I Was Rear-Ended. How Much Should I Settle For?

A rear-end collision is one of the most common accidents that can happen on the road. Victims of this type of crash may face extensive vehicle damage and serious injuries. If you have been rear-ended by another motorist in Tennessee, you could be eligible to recover compensation for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle, your medical expenses, and any wages lost because of an injury.

What does it mean to get rear-ended?

This is a collision between two vehicles going in the same direction where the front of one car strikes the rear of the other. Rear-end crashes are common in congested traffic or at intersections in Knoxville, but they sometimes occur in fast-moving highway traffic as well.

These accidents are often minor because they tend to happen at low speeds. There are, however, some situations where things can become dangerous, such as a multi-car pileup that features a chain reaction of numerous rear-end collisions.

The worst rear-end crashes can result in serious injury, including those to the neck. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that neck strains and sprains, otherwise known as whiplash, are the most commonly cited injuries in insurance claims in the United States. Rear-end collisions can also cause injuries to the face, lower body, and torso.

Who is usually at fault?

More often than not, the driver of the rear car is responsible for causing the collision. There are several ways in which a motorist might negligently rear-end another driver:

  • Driving in a distracted or inattentive manner;
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • Following a vehicle too closely or tailgating;
  • Driving too fast; and
  • Not exercising caution in bad road conditions.

Tennessee code requires motorists to exercise “due care to avoid colliding with any other motor vehicle.” Often, the rear vehicle has committed a clear violation, making the driver liable for damages.

If another party was also to blame for your accident, your claim can become complicated. The rear-end accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can help you determine all of the parties responsible for your rear-end collision.

What if I was partly at fault?

Tennessee uses a comparative negligence system to assign liability in personal injury or property damage cases such as rear-end collisions. This means a court can determine what percentage of fault corresponds to which driver. The more you were at fault, the less you can claim in damages.

While rear-end collisions tend to be the fault of the rear driver, there are situations where both parties share the liability. For example, if another driver rear-ended you but your tail lights were not functioning, it is likely that you were partly to blame for the accident. If a court determines you were 20% at fault, you are only eligible to collect 80% of your damages.

If you believe that you were partially to blame for your collision, contact us before speaking with another party. Admitting your fault to the other driver or to their insurance company may lessen the amount of damages you can recover.

How big will my settlement be?

This will depend on several factors. If the driver that rear-ended you was fully at fault, you are eligible to receive full compensation for your injuries, property damage, and lost wages. Depending on the severity of the accident and the length of your recovery, you may also be able to recover punitive damages or compensation for pain and suffering.

How can I get the largest settlement possible?

As with any personal injury case, your claim will have a better chance of earning full damages if it includes documentation of everything that happened in your accident. This is where a skilled lawyer can help. Our attorneys can collect evidence, such as:

  • Photos of the scene and the damage to your vehicle;
  • Statements and contact information from anyone who may have witnessed the accident and can corroborate your account;
  • An accurate crash report from law enforcement; and
  • Medical records of your treatment and medical expenses if you suffered whiplash or another injury.

What if the other driver’s insurance company offers me a settlement?

You should never accept any settlement offer until you have contacted an attorney. The other driver’s insurer will want to pay as little as possible and will likely offer far less than what you deserve. If you agree to a low settlement early on, you will lose the right to seek more compensation later.

The Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can help you recover a fair settlement.

Any kind of car accident is traumatic, especially if it results in an injury to your neck or back. Filing and negotiating an injury claim on top of that can add even more stress to your life.

While you recover from your rear-end accident, a Knoxville car accident attorney with the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC can work on getting you the compensation you deserve. Call 865-546-1111 to set up a free consultation.