New York Rear-End Car Accident Attorneys

A common type of car accident, rear-end collisions often occur when an individual tailgates another vehicle or fails to brake in time to avoid hitting the preceding car. According to the National Safety Council, in 2018, two-car collisions were the leading type of motor vehicle crash, with 9,670,000 crashes. Rear-end collisions represented almost half (45.8 percent) of those crashes.

If you've been hurt because of a rear-end accident, learn your legal rights today from a top-rated personal injury lawyer. We understand how frustrating and painful it can be to deal with injuries resulting from an accident that you couldn't avoid, which is why we fight for those who were needlessly injured in auto accidents. Our lawyers have obtained substantial verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including a $9.2 million verdict for a rear-end accident victim in a case that was tried before a Brooklyn jury.

In 2016, Block O'Toole & Murphy achieved six of the Top 10 Motor Vehicle Settlements in New York State, as published by the New York Law Journal.

The attorneys at Block O'Toole & Murphy are ready to help if you were injured in a rear-end car accident. Call our office today at 212-736-5300 or fill out our online contact form to learn how we can help you.

Determining Fault in Rear-End Crashes

When a rear-end accident occurs, many assume that the vehicle that crashed into the preceding car is always to blame. While this is true in many circumstances, the determination of fault can rely on a variety of factors.

All motorists are expected to drive with a basic duty of care for others on the road, which includes keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and those in front of you. Even if the car in front of you stops short, you are expected to have been keeping enough of a following distance that you could safely stop as well. With that being said, there are some accident circumstances in which you might be able to share liability with the other motorist involved, due to New York's comparative negligence rule (more on that below). Some of those situations may include:

  • A car recklessly changes lanes in front of another driver and brakes suddenly
  • A vehicle stopped in traffic was hit from behind and, as a result, hits the car in front of them
  • A car has a mechanical problem (such as brake lights being out), but continues to drive
  • A vehicle reverses quickly for no apparent reason

Liability in rear-end car accidents is not always as straightforward as it may seem. To discuss your legal options and who may be liable in your case, you should contact a New York car accident lawyer.

Comparative Negligence and No-Fault Rules in New York

New York abides by the pure comparative negligence rule, which is important to remember when bringing a claim in a rear-end car accident case. Comparative negligence is a legal concept that means both parties in a civil lawsuit can be found partially at fault for the issue at hand. For example, a motorist that rear-ends a car may be found liable for the accident, but under the comparative negligence rule, the driver of the first car could also be found liable if she did something that contributed to causing the accident, such as driving with broken tail lights or backing up without warning. If you have been rear-ended by another motorist, a personal injury lawyer can go over the facts of the case and help you determine if there is partial liability.

New York is also a no-fault state when it comes to auto insurance, meaning that any driver who has a vehicle registered and licensed in New York must have no-fault insurance coverage. According to New York's Department of Financial Services, no-fault insurance will cover any person injured in a motor vehicle accident up to $50,000, regardless of who was at fault. Note that this policy does not include coverage for damages to your vehicle; it is strictly personal injury.

New York's no-fault insurance policy can affect your ability to bring a personal injury lawsuit. In order to do so, your injuries must exceed a certain level of severity or your losses must exceed the monetary limits of the policy. Broken bones, significant disfigurement, and significant limitation of a body function or organ system are examples of injuries that would potentially allow you to bring a personal injury claim outside of the no-fault policy. For more information on New York's no-fault policy and to determine whether you are able to bring a personal injury lawsuit, it is in your best interest to speak to a New York car accident lawyer.

Common Causes of Rear-End Crashes

One of the most common causes of rear-end collisions is distracted driving. If a driver isn't paying full attention to the road and the car in front of him, it's more likely that he will not be prepared to stop if the preceding car suddenly slams on the brakes. Other frequent causes of rear-end collisions include:

  • Aggressive driving: If a motorist is tailgating you, he is probably more likely to rear-end you if you have to stop short.
  • Reckless driving: If a driver is being careless when it comes to following the rules of the road, there are any number of situations in which he could rear-end you, including speeding, changing lanes without checking properly beforehand, or illegal passing.
  • Drunk or intoxicated driving: If a driver is under the influence of any kind, it is increasingly likely that their depth perception or general judgment will be impaired, and the chances of them rear-ending your car increases.

You cannot always avoid being rear-ended by another car, but you can avoid being the person who causes a rear-end collision. Pay attention to the traffic ahead of you, and make sure you are following the rules of the road to avoid causing a rear-end collision.

Injuries from Rear-End Collisions

According to the National Safety Council, rear-end collisions account for 42.4 percent of all crashes that result in injuries, making them one of the leading causes of car accident injuries.

It's no wonder this is the case, because hitting a preceding car in a rear-end accident is equivalent to crashing into a solid surface at half the speed. For instance, if a car traveling at 30 miles per hour hits the vehicle in front of it, it would be equivalent, in terms of force, to hitting a wall at 15 miles per hour.

Although many rear-end accidents are only minor "fender benders," others can result in very serious injuries to drivers and passengers, including:

  • Death
  • Spinal cord injuries, including herniation and paralysis
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Scarring
  • Head trauma, including concussions
  • Soft tissue injuries, also known as whiplash

Whiplash is an especially common injury in rear-end collisions, since the intense force of the rear car colliding with yours can cause your head to snap violently back and forth. Whiplash is a soft tissue neck injury, meaning that it affects the vertebrae, muscles, and ligaments in the neck. Typically, there are no visible signs of whiplash, but symptoms can include neck pain and stiffness, loss of range of motion in the neck, headaches, and pain in the upper back or shoulders. The severity of soft tissue neck injuries varies, but they can worsen into chronic pain if not treated.

Whiplash has historically been viewed negatively in the courtroom. Because it is a soft tissue injury that largely manifests in the muscles and tendons, it is not outwardly visible and the severity of the injury is not easily proven. Therefore, many insurance companies are skeptical of claims for whiplash injuries. More recently, since the word has taken on a negative connotation, soft tissue injuries like whiplash are referred to as cervical strains, sprains, or hyperextension instead.

The possibility of suffering soft tissue injuries or any of the variety listed above is certainly frightening, but our goal is to inform. Many people do not seek proper medical treatment after a car accident because they do not realize they have been injured or do not see any visible evidence of injury. Even if this is the case and you do not feel any immediate pain, there could still be internal injuries that only worsen the longer you go without treatment. It is in your best interest to get examined by a medical professional as soon as possible after you have been in a car accident, to ensure that you know about all wounds and are getting proper treatment. From a legal standpoint, this is beneficial, because if you know the extent of your injuries and how they may affect your quality of life in the future, you can make a more valid and complete claim for your damages.

Free Consultation Available

Our attorneys work with accident reconstruction specialists who help us determine the sequence of events and establish fault for the crash. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a rear-end collision, our lawyers can determine if someone else was responsible for your injuries. To receive a free, no-obligation legal consultation from our New York car crash lawyers, fill out our contact form or call us at 212-736-5300 today.

Serving Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Nassau County, and all of New York State.

Case Results in Rear-End Crashes

Our experienced injury lawyers work hard to recover maximum compensation on behalf of our clients. In 2018, the New York Law Journal reported that nine of the 18 top settlements we achieved were motor vehicle accident cases. Notable verdicts and settlements in rear-end accident cases include:

  • $9,263,326 verdict in a Brooklyn case for a taxi passenger who was hurt when his cab was rear-ended by another taxi, causing it to hit the car in front of it
  • $4,250,000 settlement for a driver who suffered back and leg injuries after he was rear-ended by another vehicle in Westchester County
  • $4,100,000 verdict for a 54-year-old man who sustained multiple herniated discs after he was involved in a rear-end collision on the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge
  • $3,500,000 settlement for a bus driver who was rear-ended by an NYC sanitation truck in East New York, Brooklyn
  • $3,375,000 settlement for a driver who was rear-ended while stopped at an intersection in Sunset Park, Brooklyn
  • $3,369,066 jury verdict for a front seat passenger of a car which was hit from behind by another vehicle while it was stopped at a red traffic light in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
  • $3,000,000 settlement for a 36-year-old driver with spinal injuries after a snow plow hit the rear of his vehicle
  • $2,840,000 recovery for a client who sustained herniated discs with radiculopathy after a rear-end collision in Manhattan, New York
  • $2,750,000 settlement for a front seat passenger who required knee surgery after she was rear-ended by a van in the Bronx
  • $2,650,000 recovery for a driver who was rear-ended by another vehicle on the Belt Parkway in New York City
  • $2,625,000 settlement in a wrongful death case for children of an upstate New York couple who tragically passed away after their car was violently struck in the rear by a tractor-trailer
  • $2,500,000 settlement in a Bronx case for a 26-year-old woman involved in a rear-end collision with a distracted driver
  • $2,400,000 settlement in a Queens case for a man who sustained a serious neck injury after he was rear-ended by a commercial truck
  • $2,270,000 verdict for a bus passenger who sustained knee injuries after the bus was rear-ended by a truck in Crown Heights, Brooklyn
  • $2,000,000 settlement in a Nassau County case for a 19-year-old who had to undergo a lumbar interbody fusion after her car was hit from behind by another vehicle
  • $2,000,000 settlement in a Bronx case for a driver who suffered neck and shoulder injuries after his vehicle was rear-ended by a box truck attempting to switch lanes
  • $1,750,000 settlement for a driver who was stopped in traffic when he was rear-ended by a company-owned car on the Cross Island Expressway in Queens
  • $1,715,496 settlement for a client who was rear-ended at a red light in Queens, New York
  • $1,450,000 settlement for vehicle passenger who suffered back injuries that required surgery after being rear-ended by a van in the Bronx
  • $1,350,000 settlement in a Long Island case for a driver involved in a 3-car rear-end chain collision
  • $1,350,000 settlement for an NYC yellow cab driver who was stopped at a red light when his car was hit from behind by another vehicle in Midtown East, Manhattan
  • $1,250,000 settlement in a Queens case for a 48-year-old man who was rear-ended by a commercial truck at an intersection
  • $1,175,000 settlement for an administrative assistant who required spinal surgery after she was rear-ended on a Nassau County roadway, causing her to hit the vehicle in front of her

To speak with a qualified rear-end accident lawyer, please call 212-736-5300.

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