they can confirm your account of events.
Step 3: Take photos of all relevant evidence at the accident scene.
Step 4: Write down the other motorist’s name, contact information, and auto insurance details.
Step 5: Seek medical attention immediately after leaving the crash site. If you can’t drive yourself to the medical center, call for an ambulance, or ask a friend to take you. The doctor will diagnose your injury and likely refer you for further treatment with other providers. Listen to their orders and continue attending appointments until you recover or reach maximum medical improvement.
Step 6: Bring your car to a repair shop for an estimate. Find out how much it will cost to fix to determine how much the insurance company should pay.
Step 7: Maintain records of every document related to the accident and your injury. That includes medical bills, prescriptions, insurance company letters, operative reports, and imaging results.
Step 8: Hire a North Carolina rear-end collision lawyer to assist you with your case.
Creating a successful claim or lawsuit is complicated. If you don’t seek legal representation, you’ll probably end up with much less money than you would if you work with an experienced lawyer. When you hire DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we’ll thoroughly investigate the accident and locate sufficient evidence to prove fault and the extent of injuries you sustained.
Some of the necessary evidence we’ll need includes:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Traffic crash report
- Copies of your medical records
- Vehicle repair estimates
- Video security footage
- Accident scene photos
- Lost wage documents from the inability to work
We know all the crucial information insurance companies will want to review when they’re determining a fair settlement amount in an insurance claim. We’ll provide convincing evidence of the harm you suffered and why someone else should be held liable for it. We’ll also aggressively negotiate for a full and fair settlement to cover your losses.
Injuries Typically Caused by Rear-End Collisions
Many car accidents involving rear impacts happen while the person behind is driving above the speed limit and tailgating. Due to the force, the driver and passengers in the car ahead could end up with life-threatening injuries. The most common injuries include:
- Crush injuries
- Loss of limb
- Ejection injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Broken bones
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injury
Some injuries lead to physical or mental impairments. Others result in permanent disability. Severe bodily harm could require lifelong medical treatment to manage pain and improve symptoms. Some people have injuries that prevent them from returning to work or completing routine tasks. They might need to hire a home health nurse or ask family members to help. Rear-end collisions can result in expensive bills and create a financial strain for the victim and their family.
How to Recover Compensation in an Insurance Claim
People who get hurt in car accidents typically file an insurance claim first to seek a settlement that covers their expenses. North Carolina follows a fault system that automatically holds the at-fault driver financially responsible for the resulting injuries and damage. Compensation can come from their liability auto insurance, which includes coverage for the injured victim’s damages.
Damages are the total losses suffered after an accident or injury. There are two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are expenses, while non-economic damages are intangible losses.
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Out of pocket costs
- Mental anguish
- Permanent disability
- Vehicle repair or replacement expense
Despite state laws that require all drivers to carry auto insurance with liability coverage, some let their policies lapse or don’t purchase insurance at all. If you discover the person who caused your rear-end collision doesn’t have insurance, you can file a claim with your own auto insurance carrier.
Another mandatory coverage in North Carolina is UM. It stands for uninsured motorist, which covers injured victims of car crashes when the at-fault driver doesn’t hold liability coverage. When you file a UM claim, you could seek the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Medical bills
- Lost wages and earning capacity
- Cost of car repair or replacement
You could also choose to file a lawsuit against the other driver. Typically, accident victims will sue for compensation when there isn’t available insurance, or the coverage doesn’t compensate them for all of their damages. You must comply with the statute of limitations, which is a strict deadline. The statute of limitations in North Carolina is three years. That means you only have three years from the accident date to file your lawsuit.
Besides pursuing economic and non-economic damages, you can also seek punitive damages. Punitive damages aren’t a form of compensation for an accident victim’s expenses and suffering. Instead, they serve to punish the individual that caused the crash and aim to deter similar behavior in the future. It’s a rare financial award juries only provide in situations where acts of malice, fraud, or willful or wanton conduct occurred. You must have clear and convincing evidence of the at-fault party’s actions.
Speak to a Dedicated Lawyer Today
At DeMayo Law Offices, LLP, we understand the stress of pursuing compensation after a rear-end collision. You’re feeling overwhelmed with the recovery process, expensive medical bills, and the inability to take care of your family. We’ll relieve your burden and handle every legal aspect of your case. Your only job will be to focus on healing your injuries.
Our North Carolina rear-end collision lawyers are happy to meet with prospective clients for a free consultation. There’s no risk in speaking with us about your accident and determining the best legal options to cover your damages. We also take cases on contingency, which means you don’t have to pay upfront fees or costs. We don’t get paid unless you get paid.
If you sustained injuries in a rear-end collision in North Carolina and need help with your case, contact DeMayo Law Offices, LLP at (877) 333-1000. We’ll start working on your case and get you on the road to recovery.
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