Common Causes of Rear-End Crashes
Although bad weather, road construction, poorly maintained roads, and other external factors often contribute to a rear-end wreck, in most cases, they are primarily the result of driver negligence. Some of the most common reasons rear-end collisions occur include:
- Tailgating: Following a driver too closely is one of the leading causes of rear-end accidents. When a driver is tailgating the vehicle in front of them, they leave themselves with far less opportunity to slow down when traffic suddenly gets heavy or the car in front of them has to come to a sudden stop.
- Reckless Driving: Tailgating is one form of reckless driving. Others include speeding excessively, weaving in and out of lanes, pulling out in front of someone with very little room, cutting someone off, making sharp turns, and failing to yield the right of way. All of these behaviors vastly increase the chances of rear-end wrecks and other types of motor vehicle accidents.
- Driving while Intoxicated: When someone is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they are in a chemically-altered state of mind. This usually results in very poor driving decisions. Some chemically-impaired motorists lose all inhibitions and drive recklessly. Others get drowsy and sometimes fall asleep at the wheel.
- Distracted Driving: In recent years, distracted driving has become a growing problem that is contributing to more and more accidents. Despite increased awareness about this issue, many motorists still have a hard time staying off of their cell phones while behind the wheel. Texting while driving, watching videos, and similar activities distract drivers in three ways; visually, manually, and cognitively. When a driver is focused on their cell phone instead of the road, it is easy not to notice a slowdown in traffic or another adverse road condition.
- Drowsy Driving: Another common cause of rear-end accidents is driving while drowsy or fatigued. As mentioned earlier, one reason this happens is because of drunk driving. This can also happen because of driving without having enough sleep, driving after working long hours, driving too many hours on the road, and driving with an untreated sleep apnea condition. Commercial truck drivers and others who drive for a living are particularly susceptible to driving while drowsy.
- Faulty Brakes: Rear-end wrecks can happen because of something as simple as worn brake pads. If a vehicle owner does not properly maintain their braking system, it can falter or fail at the wrong time. There are also times when an accident is caused by defective brakes or other vehicle product defects. In such cases, the party responsible may be the manufacturer, supplier, or distributor of the faulty vehicle or vehicle part.
Damages in Rear-End Accident Cases
Even rear-end wrecks that cause minor vehicle damage can result in moderate to severe injuries, such as:
- Whiplash and other soft-tissue injuries;
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Internal injuries.
Injuries resulting from the accident can result in high medical bills, cause you to miss time from work, and in some cases, the injury can be permanent and debilitating. If you are able to prove that another party was at fault for your injury, damages available may include:
- Property damage (e.g., damage to your vehicle);
- Medical expenses (both present and future);
- Lost wages;
- Loss of earning capacity;
- Pain and suffering;
- Emotional distress;
- Diminished quality of life;
- Loss of consortium.
In rare cases in which the conduct of the party responsible for the accident was especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are meant to punish the wrongdoer and prevent them and others from the same or similar acts in the future. In Virginia, punitive damages are capped at $350,000.
Those who are injured in a rear-end accident in Virginia must overcome the state’s “contributory negligence” legal standard to obtain compensation. Under contributory negligence, if an injured party is found to be even 1% at fault for the underlying accident, they can be barred from recovering damages. For this reason, it is extremely important to document as much detail as possible about the incident, take multiple photographs of the accident scene, obtain the contact information of any eyewitnesses, get immediate medical attention for your injuries, and retain the services of an experienced attorney as soon as possible in the process.
Speak With a Knowledgeable & Compassionate Virginia Auto Accident Attorney
At Schilling & Esposito, we understand that even a seemingly minor vehicle accident can cause a major disruption in your life. We handle all the complicated legal tasks, and we fight hard for every dollar of compensation you deserve, so you can focus on your recovery. You can reach us any time day or night, and if you are unable to come to our office, we can travel to your home, hospital, or wherever is convenient to discuss your case.
If you or someone close to you was injured in a rear-end wreck, call our office today at 804-261-1001 to schedule a free consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact form.
We accept all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only pay attorney fees if we win your case.