Rear End Collisions and Accidents in Las Vegas, Nevada

Posted by: on Tue, May 07, 2013

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Accidents Caused by Rear End Collisions in Las Vegas, Nevada

Rear end collisions are one of the most common kinds of motor vehicle accidents. Some studies indicate that rear end collisions account for the majority of total crashes at approximately 37%. A rear end collision occurs when the front end of one vehicle hits the rear end of another vehicle from behind. Often the vehicle that does the hitting is presumed to be at fault in the accident, but there are some exceptions; sometimes the vehicle in front can be at fault even though it’s the vehicle behind that hit it. For example, when the vehicle in front came to a sudden, unexpected, or unnecessarily reckless stop.

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Causes of Rear End Collisions

Rear end collisions can be caused by many things: following too closely; inattentiveness when the car in front slows or stops; distractions such as cell phone texting use, fiddling with the radio or reaching for a drink; road conditions (raining); poor visibility; an attempt to go through a yellow or red light when the car in front does not proceed as anticipated; accelerating from a stop more quickly than the car in front; a foot sliding off the brake at a light, stop sign or in traffic; a sudden stop; etc.

Rear end collisions between two cars are one type of rear end accident, but damages and injuries are often worse when a car is rear ended by a truck, SUV, van, bus, or other larger, heavier vehicle, particularly if the larger vehicle hits the car above its shock-absorbing and protective rear bumper. If you have been involved in a rear end collision and it was not your fault, you may have certain rights to recover compensation for injuries, property damage, missed work, medical bills and/or disability. The rear end collision attorneys at Albright Stoddard may be able to help you with your claims.

Rear End Collision Injuries

One of the biggest challenges in a Nevada rear end collision case may come from the nature of the injuries sustained in this type of collision. Rear end collisions often cause “soft tissue” injuries. For example, whiplash is a common rear end collision injury in which the neck is seriously injured as the head snaps forward and back from the impact of the accident. Rear end collisions might also cause closed head injuries, which can result in long-term or permanent disability. Often these kinds of injuries can be hard to see or document because they might not be visible on the surface or show up on x-rays. Sometimes insurance companies fight these kinds of injuries for that reason. Or they take the position that if the vehicle itself isn’t seriously damaged, the people in the vehicle must not have been badly hurt. This is faulty reasoning because serious injuries can – and do – result from rear end collisions, even if the vehicle isn’t crushed.

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Serious Injuries caused by Rear End Collisions

Although whiplash and other soft tissue injuries frequently result from rear end collisions, many other injuries can also result from a rear end crash, such as:

  • Wrist fractures caused by drivers bracing the steering wheel at the time of impact
  • Knee injuries caused when a passenger is forced into the dashboard
  • Head injuries or traumatic brain injuries caused by an occupant’s head crashing into the windshield or by the blunt force of flying objects within the vehicle
  • Traumatic injuries suffered by bicycles or motorcycles hit by other vehicles
  • Fatal injuries suffered by victims of a rear end truck and trailer accident

Our AV-rated law firm offers more than 165 combined years of experience representing car accident victims and their families in personal injury and wrongful death litigation. We prepare each case as if it will proceed to trial. We thoroughly investigate the accident, consult with medical experts, and analyze all angles of liability in order to maximize your compensation.

The Effects of a Rear End Collision

There is a rebuttable presumption that the negligence of the rear driver in a rear end collision was the sole proximate cause of the accident. However, this presumption may be rebutted “when the defendant produces evidence which fairly and reasonably tends to show that the rear fact is not presumed,” that the rear end collision was not the result of the rear driver’s negligence. The Courts have recognized three specific fact patterns which may rebut this presumption:

  • Affirmative testimony regarding a mechanical failure;
  • Affirmative testimony of a sudden and unexpected stop or unexpected lane change by the car in front; and
  • When a vehicle has been illegally and, therefore, unexpectedly stopped.

The purpose of the rule is to create a rebuttable presumption which shifts the burden to the rear driver in a rear end collision to come forward with evidence which “fairly and reasonably tends to show” that the presumption of negligence in the rear driver is misplaced. If the rear driver presents evidence at trial that fairly and reasonably rebuts the presumption of negligence, the issue of the defendant’s negligence must then be presented to the jury for determination without the aid of the presumption.

This is why it is important that you retain an attorney immediately after a rear end collision. The days after the car accident are crucial to investigate whether the at-fault driver will be raising one of the three fact patterns that could rebut their presumed negligence.

Damage to the Vehicles

If each vehicle involved in the rear end accident is relatively the same size, then typically the level of damage to both will be about equal. However, if one is much larger than the other, the smaller of the two vehicles is going to feel the brunt of the collision. Injuries sustained by occupants of the first vehicle are typically much worse than those of the rear vehicle because they are struck from behind unexpectedly, whereas the people in the second car have a split second to brace themselves.

Accident reconstruction experts explain that crashing into another automobile of similar mass from behind is equivalent to colliding with a brick wall at half the vehicle’s speed. For instance, if you are going 50 mph and hit a car that is stopped, it is like driving into a wall at 25 mph. The same goes for the motionless vehicle. It doesn’t sound as painful, but the destruction to the cars and its passengers is still extraordinary.

Bodily Injuries

Automobile bumpers are designed to take some of the impact, so vehicles that have been struck in the rear may not show much damage. However, even low-velocity rear end collisions can cause the passengers severe personal injuries, such as:

  • Soft tissue injury of the cervical spine (i.e. whiplash)
  • Soft tissue injury of the lumbar spine
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Facial and head injury (depends on properly working safety belts and airbags)

Compensation

If you or someone close to you has been injured in a rear end collision, contact an attorney immediately. In 99 out of 100 cases, the driver who rear-ends you is to blame. Anyone who suffers an injury at the hands of another driver deserves to be compensated. However, many people are unaware of the extent of their injuries and the resulting damages until weeks or even months after the accident. Humans are not built to withstand the shock of a rear end collision, so anyone involved in one should seek medical attention without hesitation even if you do not notice anything out of the ordinary.

Insurance claims

It is not uncommon for claims adjusters from the liable driver’s insurance provider to call you following the accident. Some may allege that since there is no major damage to your vehicle, there is no reason for you to have sustained serious injuries. Our attorneys at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright can retain the experts you need to verify your medical injuries, even though in a rear end collision, there is clearer evidence of fault than in any other type of auto accident. In most cases, the car that was hit was stopped at a stop light, at a stop sign or in traffic. Despite the clear evidence of fault, a rear end accident victim’s injuries may be very difficult to prove because of the nature of the crash dynamics.

Conclusion

In certain cases — such as hit and run accidents, drunk driving accidents and underinsured motorist collisions — it might be necessary to sue your own insurer as well to recover the full measure of your damages. This may be done under the underinsured coverage or uninsured motorist coverage.

Most often, rear end collisions are the result of inattentive driving, due to cell phones, distractions from passengers or even the radio. To learn how we can help maximize the value of your rear end collision settlement, contact our attorneys at Albright Stoddard Warnick & Albright at 702-384-7111 for a free consultation.

About the Authors: The law firm of Albright, Stoddard, Warnick & Albright is an A-V Rated Nevada-based full-service law firm having attorneys licensed in Nevada, California and Utah. Our firm’s practice includes a strong emphasis on personal injury accidents. Call us at 702-384-7111.

Note: This article, and any other information you obtain at this website, is not offered as legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as such, nor is it a solicitation for legal services. Only a licensed attorney can advise you with respect to your specific legal needs. We welcome your contacting our firm to discuss such representation. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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