If you have been injured in a car accident involving a rear end collision, the Maine personal injury lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing are ready to stand by your side. Since 1976, we have been representing the residents of Maine in car accident lawsuits, winning over 100 million dollars in settlements and jury verdicts for the injured. We understand both the legal and the medical intricacies of personal injury law and are well-versed in the particular needs of clients who have been injured in car accidents, including rear end crashes.
In most cases, the rear driver in a rear end collision is determined to be liable for the accident; in many cases, such complaints are settled before going to court. But some exceptions to this general guideline do apply: there are cases where vehicle malfunction, sudden braking of the front automobile, or abrupt backing out of a parking space suggest that the front vehicle may be partly or completely liable. Such circumstances may complicate the lawsuit.
Because factors such as those cited above may add complexity to your complaint, it is important to have attorneys with experience and in-depth knowledge that will give you the best chance for a favorable settlement or jury verdict. At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, you can find a Maine car accident lawyer who will fight for maximum compensation for the injuries and losses that you have suffered in a rear end collision accident. With our firm, you can be sure that the law is on your side.
Rear end collisions: deceptively simple
Almost one third of all highway accidents involve rear end collisions. These kinds of accidents can be deceptively simple.
First, all Maine drivers are taught from their first time at the wheel that it is important to maintain adequate following distance. In many cases, the rear driver in the accident is considered negligent under the law. However, in certain instances there are mitigating circumstances that suggest that the driver who is struck from behind is actually responsible.
In addition, rear end accidents can result in devastating injuries or even loss of life. At other times, accidents can appear to have no medical consequences at all; however, common rear end accident injuries such as whiplash can become apparent only at a much later date, complicating the process of litigation.
Whatever the circumstances, you deserve a lawyer with the experience and specialized expertise of the Portland, Maine-based accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing.
Causes of rear end collisions
Rear end collisions occur when drivers do not or are not able to slow down fast enough to avoid hitting the car in front of them. In some cases, tailgating, speeding, or reckless driving may be involved. A driver could be impaired due to drugs, alcohol, or fatigue. Or environmental conditions, such as foggy weather or construction, may reduce vision and prevent the rear driver from realizing that traffic has slowed. Vehicle malfunctions, such as brake light or turn signal defects, or non-working brakes, may be involved in some way.
In a high percentage of cases, the rear driver does not slow quickly enough or at all because distractions prevent him or her from noticing that the front car has slowed or stopped. Distractions include use of cell phones or other hand held devices, eating or drinking, changing radio stations, or any other activities that take the eyes, hands, and mind away from the road, wheel, or the task of driving.
Rear end collisions and liability issues
In rear end collision cases in Portland, Lewiston, and elsewhere in Maine, it is generally assumed that the rear driver is the party at fault. If a Maine driver does not leave an adequate following distance between his or her own car and the car in front, this is considered negligent behavior. Moreover, other complicating factors, such as drug and alcohol use, compound the possibility that a jury will determine the rear driver’s fault in a case.
Maine also has laws against distracted driving, making it a crime to drive while distracted and banning all texting in particular. A driver who texts while driving is already breaking the law; if that driver rear-ends the car in front of him or her, it is clear who is at fault.
Yet, there are factors to consider which may mitigate or even obviate the fault of the rear driver:
- The brake lights of the car in front were not working.
- The turn signal of the front car malfunctioned or was not used.
- The front car stopped abruptly for no obvious reason, or for reasons having to do with road rage or impaired driving.
- The front car merged in an abrupt and unsafe fashion.
- The brakes of the rear vehicle may have malfunctioned.
These and other circumstances may mean that the rear car will not be held liable for the accident, or that parties will share responsibility in some way. For instance, the front car may have had a faulty brake light, but the rear car may still have been following too closely.
In the state of Maine, car accidents are adjudicated according to the concept of “modified comparative negligence.” This means that it is possible for both drivers to receive a share of the blame. However, if the percentage of negligence for the plaintiff in the case reaches a certain level, he or she will receive no compensation at all.
It is also possible that an auto manufacturer may be liable for any vehicular flaws that contributed to the crash.
When all of these factors are considered, it becomes clear that some rear end lawsuits may not be as cut-and-dried as they may seem at first glance. Whatever the circumstances involved in your accident, whether you were the front or rear driver, you will need a car accident lawyer whose specializes in cases including rear end collisions to demonstrate that the other party involved was indeed liable, and to procure just compensation for your injuries.
Remember that the Maine accident attorneys at Hardy, Wolf & Downing have the expertise and experience to bring about the best results for our injured clients.
Injuries resulting from rear end collisions
Injuries from rear end collisions can range from relatively mild to extremely serious:
- Brain injuries
- Back and neck injuries or sprains
- Spinal cord injuries
- Fractured vertebrae
- Herniated discs
- Broken ribs or collar bone
- Internal injuries
- Leg and knee injuries
- Psychological trauma
- Blood clots
- Lacerations and scars
In some cases, victims do not survive the crash. Although crashes that involve high speed impact may result in severe injuries, such as paralysis or brain damage, even low speed collisions can result in serious injuries. Some injuries, such as whiplash, can be slow to manifest themselves; however, they can be debilitating, painful, and expensive to treat, and healing can take time.
Compensation for Maine car accident injuries
If you have been injured in a rear end crash, you likely have extensive medical bills and other recovery costs. You may have missed a significant amount of time off from work or even lost your job. Depending on the nature of your injury, you may no longer be able to do your former job. You deserve compensation for your expenses, your lost income and earning potential, and for the psychological trauma that such a crash may have inflicted on you.
If you have lost a loved one in a rear end collision, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Let the Maine car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing make sure that you get the compensation you deserve for all of these losses.
Some states have “no fault” auto insurance; Maine is not one of them. In Maine, the driver deemed responsible for the accident is the one responsible for compensating any victims. Injured parties have three options: filing a claim under their own insurance policy; filing a lawsuit against the party at fault; or seeking compensation directly from another driver’s insurance company (“third party car insurance claim). In the second and third cases, it is advised to hire a reputable accident injury attorney to represent you in court or at least to help you navigate the extensive paperwork and red tape that may be involved.
How can the lawyers at Hardy,Wolf & Downing help you?
At Hardy, Wolf & Downing, we are determined to make sure that our clients’ side of the story is accurately and sympathetically represented when it comes to rear end collisions. We can handle any claim from start to finish, investigating the crash, locating witnesses, finding necessary medical records, and building a rock solid case. We will take care of all the details so that you can focus on recovering your life after the trauma that you have suffered. And you can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to make sure you win the maximum compensation available for your expenses and losses.
If you have been involved in a rear end collision, call 1-800-INJURED for a no cost, no obligation consultation with one of our car accident lawyers in Maine. With 3 convenient office locations in Portland, Lewiston, we also serve Auburn, Bangor and all areas within Southern, Central Maine. We can answer all of your questions and evaluate the viability of your case with no fees charged to you whatsoever. We work on contingency, which means that you will not pay us a penny unless you get the jury award or settlement that you deserve.
- Driver attributes and rear-end crash involvement propensity https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/809540
- Safe Braking, NHTSA: 28% of crashes are rear-end collisions http://www.safebraking.com/nhtsa-28-of-crashes-are-rear-end-collisions/
- National Transportation Safety Board, Mandate Motor Vehicle Collision Avoidance Technologies, http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl/Pages/mwl10_2012.aspx
- National Transportation Safety Board, Vehicle- and Infrastructure-based Technology For the Prevention of Rear-end Collisions, https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safetystudies/SIR0101.html
- Distraction.gov, Facts on distracted driving http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/state-laws.html