With over 1.7 million rear end car accidents occurring each year, these types of car accidents are one of the most common that a person may be involved in. But that does not mean rear end car accidents are any less dangerous. Occupants of a car that is rear ended could be seriously injured, particularly when they are hit by a bus, large commercial truck, or fast-moving vehicle. Because the neck, back, and head are in a vulnerable position, it is common for victims of rear end car crashes to suffer debilitating injuries due to whiplash. These injuries could affect mobility for months or years, and in some instances be permanent.
This is why Colorado law gives people who were hurt in car accidents options. If you or a loved one were injured or killed in a rear end car accident, call us today to learn what your options may be for recovering pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills. Victims of car accidents only have three (3) years to commence a personal injury action, sometimes shorter if a public entity is involved, so it is important to contact our firm before this time runs out.
Liability in a Rear End Car Accident
In order to be successful in a personal injury lawsuit, a plaintiff will need to establish liability. In a personal injury action, liability is usually established by demonstrating the other party was negligent in causing your injuries. This can be established by a statutory violation which can be used to establish liability.
For instance, Colorado law provides under CRS section 42-4-1008 (1) that “[t]he driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.” When a driver rear ends another vehicle, he or she may be violating this statute. Unless the driver can prove there is a non-negligent excuse, such as another vehicle stopping short, a driver rear ending another vehicle will be liable for injuries that are related to the crash.
Since this statute is meant to protect individuals from harm in a rear end car accident, a plaintiff that was injured due to the statutory violation may be able to hold the defendant liable as a matter of law under the doctrine of “negligence per se.” This allows a victim to prove negligence by virtue of a statutory violation. Any injuries that are causally related to the rear end car crash may be compensated.
When it comes to the violation of a regulation, such as in a trucking accident where a truck driver or truck company violates a rule of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this violation of a regulation is considered to be evidence of negligence—but not necessarily an automatic finding of negligence like a violation of a statute. Nonetheless, this is also an important tool for victims.
Who Else May Be Liable for a Rear End Car Accident?
The driver may not be the only individual or entity liable. The owner of the vehicle who allows the driver to use the motor vehicle may be “vicariously liable” for the crash and your injuries. This means that the owner will be liable for the acts of the driver, even though the owner did not actually cause your crash. This is particularly true when the owner negligently entrusts the vehicle to an individual who should not be driving, such as a minor or intoxicated individual.
An employer may also be vicariously liable through the doctrine of respondeat superior, which means that an employer is liable for the negligent acts or omissions caused by an employee while the employee was within the scope of employment. This is most common in trucking wrecks, but can also be applicable when garbage trucks city buses, or emergency vehicles cause a rear end crash.
Were You Injured in a Rear End Car Accident? We Can Help You
Victims of rear end car accidents should call our experienced Colorado Springs car accident lawyers at the Springs Law Group to learn how we can fight for the compensation you deserve. We have successfully fought some of the largest insurance companies in the United States to earn our clients compensation for their injuries, lost wages, and medical bills. Please call to schedule a free consultation by dialing (719) 421-7141 to learn more.
Jacob Kimball is a Civil Litigation and Personal Injury Attorney who practices in Colorado Springs, CO. He graduated from the Ohio State Moritz College of Law, and has been practicing law for 13 years now. Jacob Kimball firmly believes in fighting for the injured. Learn more about his experience here.