There is a good chance you have seen or been in at least one rear-end crash in your life. Which is not surprising as there were almost 2 million rear-end crashes in 2014 alone, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While many rear-end collisions end with only minor property damage, they also cause severe or fatal injuries. For help recovering compensation after an accident, call a Fort Lauderdale rear-end collision accident and injury lawyer today.
The attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. have over 150 years of experience representing injured Floridians and they would like to do the same for you. Call today: 954-524-2820.
In most cases, a rear-end collision is the result of negligent behavior. Some of the most common types of negligence that lead to rear-end crashes include:
Most people think of “fender benders” as a minor type of car accident. However, these crashes can result in serious injuries. According to the NHTSA, approximately 522,000 people were injured in rear-end collisions in 2014. One of the most common rear-end collision injuries is whiplash.
Whiplash occurs when the head jerks forward and backward and strains the muscles in the neck, shoulder, and back.
Those suffering from whiplash may experience stiffness in the neck, neck pain and headaches. With pain medication, therapy and other forms of treatment, whiplash should go away in a few months. However, some accident victims will develop chronic neck pain and other complications.
Other common injuries in rear-end collisions include:
Because Florida is a no-fault state, all drivers must have $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. PIP pays for 80 percent of your medical bills and 60 percent of your lost wages, regardless of fault.
Unfortunately, $10,000 barely makes a dent in some accident victims’ expenses. If your medical expenses exceed $10,000 or if you sustained a “permanent injury,” you may be eligible to step outside the no-fault system and file against the other driver.
Per Florida Statute § 627.737(2), permanent injuries include any of the following:
In many rear-end collisions, the rear driver is liable for following too closely behind the front driver. However, this is not always the case. Front drivers can be liable if their negligent actions led to the accident.
In some cases, rear-end collisions are the result of faulty brakes, bad weather, or road conditions. This does not mean that you are unable to recover compensation; it just means the liable party might be a parts manufacturer, mechanic, or government entity.
For help determining a liable party and proving negligence, call a Fort Lauderdale rear-end collision attorney.
As we discussed above, if you are able to prove you sustained a serious injury, you can file a lawsuit against the other driver. Car accident lawsuits are based on proving liability. If you can prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident, you can hold him or her liable.
To establish liability, you must be able to prove negligence by establishing the following:
All drivers have a duty to others on the road to exercise reasonable caution when operating their vehicles.
Breach of Duty
The other driver must have acted negligently, breaching this duty. Speeding, following too closely and failure to follow traffic laws are all forms of negligence. You can prove negligence with police reports, eyewitness and expert testimony, photos and other documentation.
You must be able to prove that you would not have suffered your injuries but for the negligence of the other driver.
You must prove that you suffered actual damages (e.g., medical bills, lost wages, etc.) from the accident.
As we discussed above, you must first turn to your PIP benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages. However, if you are able to file a lawsuit, you can recover much more:
A lawsuit will cover all your medical bills, not just 80 percent. Medical expenses may include surgery costs, hospital stays, treatment costs and rehabilitation.
You can use your medical bills to prove these damages.
Note: Make sure your settlement accounts for your past medical bills as well as any treatment your doctor thinks you will need in the future.
Lost Wages and Loss in Earning Capacity
When an accident victim is recovering from their injuries, they may not be able to go to work for months after the accident. Accident victims who do eventually return to work may experience a loss in earning capacity as a result of the accident. You can use past pay stubs and expert testimony to help value these damages.
Pain and Suffering
Not all damages suffered are economic. The victim’s pain and suffering is an example of noneconomic damages recoverable in a lawsuit.
Pain and suffering is much harder to calculate, but you can use a pain journal, testimony from experts as well as your family members, and medical records to establish your suffering.
Valuing both economic and noneconomic damages can be a challenge, but the attorneys at Farmer, Jaffe, Weissing, Edwards, Fistos & Lehrman, P.L. have decades of experience doing just that.
The firm’s staff is here to help assess the value of your damages and get you the financial support you deserve.
For more information on how you can recover compensation for your accident, please call 954-524-2820 for a free consultation.