Rear-end collisions can occur in a variety of ways under various conditions, making them extremely common types of accidents. While they may not have the same reputation as other more severe accidents, the result of a rear-end collision can be life-altering. In fact, serious conditions like head and neck injuries are particularly common. When these injuries occur, a dedicated car wreck attorney could help an injured person review their legal options.
In many cases, an injury lawsuit can provide someone with the best chance of recovering monetary compensation. While you focus on healing, your Pueblo rear-end car accident lawyer could aggressively pursue compensation from the other driver.
There are two ways to prove liability in a rear-end collision. The first is through the principle of negligence. Motorists are negligent when they fail to exercise reasonable care in the use or operation of their motor vehicle. This includes following too closely and causing a motor vehicle accident by rear ending another vehicle.
The second way to prove negligence is through the doctrine of negligence per se. This doctrine allows an injured party to hold the defendant automatically liable for the crash if its cause was a violation of a statute. Here, the statute that would be violated in rear-ending another vehicle is Colorado Revised Statutes section 42-4-1008 (1) which provides 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.” If a motorist rear-ends another vehicle, it may be found that this statute has been violated and a defendant is negligent.
Like with many jurisdictions, there is a presumption that the driver of the following car is responsible for a rear-end crash. This presumption is based on each driver’s duty to watch the road ahead of them. In most cases, a rear-end collision occurs when the following driver fails to stop on time. This is important, as this legal presumption carries substantial weight at trial.
According to state law, the presumption requires the jury to assume that the following motorist is at fault for the accident. This differs from most vehicle accidents, which allow the jury to make the determination of fault freely. Because of this legal presumption, the jury must rule in favor of the driver who was in front unless the other party can prove they were not at fault. In other words, it shifts the burden of proving what happened from the plaintiff to the defendant.
A presumption does not guarantee success, however. There are numerous examples of where the motorist in front could be responsible. This is common when this motorist was driving in reverse. While helpful, the presumption of fault will never guarantee the outcome at trial. To ensure the jury gives proper weight to the presumption, a plaintiff could benefit from working closely with a Pueblo rear-end car accident attorney.
Because of the presumption against the following driver, it is not uncommon for the defendant or their insurance company to pursue a settlement. However, this does not mean the settlement offer will be adequate. Some insurance companies are notorious for making underwhelming initial offers, especially when they know the other driver does not have an attorney.
One tactic an insurance provider may use is making an offer before the plaintiff’s medical treatment is complete. While this offer may cover the medical bills immediately following the crash, it is unlikely that it considers the potential for necessary future treatment. Additionally, these offers may not address compensation for pain and suffering or mental anguish.
An experienced attorney could help a Pueblo resident settle their rear-end car accident claim. Insurance companies are more likely to negotiate a fair agreement when the injured party has legal representation.
If you were involved in a tailgating accident, you should speak with a Pueblo rear-end car accident lawyer as soon as possible. While there is a presumption that the following driver is responsible, an injured party could see their chances of recovery slip away without strong legal representation. To discuss your legal options, set up an initial case evaluation.