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Abels & Annes, P.C. Personal Injury Blog

What Should I Do After a Rear-end Collision in Phoenix?

Phoenix, Arizona, has a lot of traffic. With its interstate highway system, rural roadways, and downtown traffic intersections, rear-end car crashes in and around Phoenix are relatively common. The sheer volume of traffic on Interstates 40, 410, 510, and 710 increases the possibility that a rear-end collision will occur—especially when traffic backs up quickly and a driver fails to stop in time. Rear-end accidents can also occur at traffic intersections in the Downtown Phoenix area. These intersection collisions are especially common when a driver is overzealous or fails to slow down in time to avoid impacting another vehicle.

The problem of rear-end motor vehicle crashes doesn’t only apply to the Phoenix area. In fact, 29 percent of car crashes that occur nationwide are rear-end collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

One of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents in Phoenix is driver negligence and failure to pay attention to the road. In fact, in almost all instances, the rear driver is at fault for a rear-end accident, regardless of how it occurs.

Rear-end collisions can involve one impact, or they may involve several impacts in a chain-reaction-type collision. In any case, the collision—or series of collisions—can lead to numerous injuries that may leave you incapacitated for a long time.

If you have suffered one or more injuries in a rear-end car accident, you need a knowledgeable attorney on your side at all times advocating for your interests. Insurance companies will not do you any favors, and you need a skilled lawyer negotiating for you and pursuing the compensation you deserve. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company refuses to offer you full and fair compensation for your injuries, a Phoenix rear-end collision attorney near you can file a lawsuit in the state court system and pursue a favorable result on your behalf.

How Do Phoenix Rear-end Collisions Occur?

Rear-end car collisions that occur in the greater Phoenix area typically happen because of driver recklessness, carelessness, and negligence. In fact, the law assumes that in a rear-impact collision, the rear driver is at fault. Some of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents that happen in and around Phoenix include the following:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving occurs when a motor vehicle operator fails to give sufficient care and attention to the road. When drivers use their vehicles while making phone calls, sending text messages, or responding to emails, they place everyone else on the road at risk. Even when a driver turns his or her attention away from the road for a second or two, that can be enough time for a rear-end accident to happen. Other distractions in the vehicle can include roughhousing with passengers, loud music in the car, or small children who may be arguing in the back seat.

Negligent Driving

Phoenix drivers must operate their vehicles reasonably at all times and drive per all applicable traffic laws and regulations. When drivers speed, fail to yield the right-of-way at the appropriate times, and disobey traffic signs and signals, they can bring about serious accidents—including rear-end accidents. This is especially true on Phoenix highways and at Downtown Phoenix intersections, where there tends to be a lot of cars around.

Intoxicated Motor Vehicle Operation

When a Phoenix driver has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher, the driver is per se intoxicated. However, alcohol may impair a driver with a lower BAC. Alcohol can slow down central nervous system (CNS) functioning, delay a driver’s reaction time, and impair a driver’s senses—so much so that the driver might not be physically capable of stopping in time to avoid a collision. When a driver chooses to get behind the wheel of a car while intoxicated or impaired, the driver significantly increases the chances that he or she will cause an accident, such as a rear-end collision.

If you have been in a rear-end collision that occurred under one of these circumstances, a Phoenix car accident lawyer can assist. An attorney can investigate the cause and circumstances behind your accident and assist you with filing a claim for monetary compensation.

Injuries Suffered in a Rear-end Car Collision

Phoenix rear-end car collisions often result in serious and debilitating personal injuries and other damages. When the front end of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle, the accident victim’s head and neck can move forward and backward in a very abrupt manner, bringing about whiplash or soft-tissue injuries.
Also, the force of the impact might cause a part of the accident victim’s body to strike something in the vehicle, such as the window (driver or passenger’s side), door, steering wheel, headrest, console, or dashboard, depending upon where the person is sitting in the vehicle. Since the force of the impact is coming from behind, many injuries that accident victims suffer in rear-end collisions involve the head, neck, back, and shoulders.

Some of those injuries include:

  • Traumatic head and brain injuries (including headaches and concussions)
  • Broken bones and fractures
  • Soft tissue injuries (including strains and sprains to various muscles or muscle groups)
  • Cuts, scrapes, bruises, and abrasions (from striking something in the vehicle or because of airbag deployment)
  • Internal bleeding and other internal injuries
  • Back and spinal cord injuries (especially to the upper-back area)

Victims of these types of injuries will often need to undergo significant medical treatment at a great financial cost. For example, after a rear-end collision, the accident victim might need to visit an urgent care center, hospital emergency room, or primary care doctor for initial medical treatment and testing (e.g., MRI’s and x-rays of the affected body parts). The accident victim might then need to follow up with a specialist for treatment (such as an orthopedic doctor or chiropractor), undergo a medical procedure (such as surgery), receive one or more injections to affected body areas, and participate in physical therapy.

Given the significant costs associated with all of this treatment, medical bills can pile up very quickly. If you have suffered an injury in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, get a Phoenix rear-end collision lawyer on your side as soon as possible. An attorney can file the necessary claim to get the process started and promptly and efficiently pursue the compensation you need for the injuries you suffered in your accident.

Pursuing Compensation for Injuries Suffered in a Rear-end Accident

When pursuing monetary compensation for injuries suffered in a rear-end car collision, the accident victim has the burden of proof. The at-fault driver—and the driver’s insurance company—do not need to prove anything in the case. Rather, they will attempt to “poke holes” in the accident victim’s case and try to show that the accident victim was not all that seriously injured.

To successfully recover monetary compensation in a rear-end car accident claim, the accident victim must prove the legal elements of his or her personal injury case. First, the accident victim must demonstrate that the at-fault driver breached his or her duty to drive reasonably and carefully under the circumstances. Likewise, the accident victim must show that he or she suffered at least one injury in the collision—and that the injury or injuries resulted from the collision.

In some rear-end car collision cases, that at-fault driver’s insurance company might go ahead and stipulate (or agree) to fault for the accident. However, in that instance, the accident victim will still need to demonstrate that he or she was injured—and that the injury or injuries happened because of the accident.

The first step towards pursuing and recovering monetary compensation for injuries suffered in a rear-end collision is to file a claim with the at-fault driver’s motor vehicle insurance company. When you or your attorney file this claim, this will force the insurance company to look at the matter and determine whether or not to accept liability for the accident.

When making this decision, the insurance company adjuster whom the insurance company assigns to your case will typically review your medical records and bills, photographs of the accident scene, photographs of your injuries, any lost wage documentation, any reports the police filed, witness statements, and a victim impact statement.

If the insurance company accepts liability for the accident, the adjuster might make an initial monetary offer to try and resolve the case. However, in most instances, these offers need to be negotiated because they are extremely low. In other words, an insurance company’s first offer will not typically compensate you fully and fairly for the injuries you endured. A Phoenix rear-end car collision attorney can negotiate on your behalf and try to convince the adjuster to increase his or her initial offer. Ultimately, you will have the final say on whether to accept a pending settlement offer or litigate the case.

If the insurance company refuses to fully and fairly compensate you for your rear-end collision injuries, you can decide to litigate your case in the court system. This means that your attorney will file a complaint against the at-fault driver (and indirectly against his/her insurance company) in the state court system. Although the case can still settle at some point along the way, the case will move towards trial or alternative dispute resolution.

If the rear-end collision case ultimately goes to trial, a jury will decide what, if any, damages you are entitled to receive for your injuries. Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, like mediation and arbitration, might also be available depending upon the facts and circumstances of your case. During mediation, a court-appointed mediator or a mediator selected by the parties will work to try and help facilitate a reasonable settlement. If the case goes to arbitration, a neutral, third-party arbitrator will evaluate the case and decide what, if any, damages to award the accident victim.

Types of Damages You Can Recover in Your Rear-end Collision Case

Assuming that you can satisfy all of the other legal elements of your rear-end car accident claim, you might be eligible to pursue various forms of compensation and damages for your injuries. The amounts and types of compensation for which you may be eligible will depend upon how seriously you were injured, the types of injuries you sustained in the collision, and whether or not any of those injuries are permanent.

A person suffers a permanent injury in an accident when a healthcare provider determines that the accident victim will suffer from the injury or condition for the remainder of his or her life to a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

Potential monetary compensation that Phoenix rear-end car collision victims can recover includes damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs. Car accident victims may also pursue compensation for inconvenience, pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment, loss of the ability to use a body part, and loss of family support or spousal companionship. These latter damages are known as non-economic damages.

An experienced Phoenix rear-end collision attorney will explain your eligibility for these different types of damages and can pursue the compensation you need.

Call a Knowledgeable Phoenix Car Collision Lawyer About Your Legal Matter Today

Phoenix Auto Injury Lawyer Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer

If you have suffered an injury in a rear-end collision that occurred in or around Phoenix, you should act right away. Having the right personal injury lawyer by your side can make all the difference when it comes to recovering both fair and full compensation for your injuries.

A knowledgeable Phoenix car accident attorney can forcefully negotiate with the at-fault driver’s insurance company on your behalf. If a favorable settlement offer is not forthcoming, your lawyer can negotiate the case to a favorable conclusion in the court system—or through alternative dispute resolution.

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