When a vehicle fails to stop in time and strikes the back of another vehicle.
These collisions are often referred to as "rear-enders" and they have the potential to be more devastating than any other type of accident. That's because the impact can throw vehicle occupants forward violently, causing numerous types of injuries.
Many of the most common injuries sustained in a rear-end collision may not be fully noticeable for days or even weeks. Damage to the vehicle is often extensive, costing thousands of dollars to repair or requiring a vehicle to be declared a total loss.
In most cases, suing the negligent driver will be your best way to recover lost wages, medical expenses, and property damages.
Whiplash is a very common injury that is associated with rear-end car accidents.
This injury happens when the victim's head moves forward and back violently. In a study published by the National Council for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 65% of people involved in a total of 105 minor rear-end accidents experienced whiplash symptoms from a crash. Whiplash injuries typically go away after a few days to a few weeks, though symptoms may persist and permanent injuries can happen.
More serious rear-end accidents -such as those that tend to happen on interstate highways- result in much more serious injuries. It's common for victims to suffer injuries to the neck and spine, brain injuries, and back injuries in serious accidents.
Concussion injuries are frequently experienced by victims of rear-end accidents.
A concussion can result in minor symptoms including blurred vision, confusion, and memory loss. But more serious symptoms can happen. Sufferers may experience changes in mood and interests, vision loss, and mobility. Strokes and brain aneurysms can also happen. A variety of medical tests are required to monitor individuals who suffer traumatic brain injuries. The effects of a concussion can have profound, life-altering impacts.
Why Suing Might Be Necessary
Most of the time, rear-end accidents are quickly resolved by insurance adjusters. Most of the time, the at-fault driver is the one who hits the rear of the vehicle ahead. Claims like this are common, and many people settle without legal help. When your claim does not involve injury, only property damage, settling may be in your interest. But, if anyone is injured, you should consider filing a legal claim as soon as possible.
Pennsylvania Laws Impacting Claims
Pennsylvania has unique laws regarding automobile insurance. Drivers in the Commonwealth have the option of choosing between full tort and limited tort insurance policies. A full tort policy permits any driver to sue an at-fault driver for injuries, property damage, and pain and suffering.
A limited tort policy only allows lawsuits in serious situations for bodily injury. Drivers may sue for property damage but not pain and suffering. Those with limited tort policies must settle injury claims with their insurance provider. Regardless of the type of policy you have, it's in your best interest to seek legal council when you are involved in an accident that involves injury.
Negligence and At-Fault Determinations
When a Pennsylvania driver is found to be at-fault for an accident, they are said to be negligent. Pennsylvania follows a set of laws known as comparative negligence. This set of rules is used to assign a percentage of fault to all drivers involved in an accident. Pennsylvania is a 51% state, which means that only the least responsible person may sue. Each person involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault, and awards are reduced accordingly.
Negligence is sometimes assigned through police reports, which are useful to insurance adjusters when deciding who the at-fault driver is. The insurance adjusters for all parties involved will work together to come to a determination. They will use any available evidence, including accident photos, witness statements, and even your own words to determine a fault assessment.
The Process of a Lawsuit
Winning cases is never an easy task. One of the best reasons to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your claim is because we know the process. Every case is handled differently according to the facts, but in all matters, the process is complex and has time-limits, known as the statute of limitations.
In general, most injury claims from rear-end accidents must be filed within two years of the date of injury. Various other time limits can also apply based on the nature of the claim. Some cases may take years to resolve.
Filing Your Claim
The first step is to file a claim with your insurance company. You will need to give your insurance company lots of information about the accident, and this is one of the reasons it's a good idea to document the scene when you are in a crash.
Your insurance company will assign an adjuster who will ask you questions about the incident, inspect the vehicle, and explain the limits of your insurance policy. You do not have to accept any settlement from any insurance company, including your own. It is common for companies to offer an initial settlement that is far below the losses you will experience from a rear-end accident.
If you reject a settlement, the likelihood of filing a lawsuit has increased. It's in your best interest to contact our legal team before accepting a settlement. Our free consultation may reveal that you could be entitled to more than the initial offer.
What Happens When I Hire a Lawyer?
When you hire a firm like ours, the first thing we will do is interview you about the accident. We will want to know as many details as possible. Our team will contact other involved insurance companies, witnesses, and others to determine what happened. Our attorneys will identify any potential responsible parties and organize your claim to get you the best settlement.
Our attorneys will negotiate with other involved parties on your behalf. Our legal team has extensive experience successfully negotiating for clients in Pennsylvania.
The evidence discovery and negotiation process can be the most important and difficult part of the entire case. Our attorneys handle all of the process so you don't have to worry about missing a step.
When Does My Case Go To Court?
Only a very few personal injury cases go to court, and that's a good thing. In the majority of cases, your legal team will negotiate a fair settlement that covers your injuries and losses to the fullest extent. We won't force you to sign a settlement offer we know isn't adequate. If we cannot agree to a settlement with other involved parties, we will file a claim in court.
Any time a case is before a court, there is a very real risk of things not going your way. Fairly often, awards made by courts are substantially less than settlement offers you may receive. When a case goes to court, the process can drag on for years, and most settlement awards will be delayed accordingly.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Lawsuit?
The legal system in the United States is completely open to the public. Anyone can sue, but whether a court will hear your claim isn't guaranteed. You must be able to prove the evidence demonstrates that the other driver is at fault. Numerous documents must be filed with the courts, and each step of the process must be done according to time limits. Claims filed outside of the statute of limitations will not be heard by the courts.
Hiring legal representation to handle your personal injury claim means you won't have to handle the process yourself. Our attorneys will handle your claim and keep you informed about the next step of the process. Injured people who hire a lawyer to represent them may get five times larger settlements than people who represent themselves.
How We Can Help
The car accident lawyers with the Offices of Joel Kofsky want to help you get the settlement you deserve. When we take your case, we will fight on your behalf to make sure you are not assigned an inappropriate percentage of fault.
We prevent the insurance companies from using the law against you and pressuring you into a settlement that isn't fair. When you or a loved one have been injured in an accident, the last thing you want to do is spend hours in court. Our team will take care of the responsibilities so you can take care of yourself.
If you have any questions about an injury, even if you aren't sure whose fault it is, our free consultation is available to help you. When you hire our firm, you won't owe anything until we win your case.