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What Everyone Should Know About Rear-End Collisions

 Did you know that close to 40,000 rear-end collisions occurred on Arizona roads in 2021? This is a staggering percentage and means your chances of being involved in a rear-end collision may be significantly greater than you think.




Unfortunately, you may be one of the safest drivers on the road but this doesn’t really lower your chances of being involved in this type of vehicle accident. Most rear-end accidents are caused by another vehicle, and there’s little you can do about their driving habits. Instead, you should familiarize yourself with Arizona laws concerning read-end collisions. This way if you’re involved in an accident you’ll know what steps to take.

What to Do Immediately After a Rear-end Accident

Okay, your vehicle has been hit from behind. You’ve been jostled back and forth and your back bumper is dinged. Hopefully, this is the extent of your injuries and damage. Unfortunately, rear-end collisions can result in significant property damage and injuries. Fatalities can also occur, especially if a vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed. The force of the impact can be devastating.

So, after you’ve gathered your bearings and taken a deep breath, what are your next steps?

Stay at the Accident Scene

Don’t leave the scene of the accident, it’s illegal under Arizona state law. You risk being charged with a hit and run, and this can result in hefty fines and potential jail time. You may even temporarily lose your driving privileges, and this can be devastating. Now, you’re struggling to find a way to get to work and your other appointments.

Even if the other driver suggests going on your way, it’s still a good idea to report the accident to the police. The responding officer may want to keep you at the scene. If you and the other driver do agree that there’s no reason to stick around, at least exchange contact and insurance information. Issues can always pop up at a later date and it pays to be prepared.

Collect Evidence and Document the Accident

Chances are your rear-end collision is severe enough to warrant a police response. This also means eventually filing a claim with your insurance provider. To make the process go a little more smoothly, start documenting the accident. This includes taking pictures of any vehicle damage. Don’t forget to document any damage to the other driver’s vehicle. You may need this information if they file a claim against your insurance company.

If possible, photograph the area around the accident. For example, did the other driver run a stop sign or red light? You’ll want pictures of these traffic signals to help support your case.

Collecting evidence also means talking to any witnesses. You don’t need to get their statements, but at least collect their contact information. This way, your attorney and/or insurance adjuster can easily contact them when it’s time to resolve your case.

Seek Medical Attention

 You may feel fine, initially, with only a few minor scrapes and bruises. However, some injuries can take a while to start showing signs. You don’t want to file an injury claim only to learn you have additional complications. Once you’ve filed a claim it’s nearly impossible to make additions. Also, after accepting a settlement offer you legally cannot file an additional claim. This means you’re responsible for paying for any additional medical treatments.

Save all of your medical records, including bills and any payments you make. You’ll need the documentation to support your injury claim. In other words, don’t throw out any scraps of paper. You never know what might be important at a later date.

This also applies to any repairs you may make on your vehicle after the rear-end accident. You’ll need the repair invoices and proof of your payments to recover any money you spend.

Contact an Attorney

Your first impulse may be to call your insurance company but hold off. Your first call should be to an accident attorney. Let your attorney handle the settlement negotiations with your insurance company and that of the other driver.

Determining Fault in a Rear-End Accident

Arizona has pretty straightforward laws when it comes to determining fault in a rear-end collision. In most cases, the driver who hits the back end of another vehicle is automatically at fault. This applies if you’re rear-ended at a red light or driving on the road.

The reason for this is simple. In most cases, the other driver is not paying attention to what’s going on in front of them or failing to maintain a safe distance.

There are exceptions to automatically assigning fault to the driver who hits another vehicle. Arizona is a comparative fault state and this can affect your injury case. More specifically, the amount awarded to you for damages.

In a comparative fault state, the actions of everyone involved in the rear-end collision are evaluated. The judge or jury will weigh everyone's actions before placing a dollar amount on your case.

For example, you’re the lead vehicle and brake suddenly forcing the driver behind you to rear-end your car. Since you suddenly applied your brakes without warning, you may be assigned some of the blame for the accident. With an attorney by your side, you can argue how much blame you should bear. This can significantly affect the amount of your judgment.

Who's At Fault in Multiple Vehicle Rear-End Collisions

This type of accident and injury case can get complicated. Typically, the court will examine all of the evidence leading up to the crash. This can include why the front vehicle braked and if the following drivers were maintaining a safe distance. In most cases involving multiple vehicles, blame is divided among all drivers.

Talk to an Accident Attorney About Your Rear-End Collision Case

A rear-end collision case can seem relatively simple. Someone rear-ended your car and it’s not your fault. However, traffic accidents are rarely cut-and-dry. To protect your legal rights and ensure you receive full compensation, it’s always best to speak with an attorney about your case.


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