How Can an Attorney Help With a Rear-End Collision in Burlington, Vermont?

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How Can an Attorney Help With a Rear-End Collision in Burlington, Vermont - rear end collision

Burlington, VT Rear-End Collision Lawyer

Being in a rear-end collision can cause severe physical and financial harm. A car accident victim could have injuries that cause tremendous pain and crashes often cause economic hardship on top of that. The pain, stress, and anxiety can last for weeks, months, or more. When a Burlington, Vermont car accident results in a fatality, the surviving family is left to struggle with grief and the possible loss of the family's financial provider. 

While Vermont Highway Safety Alliance and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan have seen a reduction in overall crash trends, 2018 saw 61 fatal crashes, 214 serious injury crashes, and 6,072 minor injury crashes. The toll of these crashes is the cost of medical treatment, lost wages, and the pain and suffering of the injured. 

When you're in a rear-end collision, Burlington area lawyers working at Morgan & Morgan are your solution to getting the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver. Our personal injury lawyers are standing by to help you during this trying time. We have a tremendous track record for recovering significant damages for our clients. Below are some factors that will be at play in making your claim successful with the help of our attorneys. 

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

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  • How is fault proven in a rear-end collision?

    Our attorneys can help by conducting a thorough investigation of the accident to help determine fault, including:

    • Looking at the position of the vehicles
    • Reviewing any traffic citations
    • Interviewing witnesses
    • Examining physical evidence like photos, videos, and police reports

    Sometimes evidence that proves fault is not submitted to the insurance company, or the adjusters may overlook signs that determine fault. That's why it's crucial to get the help of an attorney if you're not getting satisfaction on your own. We will investigate and reconstruct the accident based on the evidence and witness statements.

    Our resources include accident reconstructionists, forensic professionals, and medical experts that will assist in building a rock-solid case to ensure you get the compensation you need. 

  • What kind of compensation can I get for a rear-end collision that wasn't my fault?

    With the help of our personal injury lawyers, you may be able to recover compensation for the following:

    • Medical expenses
    • Physical therapy costs
    • Damage to your vehicle and property
    • Pain and suffering
    • Lost wages
    • Lost earning capacity
    • Reduced quality of life
    • Wrongful death in the case of a fatality
  • How do I file a lawsuit for a rear-end collision?

    Your lawyer will work with you to ensure that a claim or lawsuit is filed promptly in the proper jurisdiction to ensure critical deadlines aren't missed. We'll work to identify the correct party to go after. In cases that include multiple vehicles and other injured individuals, it's often more complex than just suing one individual. 

  • What are some common causes of rear-end collisions?

    Here are some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions:

    Drivers tailgating other vehicles - Tailgating is a recipe for disaster. When another driver follows a driver that's ahead of them too closely, they severely limit the reaction time they'll have should the lead driver need to slow down or slam on the brakes suddenly. The result is a rear-end collision that's almost certainly to be the tailgater's fault. 

    Distracted driving accidents - Distracted drivers aren't paying attention to the road. Instead, they might be fiddling with the GPS, eating, talking to passengers, or reading and sending text messages. Vermont prohibits the use of handheld portable electronic devices while driving. If the driver that rear-ended you was using their cellphone, they are likely to be liable for your damages. We can make sure they are held accountable.  

    Impaired driving accidents - Drivers who drink too much alcohol or use illegal or dangerous prescription drugs have slow reflexes, impaired judgment, and delayed responses to hazards. Impaired drivers are far more likely to cause a rear-end accident than sober drivers because they don't have full use of their faculties. In Vermont, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. If an impaired driver rear-ended you, they are very likely to be assigned fault for causing the accident.

    Weather-related accidents - Vermont winters see many snowstorms and icy roads making it very challenging for drivers. Multi-vehicle pileups are something Vermont drivers fear on the winter roadways. State police always urge drivers to slow down during hazardous weather conditions. Still, it doesn't seem to resonate with some drivers. If you were rear-ended by a driver traveling too fast for the weather conditions, this could factor into whether they are to blame.

    Speeding - Driving at high speeds also makes it much harder to react if the driver ahead of you has to stop or slow down suddenly. Speeding makes it more challenging to maneuver on the roadways because of shorter reaction times. Speeding is a factor that insurance companies look at when they determine fault for rear-end collisions. If the driver who hit you was speeding, they might be on the hook to pay for your medical bills and property damage.

    Driver fatigue - Driving while sleepy or "drowsy driving" has similar effects on the driver's ability to react as does when driving under the influence. Reflexes are dulled, judgment is impaired, and reaction times are slowed. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an estimated 100,000 crashes per year are caused by drowsy driving. While driving when sleepy is not against Vermont law, drivers have a legal duty of care to other drivers when they get behind the wheel. 

    Mechanical defects - Issues with mechanical parts on a vehicle, particularly braking or steering systems, can result in a rear-end collision. Additionally, worn tire treads and overloading can result in the inability to brake in time to avoid hitting other drivers. Deliberately driving a vehicle with known issues like these can be used against the at-fault driver in an insurance claim. Commercial drivers and the companies that load the trucks can be held liable if they knew the load was over capacity. 

  • What are some common injuries from rear-end collisions?

    Even if you were hit at a low speed, you could still sustain serious injuries. After any collision, it's essential to get checked out by a doctor. If you haven't been to one yet, we suggest you get to one as soon as possible as some injuries don't become apparent right away. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to link the injuries to being rear-ended. Here are some common injuries that are a result of rear-end collisions:

    Whiplash - When you get hit from behind, the force of the impact forces your head to snap forward violently and then snap back, which can cause a painful condition known as whiplash. It's named whiplash because the motion your head makes is similar to the crack of a whip. This type of injury can go unnoticed until hours or days later. Still, it can cause intense pain in the neck, shoulder, and back area and cause victims to have a limited range of motion.

    Spinal cord injuries - When you're rear-ended, the impact can cause a tremendous amount of force to be transferred to your back, causing a spinal cord injury. The discs that support your spine can become herniated, or the spinal cord itself can be damaged. A spinal cord injury is a serious matter, sometimes resulting in permanent mobility issues or paralysis. 

    Facial injuries - The sudden impact from behind can force your head forward into an airbag, the windshield, dashboard, or steering wheel causing facial injuries. Some facial injuries can result in permanent disfigurement and loss of teeth. 

    Head trauma or traumatic brain injuries (TBI) - Any time you're in a car accident, the risk of sustaining a TBI or other head trauma is significant. While a cut scalp is worrisome, internal damage to the brain can be infinitely worse. Even if your head doesn't come into contact with a surface, the force of the impact can cause your brain to slam against the inside of your skull and cause internal bleeding and swelling. TBIs can cause lifelong injuries that can impact your ability to reason, talk, walk, and remember things.

    Broken bones - Getting hit from behind can cause bones to fracture. Depending on the position of your body at the impact, you could have broken ankles, legs, shoulders, wrists, and ribs. While broken bones can heal, the injury can affect connective tissues and cause lifelong issues with osteoporosis. 

    Cuts and bruises - Perhaps the least serious yet still painful type of injuries that can result from a rear-end collision are cuts and bruises. Most will heal fine, but for some, a cut can leave permanent scarring and disfigurement and should be considered when asking for compensation. Pain and suffering from cuts and bruises shouldn't be overlooked either. 

  • Who is at fault in a rear-end collision?

    It's unlawful to drive too closely to the vehicle in front of you for the reasons mentioned earlier in this article. Drivers have a duty of care to ensure they have enough space between them and the driver in front of them to minimize the chance of a rear-end collision. For this reason, if a driver hits you from behind, they are most likely the one to be held liable for the crash. Still, there are some conditions in which the driver who rear-ends another party may not be at fault. Here are a few:

    Brake checking - When a driver suddenly slams on the brakes ahead of another driver in an attempt to "brake check" them for no reason and gets rear-ended, the "brake checker" may be deemed liable and may even be cited for aggressive driving or road rage. 

    Broken brake lights - If a driver is operating a motor vehicle with broken brake lights, it could be possible the driver who rear-ends them won't be held liable since it's the motor vehicle operator's duty to make sure their vehicle is in good working order. 

    Hazardous driving - When a driver experiences a mechanical issue such as a flat tire or another mechanical defect, they should pull over or put on their hazard lights. If they fail to do so and are limping along the roadway and another driver hits them from behind, they might be the at-fault party.

    Mechanical defects - If a mechanical defect such as a brake system fails due to defective parts, the person driving the car may not be at fault if they rear-end you. Instead, you may wish to sue the manufacturer for the defective part. 

    When you're in a rear-end collision, Burlington, Vermont residents have the surety of having excellent legal representation at Morgan & Morgan Law Firm. While the majority of cases are settled out of court, our lawyers won't hesitate to take your case to trial if an insurance company refuses to offer adequate compensation for your losses. We don't collect any fees unless we win your claim, so you don't have to worry about any out-of-pocket expenses for the time being. Reach out today for a free case evaluation.

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