Staten Island Rear-End Car Accident Lawyer
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common car accidents and are most often seen in parking lots and at intersections. Because many of these accidents occur at low speeds, some people wrongly assume that they are not very serious; that could not be further from the truth.
At The O’Connor Law Firm, we have met with many people who were injured in rear-end crashes. Oftentimes, they suffer serious injuries and have no way of returning to work. Their financial losses total in the thousands, and they do not know how to get compensation so they can continue to pay their bills.
Fortunately, our Staten Island rear-ends car accident lawyer can meet for a free case review to explore your legal options, including bringing a claim for compensation.
Causes of Staten Island Rear-End Car Accidents
With a rear-end collision, the front of one car smashes into the bumper of the car in front of it. Either party could be to blame for this accident. In our experience, the most typical cause of this crash includes:
- Tailgating. Aggressive drivers follow too closely on the road and the highway. They can easily slam into the car they are following because they have given themselves no cushion.
- Sudden braking. Sometimes the car in front is to blame. For example, the driver might hit the brakes for no good reason, causing a motorist behind to slam into them.
- Distraction. A motorist who is on a cell phone or distracted with pets or small children won’t see that the car up ahead has hit the brakes. Consequently, they can’t brake in time themselves.
- Intoxication. Alcohol and drugs impair a driver’s vision or delay their reflexes. A drunk driver won’t be able to slow down in time.
- Fatigue. A tired driver could fall asleep and hit a vehicle or otherwise be unable to brake in time because they are too drowsy.
- Brake failure. Sometimes a vehicle defect contributes to a crash. For example, the brake pads might be defective, impairing the ability of the driver to stop the vehicle.
- Failure to yield. A motorist might cut off someone and be so close that they cause a crash.
Rear-End Car Accident Injuries
Someone involved in even a low-speed rear-end accident could suffer serious injuries requiring extensive medical care. We cannot emphasize enough that all people involved should go directly to the hospital after meeting with the police at the accident scene.
A rear-end crash can cause many of the same injuries as any other wreck. But we also tend to see some common injuries with this type of crash:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Facial fracture
- Chest contusion
- Fractured forearms or wrists
- Spinal cord injuries
- Back injury
- Pinched nerve
At a low speed, even a slight “jolt” can damage nerves, soft tissue, and muscles. Some people claim to feel perfectly fine following a rear-end collision but over time they experience pain, stiffness, or immobility. Speak with a doctor about how you are feeling.
Assigning Liability for a Rear End Car Accident
One misconception is that the car behind is always to blame because they hit the car in front of it. This is often true, but it isn’t a clear-cut rule. In fact, no lawyer would ever explain the law this way.
Instead, New York assigns liability by looking at fault. The key question is, “Who is at fault for this collision?” It really depends on the facts of the case.
If a driver was tailgating or distracted, for example, they could be to blame, but a motorist who hits the brakes for no apparent reason and causes a car to crash into them could also be to blame. Our Staten Island rear-end car accident lawyer needs to carefully analyze the facts.
Key evidence for determining liability includes:
- Witness testimony. We will want to hear what you have to say as well as any passengers in either vehicle.
- Physical evidence. The way the cars met can sometimes yield clues about how fast each car was going at the time.
- Skid marks. These can show whether one car took defensive action and tried to avoid the crash.
- Event data recorder. Some cars have a “black box” that provides details about the vehicle’s functioning moments before a crash, including speed and direction.
- Dashboard video. Some cars have cameras that record for insurance purposes. This video can help explain the accident.
Meet with a Staten Island rear-end car accident lawyer today to carefully review all available evidence. We can help you understand the chances of obtaining compensation.
Damages for a Rear-End Collision
Our clients often qualify for the full variety of damages following a car accident, such as:
- Medical expenses, including future medical care for permanent disabilities
- Lost wages, where serious injuries keep you out of work
- Pain and suffering, for the physical consequences of your injury
- Emotional distress or mental anguish, for the emotional pain you endure
- Property damage to fix your car and other damaged items
A common question we receive is, “What is the average settlement for a rear-end collision?” This is a hard question to answer because of all the variables at play. Someone who has suffered a cervical fracture and facial disfigurement could receive much more in compensation than someone with a minor case of whiplash.
Our legal team will fully review your expenses — medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, prescription drug receipts, car repair estimates, etc. We also want to understand your physical and emotional limitations to properly evaluate your claim.
Comparative Fault & Rear End Crashes
Sometimes both drivers are to blame for this accident, at least a little bit. Consider this common example: Driver B is tailgating Driver A down Hylan Boulevard. Because Driver A is annoyed, she pumps the brakes, and the two vehicles collide.
In this example, both have been driving dangerously. Driver B should not be tailgating. Instead, he should provide for at least two seconds of space between the cars. But at the same time, Driver A should never just pump the brakes to try and “teach” a driver “a lesson.”
Under New York law, both drivers could bear a portion of fault for the crash. Both could sue for compensation to cover their injuries. For example, a jury might find that Driver A is 40% responsible for the crash and Driver B is 60% responsible. If Driver A suffered $120,000 in damages, she would receive 60% of this amount, or $72,000.
Comparative fault can significantly reduce the amount of compensation a person takes home. For that reason, we encourage everyone to meet with an attorney to begin building a case.
Rear End Car Accidents & New York Insurance
New York motorists must carry both liability and no-fault insurance, and both of these policies could come into play with a rear-end collision:
No-fault insurance: No-fault benefits are required in New York, and anyone registering a vehicle must carry a policy with a minimum $50,000 limit. You can use these benefits to pay for economic losses like medical care, regardless of fault. These benefits are helpful because you might have been fully or partially to blame for the collision, and no-fault insurance can cover necessary expenses.
Liability coverage: Your liability coverage will come into play if you share fault for the accident. The occupants of the vehicle you struck could sue to recover damages for medical care, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the other driver is to blame, you can make a claim on their liability policy. New York law requires motorists to obtain a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury coverage.
Unfortunately, too many motorists are uninsured on Staten Island roads, and it isn’t unusual to be struck by someone without any liability coverage. Fortunately, you should have uninsured motorist coverage which can pay the compensation provided you were not at fault for the wreck.
Contact a Staten Island Rear End Car Accident Lawyer to Review Your Case
The O’Connor Law Firm has represented injured motorists for decades and has the experience you need to obtain compensation. Call today to schedule a free case review to learn more about your legal rights and the compensation you may be entitled to.