Seattle Rear-end Accidents Lawyer
Rear-end accidents remain the most frequently occurring of all types of traffic collisions. In fact, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates about one-third of all traffic accidents across the nation each year are rear-end collisions. Fortunately, rear-end collisions aren’t as likely to be fatal as other types of accidents, but those involved still risk serious, sometimes severe injuries, especially when the crash occurs at a high speed.
Negligent motorists who make poor decisions behind the wheel, follow other vehicles too closely, or suffer a medical emergency while driving, put the passengers and drivers in the cars that they follow at risk for a rear-end accident.
If you live in the Greater Seattle area and have suffered injuries in a rear-end car accident, Washington law permits you to seek compensation for damages in civil court by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver(s). The qualified rear-end accident lawyers at Boohoff Law can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (877) 999-9999 for a free case evaluation to discuss the details of your rear-end accident.
About Boohoff Law, P.A.
The personal injury lawyers at Boohoff Law, P.A. remain dedicated to advocating for accident victims to get the compensation they deserve for injuries and losses related to their accident. The firm’s ongoing commitment to professional excellence and client service has led to the recovery of millions of dollars in damages for clients. Our skilled legal team has extensive experience with the investigation, negotiation, settlement, and litigation of personal injury claims, including those involving rear-end accidents.
We cannot guarantee specific results for your rear-end accident case, but we will diligently work to uncover all the relevant facts of your case, so we can build a strong case against those who caused you harm, giving you the best odds of a favorable outcome.
Attributes of Drivers in Rear-end Accidents
The high occurrence rate of rear-end crashes has made them a focal point of research for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA has devoted ample time and resources to study driver attributes in rear-end crashes, so they have a better idea of which things to hone in on to reduce frequency.
Below you will find some trends from NHTSA’s recent research about rear-end accidents:
- New teen drivers are most likely to strike another vehicle in a rear-end collision. As the age of the driver increases, the likelihood he or she will cause a rear-end accident decreases.
- The group most likely to cause rear-end accidents are young male drivers.
- Following too closely or tailgating is often cited as the major cause of a rear-end accident. This is not true. According to the NHTSA, the following vehicle maintains a safe distance in the vast majority of rear-end accidents.
- Most rear-end accidents happen when the lead vehicle is stopped in traffic.
- Weather does not play a role in the frequency of rear-end accidents; most take place in clear weather conditions.
Driver Behaviors Cause Rear-end Accidents
Many different scenarios might ignite the chain of events leading to a rear-end accident, but a driver’s actions behind the wheel matter the most. Determining liability in a traffic collision is often one of the most challenging things for courts and investigators, but rear-end accidents are a little more straightforward. Although exceptions exist, the driver in the following vehicles causes a rear-end accident in the vast majority of cases.
Some specific driver behaviors that might lead a driver to cause a rear-end collision include:
- Distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, 85 percent of rear-end accidents are a result of distracted drivers. Many states have distracted driving laws that allow some cell phone use. Washington, however, has one of the strictest set of distracted driving laws in the nation. In fact, those who drive passenger vehicles in Washington have the same limitations as federal law sets for commercial vehicle drivers. Under Washington law, drivers can only use their phones hands-free and initiate use with one touch or swipe. When not operating their vehicle, drivers must be parked or away from traffic. The law only makes an exception for those who need to call emergency services. Cell phones are not the only distractions that might lead to a rear-end accident. Drivers who are eating, drinking, watching events outside of their vehicle, reaching for something, combing hair, putting on makeup, and a host of other things, can cause a rear-end accident, too.
- Driving under the influence. Getting behind the wheel after using drugs or consuming alcohol is not only illegal, but it can result in dangerous traffic collisions. Controlled substances impair a person so they cannot accurately judge space and time. This makes it difficult for drivers who are under the influence to appropriately react to the vehicle in front of them at a stoplight, in heavy traffic, or if the vehicle makes a quick maneuver. It also means drivers might not allow enough space between the front of their vehicle and the rear of the vehicle that they are following. Driving under the influence doesn’t automatically cause a rear-end accident, but it does make it more likely.
- Drowsy driving. Drivers who haven’t slept or regularly deprive themselves of sleep risk causing a rear-end collision because they are drowsy or fatigued. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is the federal agency responsible for implementing, monitoring, enforcing regulations for the trucking industry, has researched the impact of sleep deprivation on driving. The FMCSA found that 18 hours without sleep impairs a driver to the same extent as a 0.08 blood or breath alcohol level. This makes drowsy driving as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleeping motorists can nod off for a few seconds or fall asleep at the wheel, causing them to crash into the car they are following. A driver who is sleeping has no idea what is ahead, so he or she doesn’t try to stop or slow down to avoid the accident. Drowsy driving can cause high-speed rear-end collisions that result in catastrophic injuries and potential fatalities, especially for any backseat passengers.
Rear-end Accidents Can Lead to Severe Injuries
Many rear-end collisions are minor fender-benders that do little property damage and result in minor injuries, if any at all. Yet, when the following vehicle is traveling at a high speed, or a higher speed than the lead vehicle, the force of impact is much greater, resulting in more severe and sometimes fatal injuries.
Passengers riding in the backseat are especially at risk for severe injury and fatality when a high speed rear-end collision occurs, especially in smaller vehicles without the protection of a large trunk or rear storage area like in an SUV or pickup truck. Some of the injuries a rear-end accident victim might suffer include:
Concussions, which are technically mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), are commonplace when a car accident occurs, even when someone doesn’t directly hit their head on an object. A simple jolt to the head from the impact of a rear-end accident can cause a brain injury. Passengers might hit their head on the seat in front of them, the dashboard, or the windshield, and drivers might bump their head on the steering wheel, especially if their airbag doesn’t deploy.
When accident victims suffer a moderate to severe TBI, they face permanent brain damage that can cause lifelong problems with memory, cognitive skills, and motor skills. Some TBI victims also suffer from anxiety, depression, increased aggression, and personality changes. Babies, toddlers, and young children who experience a TBI might suffer stunted development, which can affect them for life.
Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of whiplash, a soft tissue neck injury. During a rear-end accident, the neck rapidly flexes and extends, which can cause sprains and strains, as well as tears in the soft tissue. Those who suffer whiplash might also suffer nerve damage. Symptoms might not show up for hours, days, or weeks.
Some common whiplash symptoms you need to watch out for after a rear-end accident include:
- Stiffness and pain in and near the neck
- Frequent headaches
- Dizzy spells
- Abnormal sensations in the neck such as a burning or prickling feeling
- Shoulder and upper back pain
- Difficulty with focus
- Struggles with memory
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Excessive fatigue
- Anxiety and depression
The force of impact from a severe rear-end accident can cause a person’s body to move around in many unnatural positions. This can lead to excruciatingly painful and debilitating back injuries. The specifics of back injuries vary widely, as do their severity, but they generally include fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, and slipped discs. Accident victims might have to undergo corrective surgery to fuse things back together or implant devices, screws, or plates.
Even after surgeons do their best to repair and correct a back injury, victims can suffer indefinite chronic pain and discomfort. This requires accident victims to spend money on costly pain management treatment and techniques, many of which are unhealthy, such as prescription opioids and cortisone shots. Back injuries are among the most uncomfortable of all types of injuries. In some cases, victims cannot find comfort standing, sitting, or lying down, creating a very depressing existing for some.
Recovering Damages After a Seattle Rear-end Accident
When you sustain injuries after another driver rear-ended your vehicle, Washington law entitles you to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver as long as you take legal action within the three-year statute of limitations. If your attorney negotiates a settlement agreement or the court rules in your favor, you might receive compensation for the following losses incurred as a result of your injuries:
- Medical expenses from ambulance rides, emergency response teams, emergency room visits, radiology, hospitalization, surgery, followup doctor visits, and prescription medication
- Future medical treatment costs when a rear-end accident results in a severe injury requiring months or years of recovery, or continued medical treatment for a permanent disability
- Rehabilitation costs including time with specialists who can help an accident victim recover lost function or learn how to cope with obstacles related to injuries (e.g. physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy)
- Lost wages and benefits as a result of the accident, treatment, and recovery preventing an accident victim from working
- Lost earning capacity when rear-end accidents cause catastrophic injuries prohibiting an accident victim from returning to their job or from seeking employment in the future
- Other expenses that a household might accrue because the accident victim can no longer contribute to maintaining the household, including costs for a handyman, snow removal service, lawn care service, cleaning service, and childcare.
- Physical pain and suffering from injuries
- Emotional trauma from the injuries
- Loss of quality of life when applicable
- Loss of consortium with a spouse when applicable
- Other non-economic costs that might apply to a particular case
Get the Legal Help You Need After a Seattle Rear-end Accident
At Boohoff Law, we are empathetic to the challenges that come with a severe accident injury. We are here to advocate for you during this difficult time and help you get the compensation you deserve from injuries related to your rear-end accident. When the insurance company or defense won’t offer fair compensation, we will aggressively litigate your case in the courtroom.
If you, your child, or another loved one has sustained injuries in a rear-end accident, contact Boohoff Law online or at (877) 999-9999 for a free case evaluation to discuss the details surrounding your accident and injuries with one of our Seattle rear-end accident attorneys. If you choose Boohoff Law to represent you in your accident injury claim, we handle personal injury claims on contingency, which means you don’t pay attorney fees unless we secure a settlement or verdict in your favor.
2200 6th Avenue, Suite 768
Seattle, WA 98121