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Rear-End Collision Lawyers: What to Do After an Accident

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

You may be driving on a nice day, listening to your favorite song or a good podcast, and come up to a red light where you slow down to a stop. Suddenly, your car jolts forward with a big crash, and your head swings forward from the alarming force. Your next thought: “I was rear-ended.”

Rear-end collisions often come out of nowhere. Whether you are the front or back driver on the receiving end of the collision, rear-end accidents can be frightening. These crashes can happen anywhere: a parking lot, interstate, four-way stop, or a busy intersection. Rear-end collisions can cause harm to your health, your car, and your finances. A seemingly simple rear-end collision accident can turn into a complicated case, fast.

If you have experienced a rear-end collision, an Indianapolis rear-end collision lawyer can be with you every step of the way to help navigate the claims process. Car accidents can be life-altering; having an experienced attorney by your side can ease the process and help you get the compensation you deserve.

What Is a Rear-End Collision?

A rear-end collision is a car accident that happens when a vehicle crashes into the vehicle in front of it. It is the most common type of car accident in Indiana and accounted for 24% of all state crashes in 2019.

Rear-End Accident Statistics

In 2019, Indiana experienced 51,950 rear-end collisions. Unfortunately, 85 of those crashes resulted in fatalities, and 7,799 victims had non-fatal injuries. Rear-end collisions also resulted in 44,066 accounts of property damage.

What Causes Most Rear-End Collisions?

This common form of car accidents is usually caused by:

Aggressive Driving

Rear-end collisions can be a result of a driver being unsafe behind the wheel. Tailgating is a primary reason for rear-end accidents. Aggressive driving also includes stopping suddenly, “road rage,” speeding, and improper passing.

Distracted Driving

One of the number one reasons for rear-end collisions is distracted driving. Distracted driving is anything that happens behind the wheel when the driver is not paying attention to the road. This can happen while eating, from cell phone use, and more.

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

In any driving situation, it is unsafe to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Reaction time and awareness slow, and the risk of a crash increases greatly.

Drowsy Driving

Driving while fatigued leads to slow reaction time, difficulty focusing, and lane drifting.

Inclement Weather

Heavy rain, snow, ice, and extreme wind can be hazardous environmental factors. Poor road conditions and obstructed views increase the odds of an accident.

Reckless Driving

Reckless driving can lead to accidents by not taking proper precautions on the road. Failure to yield and failure to use a turn signal when turning or merging lanes are examples of reckless driving.

Common Rear-End Collision Injuries

Rear-end collision injuries are a result of the force of the back car colliding with the one in front of it. In high-speed rear-end collisions, the front car may be stopped or slowed, impacting the severity of the accident. Injuries after car accidents are common, yet symptoms after rear-end collision may not show up right away. It’s important to see a doctor after a car accident, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms.

Neck, Back, and Spine Injuries

In rear-end collisions, victims often experience injuries to the neck, back, and spine due to the force on their bodies during impact. A neck injury, such as whiplash, is one of the more popular injuries associated with rear-end collisions. Whiplash is soft tissue damage to the neck; symptoms include:

  • Neck pain and stiffness
  • Tingling or numbness in your arms
  • Tenderness or pain in your neck, back, and shoulders
  • Increased pain when you move your neck

Head Trauma

If a victim’s head strikes the steering wheel, airbag, window, headrest, or flying debris, head trauma such as a concussion or traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur. Symptoms vary widely but can include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Sensitivity to sound and light

Cuts and Scrapes

Broken glass, loose objects, flying debris, or dashboard fragments may hit the driver and any passengers during a rear-end collision. While mild cuts and scrapes may not need significant treatment, severe lacerations could require stitches or result in infection.

Fractures or Broken Bones

Bone fractures and breaks—particularly in legs, arms, wrists, fingers, ankles, or ribs—are some of the most common injuries. They are usually painful and may take a long time to heal.

What to Do After a Rear-End Collision

A common first question is, “what should you do after being rear-ended?” First steps include:

How to Determine Fault in Indiana

Indiana has a tort liability system, also called a fault or at-fault system. This means insurance companies cover damages based on the amount the drivers were at fault. For example, if driver B hits driver A, but driver A also acted with negligence, insurance companies can say driver B had 60% fault and driver A had 40% fault.

I Got Rear-Ended, Should I Get a Lawyer?

In rear-end collisions, it is typical for the driver who hit the vehicle in front of them to be at fault. This is because drivers are supposed to be far enough behind the car in front of them to be able to avoid a collision.

There are some circumstances in which the driver of the front vehicle could be considered partially negligent for a rear-end collision. These situations may happen when the lead driver was:

  • Behaving aggressively or erratically
  • Failing to repair a broken brake light
  • Continuing to drive with a flat tire without pulling over or using hazard lights
  • Making a sudden turn without a direction signal
  • Pulling out in front of another driving without maintaining sufficient speed
  • Slamming on the brakes
  • Stopping the vehicle on the road
  • Cutting in front of another driver without providing enough time for the other driver to stop or slow down
  • Suddenly reversing

Rear-End Collision Compensation

Compensation relies on a variety of factors such as the amount of damage and injuries. There is no direct formula to know what your compensation may be. There are also differences between liability and collision coverage. It’s best to contact an experienced car accident attorney to assist in determining who is liable for fault, which can affect the amount of compensation you may receive.

Submitting the insurance claim is the first step to initiate the claims process. Since Indiana uses comparative fault laws, you can file a claim to either your insurance provider or the other driver’s insurance provider if they are more than half at fault. A claims adjuster will then contact you, examine evidence, determine fault, then settle the claim with compensation.

If you feel that the settlement is not reasonable, contact your attorney.

Contact an Indianapolis Rear-End Collision Lawyer

If you or a loved one have been involved in a rear-end collision, contact the Indianapolis rear-end collision lawyers at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Rear-end collision cases can get complicated quickly. We are here to support you through the process. The experienced car accident lawyers in Indianapolis to help you negotiate insurance claims and, if necessary, pursue a lawsuit. Contact us for your free case evaluation.

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Let WKW put our experience to work for you. Contact us for your free case evaluation.


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