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Rear-End Collisions

The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that rear-end collisions are the most common type of automobile accident. The majority of rear-end collisions result solely in property damage. However, in high-speed areas a rear-end collision can cause serious bodily injury. 

For many people injuries from rear-end collisions don’t appear until days after the accident. Some have even stated they had pain related to the crash emerge weeks later. This is because the majority of rear-end collision injuries occur from the car jerking forward.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a rear-end collision, it’s important you contact an experienced auto accident attorney. 

Attorney for Rear-End Collisions in Polk County, Iowa

The majority of drivers will experience a rear-end collision at one point in their life. Although they are frequent it doesn’t mean rear-end collisions are harmless. A rear-end collision can lead to serious injuries including herniated or slipped discs in your spine. In addition, the injuries related to a rear-end collision could creep up on you days or even weeks later.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a rear-end accident, call the personal injury attorneys at McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. Our attorneys will speak to insurance adjusters, file a claim and help you get the settlement you deserve. Call us now at (515) 279-9700. McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents victims of rear-end collisions throughout the Polk County area including Ankeny, Polk City, Pleasant Hill, Altoona and West Des Moines.

Overview of Rear-End Collisions in Iowa  

Statistics for Rear-End Collisions in the U.S.

The NHTSA collects traffic data every year and releases a report for the general public. These reports have indicated that rear-end collisions are the number one type of accident in the country. It’s important you’re aware of the data and statistics regarding rear-end collisions so you don’t underestimate the damage they can cause.

Listed below are some statistics from the NHTSA surrounding rear-end collisions. 

  • 29 percent of motor vehicle accidents are rear-end crashes;
  • 5 million people are involved in a rear-end collision annually;
  • 20 percent of victims from a rear-end collision experience whiplash;
  • Male drivers who are between the age of 25 and 34 were twice as likely to be in a rear-end collision;
  • 90 percent of rear-end collisions are caused by distracted drivers; and
  • 1,700 annually die on average every year from a rear-end collision

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Causes of Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of accidents since it can be caused by a multitude of factors such as tailgaiting. Iowa Code § 321.307 states it’s against traffic rules to follow another vehicle closely than is reasonable and prudent.

Tailgating is one of the main causes for a rear-end collisions, but it isn’t the only one. Other  common causes for rear-end collisions include:  

  • Sudden Stops – Drivers who constantly stop are at a high risk for a rear-end collision. The stop may have been made to avoid an accident, but because it gave the cars behind them so little warning a rear-end collision occurred. It’s the duty of the driver to pay attention to the road so they minimize constant stops.
  • Distracted Driving – The NHTSA states distracted driving is the most common cause of rear-end collisions. People who talk on the phone, text, change the radio or eat in the car are putting others at risk of a rear-end collision.
  • Visibility Problems – In some cases, a rear-end collision happens because it’s hard to see other cars or the road. The visibility problems could stem from inclement weather, foliage, covered street signs or little to no lighting.
  • Driving Under the Influence – It’s illegal in Iowa to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Inebriated drivers have slower reflexes and questionable judgment. A drunk driver is much more likely to get into any accident including a rear-end crash.
  • Faulty Brake Lights – Brake lights serve an important purpose. If a driver has faulty brake lights it could result in a rear-end collision. It’s the duty of the driver to replace or repair brake lights when necessary.

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Iowa Liability Laws for Rear-End Collisions

Iowa bases rear-end collision cases on the grounds of negligence. Negligence is when a person fails to uphold a “duty of care” which another reasonable person would. For example, if you text and drive you’re not upholding your “duty of care” to others by following traffic rules. This means you’re putting others at risk because of your negligent actions. If you’re involved in an accident, then the liability will be on you because you were negligent. 

In personal injury law the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s negligence caused their injuries. Since you’re filing a claim, you would be considered the plaintiff and the driver who hit you would be the defendant. You will have to prove the following elements in court if you’re filing a claim for your injuries: 

  • The defendant is required to uphold a duty of care by following traffic rules;
  • They intentionally and knowingly broke their duty of care;
  • You were injured as a result of them being negligent; and
  • You suffered because of your injury

The court will grant you a monetary settlement if you win your case. The settlement will be based on damages incurred after the injury. Damages are any losses you experienced because of your injury such as medical bills and loss of quality of life. 

Some damages you may recover in a rear-end collision case include: 

  • Medical bills for the past, present and future;
  • Vehicle repair costs;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Loss wages;
  • Rehabilitative costs;
  • Counseling costs;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Loss of quality of life; and
  • Loss of consortium

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What if I am Partially at Fault?

Iowa is a comparative fault state, meaning some of your settlement may decrease if you’re partially at fault. When you share fault, it’s referred to as proportionate responsibility. This doesn’t mean you won’t receive a settlement at all. Instead your settlement will reflect how much at fault the defendant was. 

Chain rear-end collisions tend to involve proportionate responsibility in personal injury. For example, one driver may have stopped suddenly, but the vehicle behind them didn’t break in time because they were distracted by a text message. This would mean not one, but two drivers share responsibility for the accident. 

If the court decides you’re partially at fault, you will “pay” for the percentage of your fault. This means a percentage will be retracted from your settlement. So, if you’re 15 percent at fault the defendant will only be required to pay 85 percent of all your damages. It’s important to know you will not receive a settlement if you’re over 50 percent at fault.

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Additional Resources

Car Crash Statistics – Visit the official website for Iowa’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to gain access to their motor vehicle statistics. Use the document to access data for distracted driving, interstate crashes, motorcycle accidents and fatal crashes.

Risk of Fatal Rear-End Collisions, Is There More to It Than Attention? – Visit a research document created by John M. Sullivan and Michael J. Flannigan of the University of Iowa. Access the document to read their research regarding rear-end collisions and their correlation of rear-end crashes to sunshine and daytime.

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Lawyer for Rear-End Collisions in West Des Moines, Iowa

If you or someone you know has been involved in a rear-end collision, it’s important you seek legal representation. Insurance companies can be a nightmare to deal with if you’re not experienced. Additionally, you could suffer from injuries that appear days or even weeks later. 

Call McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. to schedule a case consultation today. We handle rear-end collisions and other type of auto accident case. With our resources and work ethic, we will create a strong defense plan for you. Contact us by dialing (515) 279-9700 and speak to a personal injury attorney today.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. represents people throughout the Polk and Dallas County area including West Des Moines, Linden, Polk City, Adel, Ankeny, and Dexter.