What Can I Recover If I’m Hit In A Rear-End Motor Vehicle Accident
In 2019, more than 4.5 million Americans were injured in over 3 million motor vehicle accidents. Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that nearly one of every three accidents every year (29%) are rear-end collisions. The two most common injuries suffered in rear-end accidents—concussion and whiplash—can be debilitating and negatively affect your life and daily activities for weeks, months, or even permanently. What damages can you expect to recover if you’re hurt in a rear-end collision?
Establishing Fault in a Rear-End Motor Vehicle Accident
In most situations, the driver of the trailing vehicle will be responsible for any injuries suffered in a rear-end collision. That’s because drivers have a duty to monitor the road in front of them and travel at a speed that allows them to brake within a safe distance. In rare situations, such as where the driver of the lead car backs into the trailing car or has faulty or broken tail-lights, the lead driver may have some liability.
How Much Can I Expect to Receive in a Rear-End Collision Settlement?
The exact amount of recovery can vary significantly, based on a number of factors:
- The nature and extent of your injuries – What type of medical care will you need? How long will you need care? Will you be able to make a full recovery? If not, what impact will the injury have on your daily life?
- The extent to which you contributed to the cause of the accident – While many accidents involve the clear and exclusive liability of one party, it’s fairly common for both parties to have some liability. If a jury finds that you were partially responsible, any compensation you receive will be offset by the extent of your negligence.
The Types of Damages You Can Collect After a Rear-End Motor Vehicle Accident
As a general rule, there are two distinct types of damages to which you may be entitled after a car accident: economic and non-economic.
What Are Economic Damages?
Economic damages are tangible and relatively easy to ascertain. They represent actual out-of-pocket expenses or loss of assets:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses not covered by insurance – This includes the cost of hospitalization, treatment, rehabilitation and physical therapy, medications, and any medical devices necessary to maximize your return to full health.
- Loss of past, present, and future income because of your injuries
- Any loss, damage, or reduction in value of assets (such as a car) that result from the accident.
For settlement purposes, your attorney may bring in expert witnesses, who will testify regarding anticipated future losses and calculate their present value.
What Are Non-Economic Damages?
Non-economic damages are losses you actually suffer, but which are intangible and difficult to assign a dollar value.
- Physical pain and suffering – You are entitled to compensation if your injuries cause you to experience pain or discomfort in either the short term or the long term.
- Loss of enjoyment of life – If there were things you were able to do before your accident that you can’t do now, or can only do with pain, you have a right to monetary compensation. Those activities might include hobbies or athletic pursuits, or they may include basic activities of daily life, such as sitting, walking, running, or sleeping.
- Loss of companionship or consortium – If your injuries make it difficult or impossible to continue the close relationship you had with a spouse, parent, or child, you may be able to recover compensation for that loss.
Different courts take varying approaches when determining the amount of non-economic damages. Some judges direct the jury to award “reasonable” damages, whereas others may simply use a multiplier, taking the economic damages award and multiplying it by a factor from 1 to 10.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we know the impact a personal injury can have on every area of your life. If you suffer any injury because of the negligent acts of another person, send us an email or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.