Consulting an attorney after a rear-end collision can provide you with a better understanding of your options and protect you during the claims process. A rear-end collision is a car accident where one vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle.
In these accidents, the vehicle in the rear is typically considered at fault because it failed to maintain a safe following distance or didn't stop in time to avoid the collision. These accidents can result in damage to the vehicles involved and, in some cases, injuries to the occupants.
If your vehicle is rear-ended by another driver, you may think you don’t need a lawyer because the other driver will usually be held liable. But in most accident insurance claims, you need to have someone in your corner experienced in negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf. Their lawyers are working on their behalf, but who is looking out for you?
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury lawyers have experience in handling car accident claims involving rear-end collisions in the Midwest, with offices in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. We are familiar with the laws around these claims, and how they differ from state to state.
How Can a Lawyer Help You With a Rear-End Collision Claim From State to State?
A personal injury lawyer can handle a rear-end collision accident claim because personal injury laws can vary significantly from one state to another. A lawyer with expertise in multiple states' laws can navigate these differences and ensure that your claim adheres to the specific regulations and statutes of the relevant jurisdictions.
If the parties involved in the accident are from different states, insurance issues can become more complex. An experienced lawyer can handle negotiations with insurance companies operating in multiple states to ensure you receive fair compensation. A lawyer can effectively manage communication and gather necessary information.
Determining the proper jurisdiction for your case is crucial. A lawyer can help identify the appropriate state or federal court where your claim should be filed, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
Lawyers who practice in various states often have experience with local courts and judges, which can be advantageous in your case. They understand the local court procedures and can tailor their approach accordingly.
Personal injury lawyers also often have a network of medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, and other experts who can provide valuable testimony or evidence to support your claim, regardless of where the accident occurred.
Different states have varying statutes of limitations, which dictate how long you have to file a personal injury lawsuit. A lawyer can meet all deadlines, preventing the court from dismissing your claim. For example, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Minnesota is six years, while the statute of limitation in Wisconsin is three years.
When dealing with a car accident claim that crosses state lines, it's essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling such cases. They can provide you with the guidance and representation needed to navigate the complexities of multi-state claims effectively.
Your lawyer will maximize your compensation by assessing all potential sources of liability and exploring opportunities for recovery, including claims against multiple parties or insurers.
What is PIP and How Does It Affect My Rear End Collision Claim in Minnesota?
Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has offices in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. We know the different laws governing car accident claims in different states.
Minnesota, for example, is a no-fault insurance state, so after an accident, motor vehicle drivers must initiate insurance claims with their own insurance provider, regardless of fault. Your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage typically offers compensation regardless of fault (provided the accident involves a motor vehicle).
You can only file a personal injury claim after exhausting your PIP coverage. Talk with an experienced Minnesota personal injury lawyer to help you navigate this process.
What Are Common Rear-End Collision Injuries?
The severity of rear-end collision injuries can vary widely depending on the speed of the collision, the size of the vehicles involved, and the use of safety features like seat belts and airbags.
Common injuries resulting from rear-end collisions include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is a neck injury caused by the sudden back-and-forth motion of the head and neck upon impact. Symptoms may include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, and difficulty moving the neck.
- Back injuries: Rear-end collisions can lead to back injuries, such as herniated discs or sprains. These injuries can cause severe pain and may require medical treatment or physical therapy.
- Head injuries: Even with seat belts and airbags, occupants can still experience head injuries, including concussions, if their head strikes the steering wheel, dashboard, or headrest. A severe blow to the head may result in traumatic brain Injury (TBI), which can have lifelong adverse effects on physical and mental health.
- Chest injuries: Chest injuries can occur due to the force of the impact against the seatbelt or steering wheel. These injuries may include bruised or broken ribs.
- Facial injuries: Facial injuries can result from striking the dashboard, windshield, or airbag. These injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to more severe facial fractures.
- Knee injuries: The knees can hit the dashboard during a rear-end collision, leading to injuries like contusions, strains, or fractures.
- Soft tissue injuries: These include injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Sprains and strains are common soft tissue injuries in rear-end collisions.
- Psychological injuries: The emotional impact of a car accident can lead to anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in some individuals.
- Internal injuries: In rare cases, the force of a rear-end collision can cause internal injuries, such as organ damage or internal bleeding.
After a rear-end collision, seek medical attention, even if injuries initially seem minor, as some injuries may not become apparent until later. Consulting a healthcare professional and a personal injury attorney can explain your options for medical treatment and legal recourse.
Who Can You Hold Liable in a Rear-End Collision?
In a rear-end collision, the driver of the vehicle that rear-ended the other vehicle usually bears liability. In most cases, the rear driver must maintain a safe following distance so they can stop in time to avoid a collision.
However, liability is not always cut and dry. For example, when a rear-end collision sets off a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles, other drivers may share some liability.
Contributory negligence may apply. If the front driver made a sudden lane change and unexpected stop without reasonable cause or engaged in negligent behavior (e.g., texting while driving), it could affect liability. In some cases, both drivers may share liability.
Some rear-end collisions may not be entirely related to operator error. For example, if the rear driver's vehicle experienced a sudden mechanical failure, like brake failure, that prevented them from stopping in time. In this case, liability might shift to the vehicle's owner, depending on the circumstances.
Another example is hazardous road conditions. Ice, snow, or poorly maintained roads can play a role in liability. If the road conditions played a role, liability might extend to government agencies responsible for road maintenance.
In rear-end collisions involving commercial trucks or buses, liability may involve the driver's employer or the company that owns the vehicle, especially if the driver was working at the time of the accident.
Once again, the state where the accident occurred may affect liability claims for rear-end collisions. Some states follow a comparative negligence system, where liability is apportioned based on each party's degree of fault. In such states, even if the rear driver is partly at fault, they may still be entitled to partial compensation.
Determining liability in a rear-end collision can be complex. It often requires a thorough investigation of the accident, witness statements, and sometimes expert testimony, and may involve many drivers and vehicles. After a rear-end collision, consult a personal injury attorney. An experienced lawyer can evaluate your case, gather evidence, and explain your legal options.
Why Choose Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers for Your Rear-End Collision Claim?
The legal team at Nicolet Law Accident & Injury Lawyers has decades of combined experience representing clients in the Midwest. We know the area and the community and take your rear-end collision claim seriously. Let us help you regain your peace of mind by working to hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.
Our personal injury lawyer knows how to work with insurance companies to make sure you don’t get the runaround. It is our mission to represent you to get the best settlement to compensate you for your injuries.
Contact us today for your free case evaluation. We have more than 20 offices throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota, making it easy for you to meet with one of our lawyers near you. Don’t face this alone. Let us help you!