Rear-end collisions are probably the most common kind of car accident in the country, and they can happen in several different ways. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 2 million car accidents each year are rear-end collisions. Often, it is presumed that the driver at the rear is at fault for rear-ending the driver at the front. However, this presumption is not always accurate. If you are injured in a rear-end collision, you should consult an experienced Albuquerque car accident attorney. Whether a rear-end collision occurs on the highway or in a residential area, it is important to have aggressive, knowledgeable representation. Matthew Vance can represent you in negotiations with an insurer that is trying to avoid paying compensation, or in a trial if needed.Pursuing Compensation After a Rear-end Collision
In rear-end collisions, drivers who are following other cars often do not stop in a timely fashion and collide with the cars in front of them. Usually, this is the fault of the driver who rear-ends the vehicle in front. All drivers are supposed to leave a safe distance between themselves and the driver who is ahead of them in case of an emergency. For example, if a third driver cuts in front of the car in front of you, you may need to brake hard and suddenly. While the presumption may be that the driver to the rear is at fault, under some circumstances, the driver in front or another party may be at fault for a rear-end collision. Sometimes the driver in front may be liable because they suddenly reversed, because their taillights are broken, because their brake lights are not working, or because they failed to put their hazards on when a tire blew out. The driver to the rear must have enough distance to stop, however, if any of these unexpected incidents occurs.
To obtain damages for a rear-end collision, you may need to prove the other driver's negligence. Negligence occurs when somebody's behavior falls below the standard of care under the circumstances, such that they do not do what a reasonable person would have done. Your attorney will need to prove duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages.
All drivers owe one another a duty to use reasonable care while driving. There are many ways in which a driver might breach the duty to use reasonable care. In connection with a rear-end collision, a breach can occur when a driver speeds, fails to pay attention to the road and watch for dangers, fails to stop within a reasonable time, fails to keep control of the vehicle, fails to yield, or fails to follow at a safe distance. When the breach causes an accident, it may be possible to recover damages.
Often, a defendant driver defends himself by arguing comparative negligence. This means that the defendant will try to prove the elements of negligence with respect to the plaintiff's conduct. For example, perhaps a driver was backing up instead of driving forward, but the driver to the rear was not paying attention, and the distraction of both drivers combined to create an accident. Under the doctrine of comparative negligence, the jury will evaluate the evidence and arguments and assign a percentage of fault to each driver. If, for example, the damages are $100,000, and both you and the driver to the rear were 50% at fault for a rear-end collision, you can recover $50,000 from the other driver.
Sometimes rear-end collisions involve chain reactions in which there are multiple drivers at fault. In New Mexico, when comparative negligence applies, a tortfeasor will only be held liable for the portion of the judgment that equals their share of the fault.
The damages available to a plaintiff will depend on the nature and severity of the injuries. Common injuries that arise in a rear-end collision include whiplash, broken bones, traumatic brain injury or concussion, nerve damage, and facial disfigurement. Sometimes the extent of the injuries is not immediately evident, and it takes time for their full extent to emerge. For example, whiplash, which occurs when muscles and soft tissues are strained from a sudden forward-backward jolt of the neck and head, can be minor, or it can be severe. It is crucial to seek medical care after a rear-end collision that causes injuries and follow any recommendations provided by a doctor.Consult an Albuquerque Attorney Following a Serious Rear-end Collision
The Law Office of Matthew Vance is a New Mexico law firm. Mr. Vance was born and raised in New Mexico, and his family lives here. He is deeply invested in what happens in this state. As a former insurance defense lawyer, he has insights into how insurers and defense attorneys operate, and he now deploys those insights to the benefit of his injured clients. He also handles insurance bad faith claims. If you were injured in a rear-end collision, you should consult the Law Office of Matthew Vance. Our firm represents victims in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Taos, Raton, Gallup, Grants, Belen, Rio Rancho, Los Lunas, Socorro, Truth of Consequences, Deming, Silver City, Alamogordo, Clovis, Hobbs, Espanola, Roswell, Carlsbad, Santa Rosa, Tucumcari, Farmington, and Bloomfield. Call Matthew Vance at (505) 242-6267 or complete our online form.