Rear-end accidents are among the most common types of automobile collisions. Though common, rear-end accidents can cause lifelong injuries. Whiplash, back injuries, lacerations, bruising, and other serious injuries can result. Even if you are a responsible driver, you could still become the victim of a rear-end accident caused by a negligent driver who doesn’t slow down in time to avoid colliding with you.
Causes of Rear-End Accidents in New Mexico
Generally, the rear-end driver who strikes another vehicle from behind is at-fault for the collision. If a negligent driver struck you while stopped at a stop sign, slowing down in traffic, or waiting at a red light, you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Under New Mexico law, car accident victims have a right to pursue multiple damages from the party who caused their injuries. Contact the New Mexico car accident attorneys at Hunt Law to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you.
Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents are most common at stop-and-go intersections with traffic lights or stop signs. However, they can also happen on busy roads like highways and freeways when traffic slows down and drivers fail to pay attention to the vehicles in front of them. Large vehicles take longer to come to a complete stop. Rear-end accidents involving commercial vehicles can be particularly dangerous due to the weight and size of the vehicle.
When a truck driver’s brakes are not working correctly, or the driver isn’t paying attention, he or she may be unable to stop the truck in time. In other cases, a speeding driver may rear-end another driver while turning onto a side street. Other types of driver negligence that can lead to rear-end accidents include the following:
- Driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol
- Drowsy driving
- Distracted driving
- Brake failure
- Speeding, road racing, and other types of reckless driving
- Other motor vehicle defects or vehicle maintenance problems
Injuries Commonly Sustained in Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end accidents can be categorized as fender benders and written off as low impact. However, even at relatively low speeds, victims can sustain life-altering injuries. Whiplash is a common injury caused by rear-end accidents. When the vehicle behind the driver collides with the driver, the driver or passenger’s head may snap forward and backward quickly, causing damage to the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the neck and upper back. Some whiplash injuries are mild and heal within a few weeks, while others are severe and require ongoing medical treatment and rehabilitation. Whiplash can be so significant and painful that victims may not be able to recover the full mobility of their necks. Other injuries caused by rear-end accidents include the following:
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Organ damage
- Bone fractures
- Headaches and migraines
- Head and neck pain
Determining Liability in a Rear-End Accident in New Mexico
Whether you pursue compensation through an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, you must prove that the plaintiff is at fault for your injuries. Generally, the driver of the rear vehicle is at fault in rear-end collisions. Drivers are legally obligated to slow down when the vehicle in front of them is slowing down. When they are not paying attention to the vehicle in front of them, they are breaching the duty of care they owe everyone else on the road. However, there are some instances where the driver in front could be at fault for the accident. For example, the driver in front may be liable if the brake lights were out and the driver didn’t fix them. An accident could occur if the driver slammed on the brakes unexpectedly, or the driver knew the brake lights weren’t working correctly.
If you were rear-ended at an intersection where you were stopped, you might assume that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay your claim because the case is straightforward. However, insurance companies are for-profit companies and may try to hold you partially responsible. They may refuse your claim or reduce your claim. Working with an attorney can help you investigate your case and gather evidence that the other party is at fault to recover the compensation you deserve.
How Much Is a Rear-End Collision Case Worth?
You can pursue compensation through an insurance settlement or a personal injury lawsuit if you’ve been seriously injured in a rear-end accident. You may be wondering how much your claim is worth. The value of your claim depends on multiple factors, including the severity of your injuries. If you have suffered significant injuries that have caused pain and limited your ability to earn a living, your claim may be more valuable. In personal injury lawsuits, plaintiffs can pursue economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover easily quantifiable costs such as your current and future medical expenses, property damage, lost income, loss of earning capacity, and other damages related to your injuries.
You can also pursue non-economic damages for the pain and suffering you’ve endured. If you pursue an insurance settlement, the insurance company may quickly offer you a settlement amount after the accident. First-time settlement amounts are usually far too low to cover your expenses, especially if you’ve been seriously injured. You may not know the full picture of all the medical expenses you will incur. Working with an attorney early on in your case is an important way to protect yourself. Your attorney can work with financial experts to determine an accurate estimate of the value of your case and begin negotiating with the defendant or insurance company on your behalf.
Contact a New Mexico Car Accident Attorney
If you or your loved one have been seriously injured in a rear-end car accident that wasn’t your fault, you aren’t alone. You will benefit from working with an experienced personal injury attorney who can advocate for you to obtain the most compensation possible for your injuries. The attorneys at Hunt Law have a proven track record of successfully obtaining millions of dollars on behalf of car accident victims. Don’t delay; contact Hunt Law today to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation and learn more about how we can advocate for you.