When you're rear-ended in a car accident & hurt, hire a lawyer
Protect yourself after a rear-end collision in Wisconsin
Rear-ended collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents. Getting rear-ended can do significant damage to your vehicle and cause injury to passengers, including whiplash, concussion and back pain.
The most important thing to do after any type of crash is get treated for your injuries. Victims of rear-end accidents also need to know their rights and best steps to take to maximize compensation they're entitled to.
When you can sue after a rear-end collision
In order to sue for rear-end accident injuries in Wisconsin, the other driver has to be proven 51% or more at fault. If you were injured due to their negligence you may be able to claim compensation for:
While determining fault for a rear-ended accident may seem simple—after all, it is clear that one car hit another from behind-- Wisconsin comparative fault law can make liability a little more complicated to prove on your own.
Comparative fault law means each of the drivers involved in a rear-ended car accident in Wisconsin can be found partially or entirely at fault. If you are found to be at fault, it will impact the amount of compensation you receive. Your settlement will be decreased by the percentage of fault you are assigned. If you are found to be more than 50% at fault, even if the other car rear-ended you, you will not receive any compensation.
This is where you’ll want an experienced car accident lawyer on your side.
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In order to receive compensation for your injuries and damages, you must first prove the driver who rear-ended you is at fault for the accident and caused your injuries by failing to maintain a safe distance from your vehicle. You must also prove that you are not at fault for the accident and that a reasonable driver could have avoided rear-ending you.
Talking with witnesses immediately after the accident can provide helpful objective information about how the accident occurred, as well as information on potential causes like distracted driving. In the event of no witnesses, personal injury lawyer Steve Caya works closely with experts able to reconstruct your car accident to help prove the other driver was at fault and increase your compensation.
Get to know some basic preliminary knowledge before you file your car accident lawsuit with Steve Caya--then let us get you the best compensation for your case. There are several Wisconsin car accident laws affecting claims you need to be aware of.
Wisconsin personal injury attorney Steve Caya offers free claim assessments to people injured in rear-end accidents. Our law firm is in Janesville, but you don't have to be:
Contact us for a free case consultation & we'll come to you anywhere in the state.
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common auto accidents, accounting for 28% of all accidents in the U.S. (per the NHTSA’s last calculations). The typical rear end collision crash scenario involves a vehicle slamming into the back of another vehicle stopped at an intersection. In most cases, the driver and passengers of the car that was hit had no chance to brace for the impact and are violently thrown backward and forward. This makes them all the more vulnerable to injury.
Low-speed vs high-speed rear end collision injuries
As you can imagine, the faster a vehicle is traveling when it impacts another vehicle, the more severe the injuries will be. However, many of the injuries that occur in high speed collisions also occur in low speed collisions.
After a low-speed rear end collision everyone might walk away feeling a little shaken up but unharmed. But low-speed impacts can easily cause whiplash and other injuries. The scariest part – you could sustain a serious injury from a low-speed rear end crash that’s not immediately apparent.
After a high-speed rear end collision the types of injury tend to be similar to low-speed accidents, but chances of severe injury are much higher. Getting rear-ended at a high rate of speed can cause extreme trauma and require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
Anyone who has been rear ended, even at low speed, should get checked over by a doctor as soon as possible.
Common injuries after a rear-end collision
There are many types of injuries that occur in rear-end collisions. The most common include whiplash, concussion, back injuries, head & brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Whiplash is the most common injury in both low speed and high speed rear end collisions. The sudden and violent backward and forward movement of the neck and head caused by the collision results in pain and soreness in the neck and back. This can last anywhere from a week or so to more than a year and require a neck brace and/or ongoing physical therapy. With adrenaline surging through your body right after an accident, you may not feel any pain in your neck until hours later. Don’t brush it off and think a couple acetaminophen will take care of it. See a doctor.
Symptoms of whiplash from rear-end collision:
- Neck stiffness and pain that gets worse when moving neck
- Inability to fully move neck
- Tenderness and/or pain in shoulder upper back or arms
- Numbness or tingling in arms
- Ringing in ears
- Blurred vision
- Concentration and memory problems
A concussion occurs when the brain is jostled so violently that it hits the inside of the skull. The compression of the brain tissue causes bruising and swelling. While you may feel a little “shaken up” after a blow that causes a concussion, and your head will probably hurt, it typically takes several hours for the symptoms of a concussion to manifest. No head injury, even those most people dismiss as “just a bump”, should be casually dismissed. Anyone who has been in a rear end collision should be monitored for at least 24 hours after an accident for signs of a concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury.
Concussion symptoms after a rear end collision may include:
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance
- Heightened sensitivity to light and sounds
The force of impact in a collision, even at low speed, can cause serious back injury due to the tremendous pressure put on the vertebrae. Injuries range from a strain (stretching of the ligaments, tendons or muscles) or a sprain (damage to the ligaments in the spine) to a herniated disc or even permanent damage to the spinal cord and nerves.
In collisions where the vehicle is going over 20 mph, the injury is compounded by airbags deploying. The force of an expanding airbag can break the nose or ribs, as well as cause friction burns on the face and scalp. Even if you don’t have any back pain immediately after a rear end collision, it’s a good idea to have a doctor check you over. Due to the potential seriousness of spinal cord injuries, you will likely need to have X-rays taken, and perhaps a CT scan.
Symptoms of back injury following a rear end collision:
- Pain in upper (cervical), mid (thoracic), or lower (lumbar) region of back
- Numbness in legs
Head & brain injuries
No matter how fast the cars were travelling, any injury to the head requires medical attention. In collisions where an airbag is deployed, there’s sometimes an assumption that the airbag prevents any harm to the head. Not true. Besides lacerations and bruises from impacting the airbag, there can be a concussion, swelling of the brain, and internal bleeding. In high speed rear end collisions, there’s obviously a much greater chance of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The swelling of the brain from a TBI can cause a stroke, seizure and even permanent brain damage. Without prompt medical treatment, cerebral swelling can be fatal.
Symptoms of head or brain injury after a rear-end collision can include:
- Speech problems
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty remembering or concentrating
- Loss of balance
- Changes in sleep pattern
- Brief loss of consciousness
Spinal cord injury
The impact of a collision causes the body to be jerked to and fro, which causes a wide range of injuries to the spinal cord—from soft tissue bruising and nerve damage that can impair the use of arms and legs to fractured vertebrae and partial or complete paralysis caused by spinal cord fracture. The spine has three regions: cervical (neck region), thoracic (chest region), and lumbar (lower back). Injuries to the cervical region of the spine are the most serious due to the increased likelihood of complete paralysis. As you may expect, the extreme whiplash typical with high speed rear end collisions is more likely to result in serious injury to the cervical region than lower speed collisions.
Symptoms of spinal cord injury after a rear-end crash may include:
- Pain between shoulder blades
- Neck pain
- Vision problems
- Tingling or numbness in limbs
A hernia (aka “slipped disk”) is what happens when the outer fiber surrounding a spinal disk is torn or ruptured. Spinal disks have a soft, spongy center wrapped by a tough, rubber exterior and serve to cushion the vertebrae. In cases of trauma caused by rapid hyperflexion of the spine, the outer covering of the disk can rupture, causing the jelly-like interior to squish out and push against sensitive nerves in the spine. With no cushioning on the affected vertebrae, flexibility is dramatically impacted. Spinal disk herniations from rear-end collisions typically occur in the lumbar region (the lower part of the spinal cord), but can also occur in the thoracic (chest) and cervical (neck) regions of the spine.
Herniated disc symptoms:
- Severe back pain
- Numbness or tingling in limbs
- Partial or complete paralysis
Seat belt syndrome
Seat belts save lives, and they’re also one of the leading causes of abdominal injury in a rear-end crash. When the lap belt is suddenly pulled tight against the chest, stomach or lower abdomen it can cause internal organ damage and bleeding, cracked ribs and other injuries. Learn more about stomach pain after a car accident, including warning signs you need to look out for hours and days later.
See more personal injury case results. We've earned fair settlements & jury awards for many types of personal injury cases.
How does insurance work if you get rear-ended?
Insurance companies have paid massive settlements to victims of rear-end collisions, allowing them to recover from injury and rebuild their lives. Insurance companies also spend a great deal of time and effort working to minimize the amount they pay out. The value of your claim can’t be calculated by an actuarial spreadsheet. Steve Caya fights for the compensation accident victims deserve, regardless of the amount the insurance company is willing to offer you at first.
It’s possible. Every accident is unique, and whether or not to hire an attorney to represent your injury claim depends on the circumstances and how badly you were injured.
When you might not need a lawyer
If you sustain relatively minor injuries (as diagnosed by a physician, not the internet), treatment helps you recover, and your financial losses are modest, you may be best off handling your personal injury claim on your own. Plenty of claims do get resolved fairly, and you may only need some guidance outlining the next steps.
When you should definitely get a lawyer
There are several important reasons to call a personal injury attorney after a rear-end collision:
- Your injuries are severe and involve significant medical costs
- You were rear-ended by a drunk driver
- The at-fault driver’s insurance company won’t give you a fair settlement
- The question of fault is unclear or difficult to prove
- You’re unable or unwilling to manage the injury claim process
If you’re on the fence about getting a lawyer, just reach out to our law firm. The initial consultation is free, and there’s no obligation. Getting a professional evaluation of your claim is probably a good idea even if you don’t necessarily need legal representation.
Contact attorney Steve Caya for a free consultation to discuss your specific situation and determine whether you need a lawyer.
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