I Was Rear-Ended. Should I Get a Lawyer?
Accidents involving rear-end collisions can be stressful, and being rear-ended is particularly scary. There is often no way for the person who gets hit to avoid these accidents.
There is a possibility that your car may be severely damaged or even totaled. Injuries like whiplash, persistent back pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, or concussions can result in severe symptoms. Accidents involving rear-end collisions at high speeds may even result in catastrophic injuries.
After being rear-ended, you may wonder if you should hire a lawyer. The answer is yes. There are several factors that a lawyer can help you determine, including the severity of the accident, the fault, and the complexity of the case.
Rear-End Collisions: Who’s at Fault?
In most cases, the driver who rear-ended you will be responsible for the accident. This is because the law requires drivers to maintain a safe distance between themselves and the car in front. The driver behind you should trail far enough behind you to safely stop, even if you had to slam on the brakes.
Arizona uses a fault-based or at-fault system, as opposed to a no-fault system where each injured party turns to their own insurance coverage. After you decide to hire a car accident lawyer, it’s crucial that you file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Always report an accident to your insurance company, regardless of the circumstances. However, your insurer can be tricky, just like other companies. Have a skilled car accident attorney handle these communications.
Supporting Your Claim with Evidence
If you have photos of the accident scene, always provide them to your attorney along with the driver’s name and license plate number. If you need immediate transport to the hospital after the accident and can’t collect photos or driver information, your lawyer can gather what they need to support your case. They can also request a copy of the accident report from your local police department.
Moreover, your lawyer will need to provide evidence of vehicle damage and the cost of your injuries. They must collect and submit medical bills, proof of time missed from work, and other evidence.
Collecting and submitting evidence takes time — time you don’t have while undergoing treatment and suffering from injury-related symptoms. Let your attorney handle this process.
What Settlement Amount Can I Expect After a Rear-End Collision?
Without reviewing your specific circumstances, a rear-end collision settlement involves too many variables for an accurate estimate. Your original settlement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company may range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to the full limits of the insurance policy, depending on how badly your car was damaged and how badly you and any passengers suffered an injury. Settlements are also affected by other factors, such as pre-existing conditions and ongoing medical care.
Consult a car accident lawyer to learn how much your claim might be worth.
Settlements and Car Insurance Minimums
As car insurance minimums vary from state to state, your coverage for property damage to your vehicle may be far less than its market value. For example, Arizona and New Mexico only require $10,000 of property damage coverage.
Most states, including Arizona, have a bodily injury threshold of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. If someone rear-ended you with four people in your vehicle, and all four sustained moderate to severe injuries, each person can receive far less than $25,000 in coverage to cover their medical bills and other costs.
The Insurance Company Isn’t Looking Out for You
Auto insurance companies typically offer settlements far below the actual cost of the accident victim’s medical bills, car repair, replacement costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
You will likely receive an inadequate settlement offer if you deal with a car insurance company on your own. According to a report by the Insurance Research Council, injured accident victims receive settlement offers three times higher than those without attorneys.
Can I Collect Compensation?
After an accident, you have many things to do — and many of them are expensive. An attorney will fight for you to win as much compensation as possible.
These expenses, for example, can be covered:
- Auto repairs
- Doctor’s appointments
- Physical therapy
- Future medical expenses
In addition, you may seek compensation for the time you missed from work, for your pain and suffering, or any reduced earning capacity. Without a lawyer, receiving all the compensation you deserve is much more difficult. You should therefore ensure you have legal representation on your side.
Isn’t My Insurance Going to Cover My Costs?
Your insurance company may cover most of the costs related to an injury-related accident. Despite this, insurance companies are for-profit, meaning that they are in the business of making money and could try to pay you the least amount possible.
The 10 Most Common Insurance Tricks for Rear-End Accidents
Here are some ways your insurance company might avoid giving you full and just compensation.
Your insurance company may, for example:
- Deny your claim outright, possibly denying the policyholder’s liability. They might not even tell you why they denied you, then ignore your calls.
- Use surveillance to gather evidence against you. Insurance investigators will check your social media accounts and review your medical treatment records.
- Act as if they don’t have to pay for pain and suffering.
- Deny that the accident caused your injuries.
- Attempt to subrogate, which is when the company says you must pay them back after a settlement.
- Get you to accept a cheap and quick settlement by feigning concern.
- Count medical bills too low. Anesthesiologists, doctors, surgeons, ambulances, hospitals, and more will send you information. Don’t let your insurance company ignore any medical bills.
- Demand a recorded statement or medical records within a specified timeframe. Don’t let them pressure you into doing either until you have spoken with a lawyer. Insurance companies may ask you questions in a way that leads you to make false or incriminating statements. Additionally, if they give you a short deadline for medical records, you may not know the full extent of your injuries. They might try to reduce your compensation by forced deadlines.
- Try to avoid paying the full amount if they believe you won’t take your case to trial.
Insurance companies have tried many tricks on accident victims. Dealing with an insurance company will be much easier if you have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. This shows the insurance company you mean business.
How Do I Get Compensation?
You won’t have to do much if you hire an attorney! From start to finish, a lawyer will assist you with your case. All evidence should be organized and preserved by your lawyer. In addition, they will use their experience to fight back against insurance company tactics effectively.
Additionally, an attorney will determine who is responsible for the accident and calculate the value of your claim. The at-fault driver should cover injuries and other damages. Insurance, however, will only cover the driver’s policy limits. For expenses not covered by insurance, a lawyer will also consider the possibility of suing the at-fault driver personally or determining whether other parties share liability.
If a lawsuit is necessary, a lawyer can file one on your behalf and take the case to court. To ensure you win the most compensation, find a motor vehicle accident lawyer.
Can I Do Anything Else to Ensure That My Case Is Strong?
In addition to hiring legal professionals to help build your case,here are a few things you can do to strengthen your position.
- Follow all your doctor’s orders: This means taking prescribed medication, attending follow-up appointments, and undergoing all requested tests. Without this action, your injury may appear less severe than you claim.
- Keep all accident documentation: You should include everything related to your medical care, your insurance company, and any photographs and artifacts from the accident that prove what you are saying is true.
- Keep conversations about your accident and injuries to a minimum: Avoid well-meaning phrases like “Don’t worry about it,” “I’m so sorry,” and “Oh, it wasn’t your fault” immediately after an accident. Never tell the insurance company that you “feel fine.”
A lawyer should always be present when you give a statement to insurance adjusters.
After an accident, hiring a lawyer is the best thing you can do for your case. Even if a rear-end crash feels minor to some people, protect your right to compensation. Take the situation seriously by hiring legal help.
Do I Need an Attorney Right After My Accident?
Make sure you hire an attorney as soon as possible. In a car accident, the at-fault party will contact their insurance provider, who will then contact you. What is the significance of this?
Insurance companies have teams working angles to ensure they pay as little as possible. Consequently, their goal is to look out for their interests, not yours. The easiest way for them to achieve this is to get you to accept a low offer or make sure you do not file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.
Contact an experienced car accident law firm for a consultation to determine how much a car accident attorney can help. Most accident lawyers offer a free case review to help accident victims understand all their legal options.
When you are recovering from a rear-end accident injury, fighting insurance companies on your own can feel near-impossible, even in a seemingly straightforward rear-end collision case. Claims are much easier to handle when you hire a qualified attorney.
A lawyer can also speed up the settlement process and maximize your family’s compensation after a rear-end collision. Furthermore, you don’t pay most firms a penny unless they recover money for you.
Legal knowledge and assistance are even more important if you (or someone you know) have suffered permanent injury or have been away from work, school, or home duties for an extended time.
If any of the following happened during your accident, hire an attorney:
- You suffered an injury that required medical treatment.
- Hospitalization was necessary as a result of your injury.
- There was an injury to a family member in your vehicle.
- The accident happened in a construction zone.
- You lost a loved one in a car accident, and someone else was to blame.
A rear-end accident claim becomes even more complicated if:
- Your losses are worth several thousand dollars or more.
- Someone disputes liability for the accident.
- There might be more than one liable party.
- Your accident involved a commercial or rideshare vehicle.
You may need a lawyer to deal with your own insurance company.
Consult a lawyer if:
- You need to contact your insurance company and inform them of the accident and injuries.
- The driver fled the scene.
- The driver who hit you does not have insurance or has minimal insurance.
- You don’t understand the terms of your insurance policy.
- Your insurance company denies your coverage, refuses to pay before investigating, or does not offer you your due compensation, you suspect it is acting in bad faith.
- There is strange behavior from your insurer, such as ignoring you or being unkind or aggressive.
Contacting an experienced car accident attorney after a rear-end accident is the best thing you can do to protect your rights. Do not risk losing the money you need and deserve.