Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accident in the U.S. Recent studies show that a full seven percent of fatal car wrecks are caused by drivers being rear-ended. For those lucky enough to survive, the pain comes in a different form—as $330 billion in property damage and nearly $40 billion in overall lost wages annually.
Money may be one of the first things on your mind when you’re in a serious crash. You may worry about paying rent and putting food on the table for your family, but there are other priorities to consider, too. Let an experienced car accident lawyer help you tackle all the things that need to be done after a wreck.
Steps to Take After Your Accident
It is easy to fly into a frenzy when your car is hit from behind, but try to remain calm and consider that you may not be thinking clearly. Rear-end collisions sometimes cause whiplash and create head and neck movement that can literally rattle your brain. It’s important to:
• Seek medical attention.
• Report the accident to the police.
• Take photos and video as evidence.
• Contact your insurance carrier.
• Obtain a copy of the accident report.
Without the question, the single most important thing you should do is be seen by an emergency room physician. Don’t assume that you’ll walk away unscathed. For example, some traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) don’t show up immediately, and you could lose cognitive function or even die if a TBI goes untreated.
Traumatic Brain Injury Dangers
There isn’t a single type of injury that occurs because of a single type of crash. Most people think of traumatic brain injury as being associated with high-speed crashes, but even low-impact rear-end collisions can cause a TBI.
Worse, the impact on your health may be delayed. Several months after a rear-end collision, cells in the brain may begin to shift in ways they haven’t in the past, leading to motor and cognitive disturbances.
Is the Other Driver Automatically Held Liable?
South Carolina uses what’s called a fault-based system for handling rear-end auto collisions. This means that the driver of the rear vehicle is almost always held responsible for your damages and it will be his or her insurance company that will pay.
This system is typically used to resolve minor vehicle accidents. It infers that most rear-end accidents are caused by tailgating, and therefore assigns blame to the driver who was traveling too close behind the front vehicle and failed to leave a safe distance between cars. In contrast, in no-fault states, your insurance may be required to pay all or part of the claim.
Speak to a Car Crash Lawyer About Your Right to Sue
Now you know what to do if you get rear-ended. You should consider suing the negligent party because brain injuries and other damages can leave you impaired, sometimes even for the rest of your life. Lawyers have won many large settlements for accident victims just like you.
Bert Louthian has been practicing law in Columbia with his father, Herb, since 1985. After receiving his Juris Doctorate from the University of South Carolina, Bert launched his legal career in his father’s firm. With 80 years of legal experience between them, Louthian Law, P.A. remains Family-Owned and Family-Focused.
Bert understands that when life goes wrong – when you or someone you love gets hurt or suffers a loss, it can feel like nothing will ever be right or fair again. He gets up and goes to work every day to prove that feeling wrong – and does everything in his power to make things right again.