At first glance, a rear-end collision in Tennessee appears straightforward: One vehicle hits another vehicle from behind and causes property damages. A closer look shows that rear-end collisions can also cause serious—if not fatal—injuries when a large-scale vehicle hits the back of a passenger car or motorcycle or when the vehicles are traveling at high speeds.
If you were in a rear-end collision that has left you with damages and overwhelming legal complications, contact the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, today. We have earned a reputation for helping accident victims pursue the maximum compensation for lost wages, medical treatment, pain and suffering, and other damages. Call us at 865-546-1111 to set up a free, no-obligation legal consultation with a rear-end collision accident lawyer in Johnson City.
Rear-End Collisions Are Becoming More Common on U.S. Roads.
From 1988 to 2014, the number of reported injuries from rear-end crashes increased from 24.9 to 28.7 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the same time period, the percentage of fatal rear-end accidents rose from 4.6 to 5.2 percent.
Moreover, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says that almost half of all two-vehicle crashes between 2012 and 2014 were rear-end crashes, killing over 1,700 people each year.
Rear-end collisions are increasingly common and have the potential to cause serious, even life-threatening injuries. Our attorneys can help you determine who caused your rear-end crash. Then, we can help you hold them responsible for your injuries.
Is the Rear Driver Automatically at Fault in a Rear-End Collision?
Not in all cases. In our years of handling car accident cases, our firm has discovered that rear-end collisions can occur due to a variety of reasons, not all of which are the rear driver’s fault. These common reasons include:
- Driving too close to the vehicle in front—or tailgating;
- Failure to see traffic slowing down;
- Reading a text message while driving;
- Road rage;
- Defective auto parts that prevent a driver from stopping in time; and
- The presence of hazardous weather conditions, such as fog, snow, ice, or rain.
While the rear driver is not automatically at fault for a crash, an NHTSA study did find driver inattention as a primary reason rear-end crashes occur. When you enlist the help of our attorneys, we will look into the details of your accident to determine who caused the crash.
What Happens If the Rear Driver Accuses Me of Contributing to the Accident?
The rear driver may claim you contributed to the accident by not signaling your intention to turn, by not having functional brake lights, or by some other means. If you believe that you contributed to the accident, contact us before speaking with another party, especially the rear driver’s insurance company. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will examine your role in the crash as a way to reduce, delay, or deny your compensation award.
Even if you were partially at fault for your crash, you are still legally eligible for reduced compensatory damages. Under the state’s comparative negligence laws, you would receive a portion of your total damages depending on your percentage of fault for the wreck.
In cases where more than one party caused an accident, the law assigns a percentage of fault to each driver and reduces their amount of compensation based on that percentage. If a judge or jury finds one party to be 50 percent or more at fault, they will not recover compensation.
For instance, imagine you made a sudden turn without using your turn signal and another car struck the rear of your vehicle. In this case, a judge or jury may assign 20 percent of the fault to you for not signaling and assign 80 percent of fault to the rear driver for following too closely. You would receive 80 percent of your total damages, while the other driver would not recover compensation.
How Can I Prove That I Did Not Contribute to the Accident?
During the course of our investigation, we will gather the evidence we need to prove who caused the crash. If the rear driver’s reckless or careless actions were solely to blame for your wreck, we will help you prove it. Besides you and your passengers’ statement about the collision, the evidence we collect may include the following:
- Smart phone records to determine phone use prior to the accident;
- Photos of the damaged vehicles;
- Eyewitness testimony of the accident;
- The police report of the accident;
- Driving records of the motorists involved; and
- Traffic camera video, if available, of the accident scene.
In some cases—particularly in those involving multiple-vehicle rear-end crashes—we use an accident reconstruction specialist to determine what caused the accident and the role each driver played. With the help of an expert, we can recreate how the accident occurred and prove who was at fault for the crash.
Tennessee Requires Proof of Negligence.
In order to recover compensation through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit, we must prove that the at-fault driver’s recklessness caused your collision. This requires us to show the four elements of negligence were present in your case. We must prove:
- The driver had a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing an accident;
- The driver breached that duty;
- The driver’s negligence caused an accident; and
- You suffered damages as a result.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover?
After a rear-end crash, you may be facing head injuries, spinal trauma, and other serious injuries. We will file your insurance claim against the at-fault driver and diligently pursue full compensation for these and other costs. Generally, you may recover compensation for your economic damages, including:
- Medical bills;
- Ambulance costs;
- Hospital bills;
- Future medical care costs;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning potential;
- Physical therapy;
- Rehabilitation; and
- Vehicle repair costs.
Additionally, we can help you pursue compensation for the non-economic damages you experienced due to your accident. These intangible damages include:
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Mental anguish; and
- Loss of enjoyment of life.
We Can Start Working on Your Case Today.
Call the Law Offices of Ogle, Elrod & Baril, PLLC, now to begin the process of recovering damages. We will not charge you for our services until we win a settlement on your behalf. Our initial consultation is free, so call us at 865-546-1111 today.