Rear End Collisions Are Common
Rear end car accidents also known are rear end collisions or fender benders are among the most common types of car accidents in the State of Washington and the United States.
In fact, the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that up to 2.5 million rear end collisions occur every year in the United States. In approximately 87 percent of all rear-end collisions, NTSB reveals that drivers fail to observe the traffic ahead, and when forced to come to a sudden stop are unable to do so, and the driver will slam into the rear of another vehicle.
Washington State Law is Generally Favorable to the Victim of a Rear End Collision
While there are occasional situations that may meet the legal definition of being an unavoidable rear end collision, many rear end collisions can be avoided if a driver simply paid more attention and drove more carefully. Some examples of when a following driver can be deemed liable for an accident include driving while intoxicated, pulling out in front of another vehicle, reversing without looking behind, and stopping without reason.
Although Washington State law does not make a forward rear end driver automatically liable or at fault for causing a collision, the Washington state is favorable for the victim of a rear end collision. RCW 46.61.145 Following too closely-Vulnerable users of a public way-Fine. States in part:
(1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the roadway.
Washington States courts have adopted the principle that “the primary duty of avoiding a collision rest upon the following driver.”
In many situations in the State of Washington, the victim in a rear end collision can at least establish some liability against the following driver who failed to stop in time.
Many Injuries Can Occur as a Result of a Rear End Collision
Victims of such incidents can face all sorts of physical injuries. In addition, victims involved in rear end collisions can face debilitating emotional distress. The injuries a victim can face after an incident with a following driver, include a range of medical issues that involve broken bones, connective tissue injuries, and other health problems. Some rear end collision incidents sadly involve a deceased victim.
What The Victim of a Rear End Collision Should Do Immediately After the Injury Incident
If you are involved in a collision involving a following driver, it is highly recommended that you or someone trustworthy near you try to obtain the at-fault driver's information and contact law enforcement immediately. It is important to have the name of the at-fault driver and his or her driver's license and contact information. One reason is because it will be easier to serve the intoxicated driver, in the event of a lawsuit, if the victim obtains the original police report with the at-fault driver's information. A police report can help put together the pieces of the incident.
I would also advise the victim in most cases to hold off on giving a statement immediately to the at-fault driver's insurance company. Sometimes an initial statement can be twisted, or the injured person can say something out of turn that can come back and cause some potential problems later.
Can An Insurance Company or Plan Help the Injured Victim?
In the aftermath of a rear end driving incident, the victim will want to contact their own insurance company. First, the victim will want to see if he or she has a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) or Medical Payments Policy (Med-Pay). These policies are generally through a person's own insurance company, and the policies can pay for at least some of the victim's accident-related health care billings. Another option is health insurance, a private or public health insurance plan, or a combination of both.
An insurance option for the payment of medical billings that can be overlooked or forgotten is the Washington State Crime Victims Compensation fund through the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. For a crime victim, the victim's compensation fund through the State of Washington can potentially help pay for all of a crime victim's health care billings that are related to the victim's injury incident.
Victims of rear end drivers have various remedies that they can recover as a result of their injury.
In Washington State, an injured victim can recover for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, emotional distress, inconvenience, future treatment, and loss of earning capacity. These damages are known as general damages.
The injured victim can also recover damages that relate to their health care treatment and loss wages. These damages are known as special damages.
A family member of an injured or deceased victim in a rear end collision may also be able to recover for loss of support, loss of consortium, and funeral/burial costs. Wrongful death and survivorship options occur in cases that involved deceased victims where the family survivors can have potential monetary remedies.
What My Law Firm Can Do
As a personal injury attorney, I am very passionate to represent victims in rear end collisions. I have helped obtain good results for victims injured in rear end driving collisions. It is very important for a victim of a rear end collision to have a lawyer who understands the importance of examining the evidence and the legal issues involved. My firm is aware of the various spectrum of issues that can come up in a rear end injury case.