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Rear End Car Accident Settlement

Rear-end car accidents are among the most common types of collisions on Texas roads, like everywhere else. Perhaps surprisingly, the Texas Department of Transportation does not compile statistics or keep records regarding the number of rear-end accidents that occur every year.

Nationally, however, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report there are approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions every year.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has made recommendations that all passenger vehicles be equipped with collision-avoidance systems within the next few years, which they believe could potentially reduce that number by as much as 80 percent.

How Do I Estimate My Potential Settlement in a Rear-End Car Accident?

Your rear-end accident settlement will depend on several very important factors, which vary case to case.

Those factors include how clear it is that someone else is at fault, how badly you were injured, and how much money is available to recover from insurance companies or the parties that caused the rear-end accident:

  1. Is someone else clearly at fault? You have the burden to prove the rear-end accident was the fault of someone else, which would make them legally responsible to pay for your rear-end car accident settlement. Most people think that just because they were rear-ended, the other person is at fault. But that is not necessarily true in Texas. You have to prove the other driver did something careless, such as speed, drive too closely, or fail to pay attention. In rear-end accidents that result in a pile-up, proving who started the chain reaction is critical. Sometimes, the insurance companies will dispute liability, leaving you to have to investigate the crash and prove how it happened.
  2. How badly were you injured? Serious injuries usually result in serious harm and losses, which usually result in a larger average settlement for a rear-end car accident. This is because the settlement amount is all about compensating you for your harm and losses. So, if your harms and losses from the rear-end car accident are large, you stand to recover a larger settlement than others. Of course, sometimes even minor injuries can result in large losses. As an extreme example, a professional athlete who is hurt and cannot perform might have major financial losses, which could cause an abnormally large settlement.
  3. How deep are the pockets you can recover from? A major limiting factor that brings down the average settlement for rear-end car accident settlements is insufficient insurance. In Texas, many drivers carry the minimum insurance required by law, which is $30,000 to pay for all the damage done. So, if you were seriously injured, but the driver who caused the wreck has insufficient insurance, your accident might settle for less.

Fully developing these three factors is critical in any personal injury case. A good personal injury lawyer can help you put together the best strategy regardless of how these factors weigh, but it is important to build that strategy as soon as possible after an accident.

There are many pitfalls on the road to maximizing your car accident settlement, and the sooner you avoid them, the better off you will be.

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How Are Rear-End Car Accident Settlements Calculated in Austin, TX?

As is the case with virtually any auto accident settlement, the size of settlements tend to vary widely, from very low to very high. Low settlements typically come from cases where liability is disputed between the parties, which is not that common in rear-end collisions.

If your injuries are very minor, or if you were not injured at all, your financial losses and quality of life losses are also probably very minor, and your rear-end accident settlement will probably be on the lower end of the spectrum. Also, even if your injuries are severe, but there are limited resources to recover from, your settlement could be lower than you want or deserve.

In those situations, a personal injury lawyer can help you negotiate your medical bills so that more of the settlement goes directly to you. Or, the lawyer might be able to dig deep and find some other sources of recovery.

At the end of the day, rear-end car accident settlements are usually calculated later in the case once you have taken the time to really learn whether your life will be permanently different because of the car accident.

You should work with your personal injury lawyer to put a number to the losses that come with that permanent injury, such as financial losses (like medical bills and lost earnings) and quality of life losses (like pain and physical impairment).

Oftentimes, your lawyer can help determine the difference in your lifetime earnings and medical costs because of the crash, or help an insurance company or jury understand what amount of money should be paid to offset the decrease in your quality of life. No two cases are the same, and each case requires thoughtful analysis before a settlement amount is discussed.

How Long Do Rear-End Car Accident Settlements Take in Austin, TX?

Most rear-end accident settlements are resolved in a matter of months. However, it’s impossible to give a precise estimate of how long a settlement will take. It depends on the parties involved, the amount of compensation at stake, and the circumstances that caused your accident.

More specifically, here are a few factors that can affect how long your case takes.

  • The number of parties involved in the accident. A multiple-vehicle pileup will typically take much longer to settle than an accident between just two vehicles. This is due to the volume of individuals, insurance policies, and legal representatives involved in these cases. Determining who is liable for what, what type of insurance coverage is available, and what level of compensation is needed is much more complex in these cases and can significantly extend the length of time until the case is resolved.
  • The severity of your injuries. Severe injury cases usually take longer to resolve. This is for two reasons: one, because it may take longer for the full extent of your injuries to be revealed, and two, because the liable parties will typically fight harder to lower the settlement value since these cases typically require a much higher level of compensation.
  • The cooperativeness of involved parties. The responsiveness and cooperativeness of other parties involved in your case, like other drivers, insurance representatives, lawyers, and even witnesses, will impact your case’s timeline.
  • The litigation process and jury trial. Cases that must go to trial typically take much longer to resolve than those that are settled outside of court.

Why Are There So Many Rear-End Collisions?

Looking back to the bygone days of driver’s ed classes, when you were learning to drive, among the most important and basic instructions you received were the admonitions to:

  • Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle directly in front of you and;
  • Always maintain complete control of your vehicle.

It’s a simple fact that anyone who took those instructions seriously and continues to abide by them has probably never rear-ended anyone. Of course, if you ever drive in the largest cities in Texas, especially during rush hours, you have probably seen numerous drivers who fail to heed this basic advice.

People who ignore those basic rules are the most common cause of rear-end accidents. With everyone driving in a hurry, and getting distracted by things like cell phones or passengers in their cars, the roads are more dangerous than ever.

The fact is, rear-end car accidents can be very serious, even when they happen at slow speeds. That is because a rear-end accident at 30 miles per hour exerts 1.6 tons of force on a 160-pound person wearing a seatbelt. Without a seatbelt, the amount of force exerted is equal to 12 tons.

Many injuries can come from a rear-end collision. Among the most common injuries include the following:

  • Whiplash – this is what happens when your head and neck unexpectedly jerk back and forth very quickly. The effects of whiplash can range from mild to severe and the pain can be chronic, even requiring surgery.
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions – These can be mild or severe, but more studies are showing that the effects of concussions accumulate over time and be very dangerous.
  • Traumatic brain injury – These have the potential to be life-changing and disabling if the impact is great enough.
  • Shoulder injuries – If your hands are on the steering wheel, or get violently thrown back by airbags, your shoulders can sustain ligament or cartilage damage that requires surgery.

One aspect of rear-end car accidents that makes them so potentially disastrous is that, unless you are staring at your rear-view or side mirrors, you will not know what is about to happen, which means you won’t be able to brace yourself or prepare for the impact of the airbag that is designed to protect you.

Even if you brace yourself, the forces even in small rear-end collisions are enough to do real damage.

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Who Should Hire a Rear-End Car Accident Attorney?

If you have never hired a lawyer to help you before, you may be wondering what a lawyer will do for you and whether you even need them. You might even wonder whether it is worth your time to talk to a lawyer for a free consultation, and what you should expect to gain by calling a personal injury lawyer.

You deserve to know what your rights and options are, and should take the time to get a clear education that will help you understand what choices you should make to maximize your recovery.

By having a strategy and sticking to that strategy, you can get a better-than-average settlement for your rear-end car accident.

Contact a Car Accident Law Firm in Austin, TX for a Free Consultation

During the consultation, you will be taught how the claims process works, and what choices you have for getting the medical care you need. You will also be taught what action needs to be taken immediately to preserve your rights and put yourself in the best position possible to negotiate a settlement with an insurance company.

Simply stated, if you were hurt in a rear-end car accident, you will benefit from a consultation with a personal injury lawyer at FVF.

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