Rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries, even at relatively low speeds. The cause of this type of car crash is often negligent behavior on the part of the driver in the rear car. If you were in an accident after a motorist struck you from behind and sustained injuries, you might be able to recover damages for your injuries. A Melville, N.Y., rear-end collision lawyer can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Get the Facts on Rear-End Collisions
In 2019, rear-end collisions led to injuries in 595,000 accidents and fatalities in 2,346 crashes on U.S. roads. Though numerous factors can lead to rear-end collisions, tailgating is one of the most common. During the first seven months of 2022, following too closely contributed to 641 of 8,541 accidents in New York City. Other potential causes include:
- Drunk or drug-impaired driving
- Distracted driving
- Road rage and aggressive driving
- Drowsy or fatigued driving
Most rear-end collisions happen because the motorist in the trailing car engages in negligent behaviors. If a law enforcement officer tickets the driver who struck you, it provides you with one critical piece of evidence supporting your claim. However, proving negligence and winning a personal injury lawsuit requires more than just establishing the driver’s irresponsible behaviors.
You also need to be prepared for counterarguments. Not all rear-end collisions are entirely the rear driver’s fault. The defense will look for and be prepared to present evidence that pushes some of the blame on you. In some cases, the leading driver’s behavior contributes to or causes the rear-end collision. A driver who cuts off another driver and then slams on the brakes is liable if it causes an accident. Likewise, a motorist who backs into the front end of another vehicle is at fault in the collision. Backing unsafely contributed to 286 accidents in N.Y.C. between January and June 2022.
Negligence on the other driver’s part is not a foregone conclusion. If you pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you have the burden of proving fault. In the legal system, proving liability in a negligence case has the following components:
- Responsibility owed: You must establish that the other driver had a duty to engage in behaviors that would not cause you harm.
- Responsibility failure: You must demonstrate that the other driver failed in their responsibility to maintain safe driving behaviors.
- Accident causation: Even when the first two cases are true, it does not necessarily mean that the negligent behavior caused the accident, so it is up to you to prove that it did.
- Injury causation: Finally, you must show that you received injuries deserving compensation as a direct result of the accident.
The more evidence you can gather to support your claim, the more likely you will receive a favorable outcome.
Your proof should place as much responsibility as possible on the other driver while minimizing your own. Even when the facts in the case support your claim, you may make statements that the other side can use against you or overlook a key piece of evidence, thereby diminishing the damages you might recover. A Melville, N.Y., rear-end collision lawyer from Cellino Law is there to protect your rights and best interests. The legal professional also understands the evidence needed to build a strong case for you.
Know the Impacts of a Rear-End Collision
A serious rear-end collision can have catastrophic physical, emotional and financial consequences. The impacts can last a lifetime. Though not all these accidents have the same results, knowing the potential effects is critical when seeking fair compensation.
You are likely already dealing with your physical injuries, but it can be challenging to know the issues you may face in the future without input from relevant professionals, such as:
- Counselors and other mental health professionals
- Occupational therapists
- Physical therapists
It’s easy enough to add up the expenses you have already accumulated. It is much more challenging to calculate potential costs. An experienced personal injury attorney understands the possible long-term repercussions and works with relevant professionals to ascertain future costs in your situation. The lawyer also knows how to calculate the full extent of your damages.
New York personal injury law recognizes that not all harms have a direct economic expense. The legal system allows claimants to pursue monetary and non-economic damages, though the latter do not have tangible financial costs. If you file a legal claim to recover damages from a rear-end collision, you might be able to seek the following compensation:
- Medical and rehabilitation expenses, including those you may incur in the future
- Physical and mental health therapy expenses, both past and future
- Lost wages due to missed work
- Lost earnings due to a reduced work capacity
- Pain and suffering from your physical injuries
- Emotional anguish and loss of quality of life
A Melville, N.Y., rear-end collision lawyer gets to know you and how the accident impacts your overall health and well-being. Your Cellino Law attorney considers the full impact when calculating damages and building your case.
Understand the Relevant New York Laws
Establishing negligence and calculating damages are crucial elements in a legal personal injury claim. However, several laws can affect the outcome of your case.
New York’s no-fault auto insurance law requires insurance companies to offer and residents to purchase personal injury protection for every vehicle operating on the state’s roadways. Your insurance covers a minimum of $50,000 in medical expenses and lost wages when you sustain injuries in a crash, regardless of who is at fault.
The law does not prevent you from filing a legal claim. You can pursue a personal injury lawsuit if your expenses exceed your insurance limits or if you want to pursue non-economic costs. However, if you settle your claim with the insurance company, you cannot file a personal injury lawsuit. You may wish to consult with a Melville, N.Y., rear-end collision lawyer before you discuss your claim with your insurance company. The attorney will assess the facts of your case and provide you with available options.
Statute of Limitations
You may feel it’s in your best interests to wait until you have recovered to pursue your claim. However, the impacts of your injuries may last years, and you don’t have that much time to file. The statute of limitations is a deadline that states impose for taking legal action. In N.Y., the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is three years from the accident. Your attorney can calculate future damages, so the sooner you start the process, the quicker you resolve your claim.
Another law that significantly affects the outcome of your case is the comparative fault rule. This law requires consideration of your contribution to the accident before finalizing your settlement. If you have liability in the crash, your damage award is reduced by the same percentage as your degree of fault. Even if you are 65% liable, you are still eligible to receive 35% of the awarded settlement.
Get the Legal Support You Deserve
At Cellino Law, we’re invested in helping our clients obtain the settlement they deserve. Our Melville, N.Y., rear-end collision lawyers provide personalized legal counsel because we recognize your situation is as unique as you are. We know how stressful this time is for you, and we’re here to support you throughout the process. We won’t get paid until we win your case, so get in touch with us today to schedule a free case review.