You are on your way home from work or headed to the grocery store when it happens. You stop at a red light, and the vehicle that pulls up behind you doesn’t notice. They slam into you from behind, setting off your airbags and alarms.
Although it may not be as horrific as a crash between two vehicles traveling in opposite directions at high speeds, a rear-end crash is still a major incident. You may have broken bones, soft tissue injuries or even a traumatic brain injury. Your vehicle may need work to be safe to drive again. You may miss many days of work because of the crash.
As you start to come to terms with all of these potentially expensive consequences, you might find yourself wondering if you can get compensation for those losses. What rights do you have after a rear-end crash?
You can hold the other driver accountable
In all but the rarest of circumstances, such as when one driver intentionally stops short in front of another, someone who rear-ends another driver will typically be at fault for the crash. Distracted driving is a common cause of rear-end collisions. The police officer will include their understanding of the circumstances and their report, and you can likely file an insurance claim against the other driver for your bodily injury and property damage costs.
Unfortunately, you may learn that the driver who rear-ended you doesn’t carry enough insurance to cover all of your costs. Many people only carry what the state requires, which is often far too low for even moderate injuries, to say nothing of severe injuries.
If the damage to your vehicle is enough to affect the frame or the rear axle, your insurance company may declare the vehicle a total loss. Even replacing your vehicle may be outside of what you can do with their insurance coverage.
Sometimes, those rear-ended by someone else in traffic will need to file a civil lawsuit to fully recoup the losses they suffer from the collision. You shouldn’t have to absorb the cost caused by someone else’s irresponsible behavior, whether they drove too fast for the traffic conditions, followed you too close or gave into mobile phone distraction at the wheel. Understanding your rights after a rear-end crash can help you make the best of a frustrating situation.