One of the most stressful situations that can develop when driving on the Tampa roadways is the possibility of another motorist hitting your car from behind. These accidents are not only hard to prevent, but many times motorists do not even have enough time to brace themselves for an impact. As a result, these types of accidents can often leave victims of this crash dealing with catastrophic injuries and debilitating consequences that can forever change their lives.
However, if you suffered significant damages in a Tampa rear-end accident because of another person’s wrongful actions, you should not have to deal with these losses on your own.
You may have legal options to pursue compensation for your injuries. We have prepared the following blog to help you understand these legal options. In it, we will examine what rear-end accidents involve, your legal remedies, and how an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer can help you fight for the justice and financial recovery you deserve.
In most of these rear-end collisions, negligence tends to be a primary cause, which means that a driver’s actions were short of what a reasonable person would have done under the circumstances, and these actions led to the crash.
Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions in Tampa
Research shows that a rear-end collision typically occurs when the “lead” vehicle is driving at a slower speed than the approaching vehicle, begins to decelerate, or comes to a complete stop. Consequently, distracted driving often plays a significant role in these accidents, as it impedes the approaching driver’s reaction time. For instance, if the approaching motorist is texting and driving and does not have their eyes on the road, they likely would not be able to notice the lead vehicle’s decreasing speed and brake in time to avoid an impact.
Yet, while distracted driving is a major cause of rear-end collisions in Tampa, there are also a few other causes that are usually associated with these types of accidents:
Tailgating is when a driver behind a vehicle does not leave sufficient distance to stop without causing a collision if the motor vehicle in front suddenly brakes. As a result, tailgating is frequently linked to rear-end crashes.
Alcohol is known to reduce the brain’s function, impair thinking, muscle coordination, and reasoning, abilities that are critical to operating a motor vehicle safely. Consequently, when an individual decides to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, deadly rear-end accidents have been the result. Interestingly enough, in Florida, when it comes to impaired driving, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties are the worst.
According to crash studies, while Florida’s overall three-year average for alcohol confirmed crashes was around 5,468 crashes per year, Hillsborough had an average of 528 crashes per year, surpassing the alcohol-related crash averages for other major counties in the area, including Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade.
Speeding is a common cause for rear-end collisions because the faster a motorist is driving, the longer it will take for them to stop when a driver in front of them hits their breaks.
In addition, slick roads caused by rain will usually demand significantly longer stopping distances, which increases the likelihood of a rear-end accident. This factor is a big issue in Tampa from June through September, as this is the wettest time in the city due to thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.
Other factors that are also known to contribute to these rear-end accidents include poor road conditions, mechanical failures, and drowsy driving. However, not every rear-end collision will have a clear answer regarding how the accident happened.
That is why, following a Tampa rear-end crash, you need to contact an experienced Tampa car accident attorney as soon as possible. These lawyers can investigate the collision, determine what happened, and help you pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
Common Injuries Resulting from a Tampa Rear-End Collision
Rear-end crashes are known to result in some of the most unique and catastrophic injuries.
Yet, while these injuries will vary in type and severity, depending on the circumstances of the collision, some of the more frequent injuries that result from these rear-end accidents include:
- Head and brain trauma
- Spinal cord injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken bones
- Wrist injuries
- Facial trauma
- Crushed limbs
- Seat-belt injuries, which develop when the seat belt cuts the skin when the body is thrust forward and lead to bruising and lacerations in the chest, torso, and neck
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
The Statute of Limitations Following a Rear-End Collision in Tampa
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end accident in Tampa before you can collect compensation for the harm you endured, you first need to figure out if you have enough time to file a legal claim. This is called the statute of limitations. This is a law that dictates the amount of time a person has following an accident or alleged offense to bring legal action against the wrongful party. If these individuals do not bring a suit within this deadline they can be barred from obtaining compensation for their injuries.
In Florida, the statute of limitations following a Tampa rear-end accident is four years from the accident date. However, just because you may have years to file a case, it may be a wiser decision to contact an experienced Tampa car accident lawyer as soon as you can, as over this time, critical evidence can disappear, memories of the incident can fade, and witnesses may no longer be available to testify.
Plus, once these lawyers are hired, they can not only verify the maximum amount of time you have to file your case, but they can also ensure that your legal motions and documents are appropriately prepared and filed with the correct court before time expires.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights Following a Tampa Rear-End Accident?
Following a rear-end accident, the situation can often feel overwhelming, stressful, and chaotic. The last thing that victims of this accident want to worry about is what steps they need to take next. However, it is important to understand that the things you do after a rear-end collision are not only crucial in protecting your safety but your legal rights as well. For these reasons, following a Tampa rear-end accident, you should consider doing the following:
Contact the Authorities Immediately
After a car accident, you should call 911 right away. This is the fastest way to notify the authorities and emergency medical personnel of the incident and get it on record.
Once the police get to the scene, they can promptly start investigating the crash and documenting their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue legal action after the accident, this report can provide you with valuable evidence, especially regarding what happened and your damages.
Look for Evidence and Witnesses
If you do not require emergency medical treatment following the accident and the area is safe, you should try to gather as much evidence as possible from the scene.
This evidence should include photos and videos of:
- The vehicles involved in the crash and their placement on the road
- The damage to your car and your visible injuries
- The weather conditions at the time of the incident, skid marks on the street, road defects, and traffic signs near the area
In addition, if there were people present at the scene, who saw the accident, you should also try to get their names and contact information. These individuals can often provide you and your lawyer with helpful details regarding what happened to back up your case.
Get to Your Doctor ASAP
After a rear-end collision, even if you do not require emergency medical treatment, you should still get to a doctor as soon as possible following the crash. Not only can symptoms of serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, take some time to manifest, but the longer you wait to get this condition checked out, the more debilitating these injuries can become. For these reasons, it is important to get to a doctor and get examined.
In addition, this medical evaluation can also help your legal claim, primarily because insurance companies are looking for anything they can find to use against you. As a result, by not getting medical treatment after the incident, the insurance company can use this to their advantage by arguing that your injuries are not that serious or a result of a separate event.
Fortunately, when you get to a doctor promptly after your rear-end crash, these medical professionals can provide you with a medical report that will document information regarding your injuries and can serve as evidence of a direct link between the harm you sustained and your rear-end crash.
Check With the Other Drivers
Try to exchange information with all the other drivers involved in the accident and get their names, contact details, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information.
However, if your injuries prevent you from getting these details or any other evidence, do not worry. After you retain experienced legal counsel to take on your case, these lawyers can work on obtaining this evidence for you.
Be Careful What You Say to Others
As you talk to these witnesses and other drivers, you want to watch what you say. For instance, making definitive statements about the incident, apologizing for what happened, or taking any of the blame for the crash, can impact your case and the amount of money you can receive.
In addition, you should also avoid posting anything about the rear-end crash on your social media accounts or other online forums. Although this may seem like the perfect way to vent your frustrations after the accident, it can provide information and evidence for the other side to use against you.
Fight for the Justice You Deserve After a Tampa Rear-End Collision, Reach out to an Experienced Tampa Car Accident Attorney Today
To bring a successful injury claim following a rear-end collision in Tampa, you need to not only provide strong arguments proving your claim, but you also have to present relevant evidence to show what happened and who was at fault for your injuries and losses. However, after this accident, you likely have more important things on your mind, like your recovery, to worry about than what arguments you should make.
Fortunately, when you work with an experienced Tampa car accident attorney following your rear-end collision, you will not have to take on these legal proceedings on your own. Instead, you can leave this fight to your lawyers as you focus on getting the medical care you need.
Once these lawyers are retained, they can:
- Go over your case in detail, figure out if you have a viable claim, and determine the legal options you should pursue.
- Thoroughly investigate your rear-end crash and try to secure the evidence necessary to show fault and damages.
- Bring in experts to substantiate your claim, such as accident reconstructionists.
- Prepare a solid legal case on your behalf and fight for maximum damages.
Plus, if the insurance company refuses to provide you with a fair settlement amount or will not negotiate fairly, your lawyers may prepare to take your case to court, where they can fight hard for a successful resolution.
For these reasons, if you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Tampa rear-end collision, do not wait to get legal help. Instead, contact an experienced car accident lawyer today for your free case consultation, and let an attorney show you how they can fight for you.