Rear-End Collisions Attorney
Rear-end collisions can range from minor bumps that result in no damage to major crashes that cause serious injuries. And when expensive repairs or personal injuries are the result, disputes about who was to blame for the collision sometimes end up being settled in courtrooms.
Texas observes proportionate responsibility when determining who is at fault for a collision. That means that a driver who rear-ends another driver may not be found 100 percent at fault. A party in a case who is found more than 50 percent at fault, however, is barred from collecting any damages.
Staged Accident Scams in Austin
Many drivers are caught off-guard by scams in which a group of cars forces them into a rear-end crash. And according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Houston is one city known for this type of orchestrated fraud, which often involves career criminals.
Typically, a group traveling in separate cars will pick out a target on the highway – often a brand new or expensive car, a commercial vehicle, or a family vehicle carrying children as passengers. These criminals are looking for vehicles that are likely to have good insurance policies.
The cars will surround an unsuspecting driver, and a party to the scam will swerve in front of the target vehicle and brake suddenly, causing a car crash. Usually, that car will have multiple occupants, all of whom will allege injuries and attempt to collect a payout from the victim’s insurance.
These fraudulent acts can be deadly. In 1997, a husband and wife and their two-year-old child were killed in a crash staged by insurance scammers. In some staged accident rings, investigators have found health care providers and attorneys were involved, supporting the criminals’ false claims of injuries.
Causes of Rear-end Crashes in Texas
In many rear-end crashes, the driver of the rear car simply failed to pay attention. A driver who is preoccupied or daydreaming may not recognize that a car ahead is stopped until it’s too late to avoid a crash.
Other risk factors for a rear-end crash include:
- Following too closely
- Failing to account for slick roads
- Drug or alcohol impairment.
Texas has what’s known as a Sudden Emergency Doctrine, which is often cited as a defense in rear-end collision cases. The doctrine means that a driver made a decision that outside of an emergency would not have been a prudent action, and that the emergency was not foreseeable. For example, if a driver is following another car at a safe distance, and his brakes fail when he tries to stop, he may be unable to do anything but turn off the engine and hit the car in front of him.
Sometimes, a court finds that a party has no grounds to claim an emergency doctrine. Usually, that’s because there are many conditions and activities that drivers are assumed to know can lead to a crash – such as driving at high speeds when standing water is on the road. A driver who loses control of his car and hydroplanes, causing a crash, likely will be unable to convince the court that a true emergency preceded that event.
Injuries in Austin Read-end Crashes
Whiplash is an injury that’s found almost exclusively in victims of rear-end collisions. What happens is in the foremost car, when hit with enough force, the driver or occupants’ spines absorb a lot of that impact, as energy travels through up the spine, causing a snapping motion in the neck. This motion can injure muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and it can even result in mild brain injury, from the force of the brain moving inside the skull.
People suffering from whiplash may not at first realize the severity of their symptoms. The frightening experience of being in a crash releases adrenaline, which can mask the symptoms of injury.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end crash, it’s important to seek a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible. Early documentation of your injuries can help support your case, if you’re seeking compensation from the other parties involved.
The Evans & Herlihy Law Firm has successfully represented people and families injured in collisions, helping them achieve the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your no-obligation consultation, either through our online form or by phone: 1-855-414-1012.