What to Do if a Car Hits You From Behind?

March 20, 2024

By Thomas McCutcheon

car accident attorney in Florence

It happens every day. You are sitting in traffic at a complete stop, and someone crashes into your car’s back. Maybe another driver suddenly stops and does not give you enough time to brake, and you slide into their back end. Either way, you now have to deal with the consequences of a rear-end accident.

After getting into a rear-end car accident, you need legal counsel. You can take advantage of the experience of a car accident attorney in Florence to get the compensation that you deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a rear-end car accident, call an attorney to learn more about your legal rights after a crash.

What Is a Rear-End Accident?

Rear-end accidents happen when the front of one vehicle collides with the back end of another vehicle. Rear-end accidents can lead to serious injuries that can have temporary and permanent effects, including bodily injuries, mental anguish, and property damage.

Rear-End Car Accident Law

Car accident law can be complex. After an accident, you might know that you deserve to recover damages but do not know how to collect what you believe you deserve. A car accident attorney can aid in your understanding of your rights to compensation and provide assistance access to the financial recovery you deserve.

The law allows car accident victims to collect certain damages to cover their losses. This compensation makes the victim whole and provides future financial support, and this is the best legal relief available following a serious injury.

How Is Fault Determined In a Rear-End Accident? 

Determining who is at fault for causing a car accident also determines who is responsible for paying for your injuries. Often, we blame the rear driver because they should have followed at a safe enough distance to avoid a collision.

However, in some rear-end car accidents, determining the fault can be more complicated than you might imagine.

The following examples are of when a front driver might cause rear-end accidents:

  • The front driver stops suddenly. 
  • The front driver has a broken taillight or another mechanical defect that does not signal to the back driver they have or intend to come to a stop. 

If you were the rear driver but not responsible for the accident, you needed a car accident attorney. A lawyer will investigate the case and present evidence that you are not responsible for any injuries or damages caused by the crash.

Next Steps After Getting Into a Rear-End Accident

What you do immediately after a rear-end car accident is important to the success of your case.

Make sure that you take the right steps. It can make the difference between getting the compensation you deserve, leaving money on the table, and delaying your financial recovery after an accident. Do the following after getting into a rear-end accident.

See a Doctor Immediately

Need Doctors Immediately

Go to an emergency department immediately after getting into a car accident. Your physical well-being is the most important thing after suffering an injury in a car crash. To ensure your physical well-being, you need a medical evaluation by a trained physician.

Undergoing a physical examination is crucial, especially as certain injuries may remain undetected without a thorough assessment. For example, a rear-end accident can cause internal bleeding or organ damage. Each of these kinds of injuries can lead to deadly outcomes.

File An Insurance Claim

After an accident, you will need to report the accident to your insurance company to ensure you comply with the terms of your policy. Failure to inform your insurance company that you were in a car crash can mean that you breached the terms of your policy and can end in higher premiums or cancellation of your policy.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney 

You should get legal representation immediately after a car accident. Your legal team will support you as you file insurance claims and work with debt collectors, medical providers, and other people or entities involved in the accident’s aftermath. An attorney will help protect your legal rights after a rear-end accident.

Common Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents

Most accidents happen because of negligence. Negligent drivers fail to drive safely. Examples of negligent driving can include:

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the most avoidable forms of negligent driving. A distracted driver takes their attention off driving. Common examples of distracted driving include texting and driving, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or fatigued driving.

Congested Traffic

Congested Traffic

Large cities might have problems with congested traffic. Especially during rush hour traffic, getting into a rear-end accident is more likely than at other times during the day.


Tailgating happens when one driver follows another too closely. The lead driver might not have enough time to stop their car if the vehicle behind them is following too closely. Tailgating makes rear-end accidents more likely to happen.


Speeding is one of the most common reasons for any type of accident, especially a rear-end crash. Speeding drivers are more likely to cause an accident because they lose control of their vehicles and crash into other travelers.

Poorly Maintained Roads 

Sometimes, car accidents, including rear-end accidents, are caused by poorly maintained roadways. State and local governments are responsible for maintaining safe roads. Cracked roads, potholes, or other poor road conditions can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle and lead to a rear-end accident.

If a poorly maintained road caused the accident, you might have a valid claim against a governmental entity. A car accident attorney can provide insight into your entitlement to compensation for losses resulting from an incident involving a state or local government entity.

How Common Are Rear-End Accidents? 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end accidents are the most common type of car accident nationwide. Many people suffer injuries in these crashes every day across the country, and the severity of rear-end collisions is often underestimated.

Common Injuries In Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end accidents can lead to temporary or permanent injuries. Despite whether you suffered an injury in a way that resolves quickly or is life-long, you will need to recover for your losses. An attorney can recover compensation if you suffered an injury in a rear-end car accident.

Common injuries rear-end accident victims can include:

  • Property damage 
  • Emotional trauma 
  • Mental anguish 
  • Whiplash 
  • Cuts and bruises 
  • Broken bones 
  • Disfigurement 
  • Short-term and long-term disability 
  • Internal injuries 
  • Amputation 
  • Back injuries 
  • Knee injuries 
  • Facial injuries 
  • Dislocations 
  • Fractures
  • Spinal fractures 
  • Wrongful death 

What Damages Are Available in Rear-End Crashes? 

Rear-End Crashes

The law allows car accident victims to recover for their accident-related losses. Traffic crash accidents typically cause either economic or non-economic damages.

Economic Damages 

Economic damages aim to compensate an accident victim for the harm they suffered due to the accident. Awarding economic damages to the victim puts the victim back in the position that they were in before the accident.

Examples of economic damages include:

  • Current and future medical bills and costs 
  • Current and future lost income
  • Lost earning capacity 
  • Property damage 

Non-Economic Damages 

Non-economic damages aim to help restore the victim to their position before the accident, addressing intangible losses. Proving non-economic damages is usually harder to prove than economic damage. A skilled accident attorney can secure compensation for your accident-related damages.

Examples of non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Emotional trauma
  • Mental anguish 
  • Loss of enjoyment of life 
  • Reduced quality of life 

Punitive Damages 

Punitive damages are not always available in every case. Usually, these damages only apply if the defendant’s conduct was intentional or grossly negligent. Punitive damages do not compensate the car accident victim. Instead, courts award punitive damages to punish the defendant for outrageous behavior.

Do I Have to Report a Rear-End Accident? 

If you are in a rear-end accident, the law in most states requires you to report it. Statutes particularly require drivers to make a police report if the accident ends in serious bodily injury or death.

Even if the accident only results in minor injuries or property damage, filing a police report is still a good idea. Having a police report ensures that you have an official narrative about the accident. It can protect you from misunderstandings among you, the other driver, or the insurance company.

How Can An Attorney Help Me?

car accident attorney

After a car accident, you just want life to return to normal. It can be tempting to represent yourself, accept the first settlement offer from the insurance company, and resolve your case.

However, an experienced car accident attorney can help increase the value of your rear-end car accident settlement. A car accident attorney can support you in the following ways.

Help With Settlement Negotiations

Negotiating with insurance companies can be intimidating and leave you feeling like you got a bad deal. That happens because insurance companies are for-profit businesses and are only concerned about their bottom line. An attorney protects you from any underhanded tactics that many insurance companies use to avoid paying claims.

Let You Focus On Your Recovery

Additionally, having a dedicated legal team advocating for you allows you to concentrate on your physical recovery. Retaining an attorney means entrusting the intricacies of the legal proceedings to their capable hands.

Your legal team can manage the adherence to procedural rules, handle communications with the insurance company and other parties, and address any other tasks that may divert your attention from the crucial recovery process.

Help You Access Medical Care

Access Medical Care

Moreover, certain law offices maintain affiliations with medical professionals. In certain instances, medical practitioners, including primary care physicians, may hesitate to collaborate with individuals involved in car accidents due to concerns about potential court involvement.

Your attorney can actively pursue medical care from professionals specializing in treating car accident victims, leveraging their connections to ensure you receive medical attention.

Work With You to Help Build Your Case

Furthermore, a skilled car accident attorney can construct a compelling case to secure the financial recovery you require and deserve. They possess the experience to identify any legal complexities that may be inherent in your case.

Beyond merely identifying issues, your attorney can address and resolve them favorably to your interests.

Represent You In Court

Facing a courtroom alone can be overwhelming. Most cases get resolved during the settlement phase, but your case will proceed to trial if the insurance company does not offer a satisfactory settlement offer.

If you cannot get what you think you deserve from an insurance company, you need an attorney to represent your case at trial. An attorney will present your case persuasively to a judge or jury.

The statute of limitations governs car accident victims, imposing a finite time frame to pursue damages following a crash. This legal deadline, set by the state, delineates the period that accident victims have to initiate legal action.

For example, in Alabama, the law grants car accident victims a two-year window after the accident to initiate a lawsuit seeking damages. Individuals involved in car accidents must be aware of and adhere to this statutory timeframe to safeguard their right to seek compensation for any resulting damages.

Florence Car Accident Attorney
Thomas W. McCutcheon Jr. | Joel R. Hamner, Florence Car Accident Attorney

Contact a Trusted Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has experienced an injury in a rear-end car accident, seeking legal counsel is essential. Reaching out to an experienced car accident attorney promptly is crucial to safeguard your legal rights after a crash.
Your legal team is poised to provide steadfast guidance throughout the process, ensuring you navigate the complexities and secure full and fair compensation for the damages incurred. Act swiftly to protect your rights and pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve.

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