No matter how major or minor you initially perceive it to be, any kind of car accident can leave lasting damage. In Harris County alone, there were 114,674 motor vehicle crashes in 2021. Though not all of these wrecks resulted in injuries, it's still an unfortunate reality that car accidents in Texas can occur without warning. Seemingly “minor” accidents—like a rear-end accident—can cause unexpected property damage as well as personal injuries. Rear-end collisions should not be dismissed as insignificant by either driver.
If you'd like to speak with a car accident attorney about your options after being hit by another car, The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm can help. From our office in Houston, Texas, we're able to represent clients in the city and surrounding areas including The Woodlands, Greenspoint, Katy, Houston Heights, Sugar Land, and Missouri City. Set up a consultation today.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
It's common to think of all rear-end collisions as being the fault of the driver who's in the “back” of the wreck, but this is not always the case. The truth is, there can be multiple causes of a rear-end crash. Each case should be evaluated individually to ensure the right party is held legally responsible. One driver is never automatically responsible because they merely happened to be behind the other car. Some possible scenarios might include:
- The driver in front puts their car in reverse unexpectedly and starts backing up.
- You weren't aware the car in front of you was stopping because their brake lights were out.
- The car in front of you slammed on their brakes unexpectedly for no reason or “brake checked” you.
- As the driver in back, you weren't paying attention to what the car in front was doing and failed to see they were stopped.
- As the driver in back, you were tailgating the car in front and not allowing a safe following distance which led to you rear-ending them.
Common Injuries From Rear-end Accidents
Even though rear-end accidents are relatively common, they can still lead to serious and lasting injuries. Additionally, injuries like this can often take several days to show up, falsely leading people to believe that they don't need to see a doctor for treatment.
Injuries that are seen frequently with rear-end accidents include:
- Spinal injury
- Traumatic brain injury
- Back injuries
- Shoulder injuries
All of these have the potential to cause more serious problems down the road if they're not addressed, making it imperative that you seek medical attention right away, even if you don't feel obviously injured. By seeing a doctor right after the accident, you'll also strengthen your chances of presenting a winning case since you'll have clear documentation to use as evidence.
Anytime you want to file a personal injury claim, you'll need to collect evidence to prove who is liable in a car accident. Evidence might include photos or videos of the incident scene, police reports, eyewitness testimony, medical diagnosis, doctor's reports and recommended treatments, or documentation of property damage to your car. When you work with an experienced personal injury attorney, they can help you gather this evidence and use it in a way that will increase your chances of a favorable settlement.
Importantly, under Texas law, liability can be shared between parties in an accident. This is known as comparative negligence. Essentially, this law allows the victim of an accident to pursue compensation from the other party, even if they shared some of the responsibility for the accident occurring.
Take an example: suppose the car in front of you unexpectedly hit its brakes due to traffic, but its back tail lights weren't working. In this situation, it's understandable that you might rear-end them. However, if it's later discovered that you were actually looking at your phone at the time of the accident—and if you hadn't been, it's plausible that the crash wouldn't have occurred—you could be found partially to blame. In this scenario, you may be found 30% responsible for the accident happening, so your total settlement would then be reduced by 30% to account for your share of liability. So, if you were supposed to receive $10,000, you would now only receive $7,000. It's worth noting that you'll only be able to seek damages if you were less than 50% at fault. If your liability exceeds this, you'll be barred from collecting any damages.
Rear-End Collision Attorney in Houston, Texas
No one should have to go through the aftermath of a car accident alone. If you'd like help navigating the claims process for a recent rear-end accident you were involved in, reach out to us at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm in Houston, Texas to speak with an attorney you can trust.