If you were in a rear-end car accident in San Antonio, Texas, you might have a right to claim compensation from the at-fault party. Rear-end crashes happen when one vehicle hits another from behind. Depending on the speed or impact of the crash, this accident can cause severe injuries and damages. Since occupants of a rear-ended vehicle are caught off guard and are thrust forward, victims sustain injuries that can affect the neck and spine.
What You Should Do After a Rear-End Collision
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for 29% of all crashes in the United States. If you're in a rear-end car crash, here are some of the steps you should take to protect your claim:
- Call the Police: It's vital to call the police immediately after a crash and report the accident. Regardless of the accident's severity, you need to report the crash before moving your vehicle. The police collect very crucial pieces of information at the scene, and this information will support your claim.
- Document the Scene: Collect driver information, insurance information, and witness contact information while at the scene. Additionally, take pictures of the scene, damages to the vehicles, and your injuries. If you cannot do this because of your injuries, you can rely on the police report.
- Seek Medical Attention: Do not refuse medical attention from first responders or fail to go to the hospital immediately after the crash, even if you feel okay. Not feeling pain doesn't mean that you aren't injured. Some injuries, such as whiplash, nerve damage, and internal injuries, may become obvious later. Get examined by a medical professional to ensure you get the right treatment and protect your claim.
- Don't Talk to Liable Parties: What you say after the accident will affect your claim. Don't discuss the accident with the other driver or their insurance company. Don't answer any questions, accept settlement offers, or admit fault. Speaking to the liable party can cost you the compensation you deserve.
- Contact Your Insurer: You must report any car accident to your insurance provider. Since you may recover damages from your policy, your insurer should immediately be aware of the accident. If you fail to report the accident as per the policy, you may not recover any damages from your insurer.
- Contact a Car Accident Lawyer: If you want to claim compensation for your injuries and damages, you should consider hiring a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. If the accident was due to negligence, your lawyer will most likely investigate the case, establish liability, prove your damages, and negotiate the best possible settlement. Your lawyer will also advise you on what to do to protect your claim.
Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents
San Antonio has crowded roads, making it a hotspot for rear-end crashes. Several different factors can cause these accidents, but some of the common ones include:
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Driving while under the influence of an intoxicating substance (DUI)
- Aggressive driving
- Failure to use turn signals
- Sudden stops in parking lot garages
- Fatigue driving
- Distracted driving
- Poor visibility
In most cases, the rear driver is at-fault for rear-end accidents. However, the lead driver can be partially or fully at fault in some cases. Some of these exceptions include when the lead vehicle stops illegally, was traveling in reverse if the lead vehicle stops abruptly, or changes lanes suddenly without sufficient warning.
Proving Fault in Rear-End Collisions
Car accident lawyers work with accident reconstruction experts to help establish the accident's cause and determine liability. Your lawyer will consider several factors to prove liability, such as possible traffic violations, how fast the cars were traveling and their position after the crash, witness statements, evidence like pictures of the damages, and the police report.
Note that negligence isn't always one-sided in rear-end crashes. For example, if the lead vehicle stopped abruptly and the rear vehicle was following too closely, hence the crash, both drivers are at fault and liable for the damages. However, since Texas follows a modified comparative fault rule, the victim can claim compensation if they're less than 51% at fault. The settlement or award will be less your percentage of fault. Depending on the case, other parties can also be liable for the accident such as:
- The vehicle manufacturer, if the accident was due to a defective part;
- The vehicle owner, if the driver was using someone else's vehicle;
- Employer or company;
- Mechanic or repair shop, if the accident was due to inefficient repair.
You'll determine the liability of each party based on the evidence and claim damages from all liable parties according to their percentage of fault.
Compensation for Rear-End Accident Claims
All vehicle owners in Texas must carry liability insurance to cover damages when they're at fault for an accident. The minimum insurance coverage should include at least $25,000 for property damage, $60,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $30,000 per person for bodily injury.
Suppose you sustain an injury after a rear-end crash in San Antonio. In that case, you can recover damages through your insurance policy, the at-fault insurance company, or a personal injury lawsuit. The damages you can claim as compensation include:
- Medical bills
- Vehicle repairs
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
Your lawyer will determine the amount of compensation to claim and negotiate the best settlement possible. If negotiations fail, they'll file a lawsuit and represent you in court. The court can also award punitive damages if the at-fault driver was extremely reckless in some cases.
Let Us Handle Your Claim
Don't deal with the aftermath of a rear-end accident on your own. Since you have the right to claim compensation from the at-fault party, talk to a lawyer in San Antonio immediately and learn your legal options. At the Dolman Law Group, we're ready to review your case and handle your claim to ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to discuss your case and obtain a free case evaluation.
San Antonio Office
921 S St Mary's St #2
San Antonio, TX 78205
Phone: (210) 361-2039