Rear End Car Accidents: What You Need To Know
1 in 4 automobile crashes is a rear end car accident. This page explains what you need to know on how to recover pain and suffering compensation and No-Fault insurance benefits to cover medical bills and lost wages if you are injured. An experienced attorney will help you protect your legal rights and hold the at-fault driver who rear-ended you accountable.
In Michigan in 2019, being hit from behind accounted for 26% of all the motor vehicle crashes, according to Michigan Traffic Crash Facts.
What is a rear end car accident?
A rear end car accident occurs when an at-fault driver negligently drives his or her vehicle into and strikes the back of another motor vehicle that is “proceeding in the same direction.” (MCL 257.402(a))
Pain and suffering compensation
If you were injured in a rear end car accident, you may be able to sue the at-fault, negligent driver who caused the crash for pain and suffering damages, excess medical bills, excess lost wages and other economic damages.
In order to successfully recover pain and suffering compensation from the at-fault driver who caused your crash requires that you show that you have suffered a “serious impairment of body function,” which is the legal threshold under Michigan’s No-Fault law for crash victims seeking to recover “noneconomic loss” damages.
Excess medical bills and excess lost wages are some of the economic damages you can recover from the at-fault driver. These damages will help to pay for your medical bills and to reimburse you for lost income that is not covered by the limits of the auto insurance policy through which you are claiming benefits and/or what is guaranteed to injured bicyclists under the No-Fault law.
You must be able to prove the negligence of the at-fault driver who caused your crash in order to recover pain and suffering compensation, excess medical bills and lost wages and other economic damages. Negligence can be based on a failure to use ordinary care or a violation of the traffic laws.
Is an at-fault driver negligent for causing a rear end car accident?
An at-fault driver “shall be deemed prima facie guilty of negligence” for causing the crash if the evidence shows that while “traveling in a certain direction” he or she “overtook and struck the rear end of another vehicle proceeding in the same direction.” (MCL 257.402(a))
Can a vehicle owner be negligent for causing a rear end car accident?
In “appropriate cases,” the owner of the vehicle that strikes the back end of another vehicle “shall be deemed prima guilty of negligence.” (MCL 257.402(a))
Can a driver’s employer be negligent for causing a rear end car accident?
The employer of the at-fault driver who strikes the back end of another vehicle “shall be deemed prima facie guilty of negligence” in “appropriate cases.” (MCL 257.402(a))
Causes of being hit from behind
Driving behaviors that can cause a rear end car accident include: (1) speeding; (2) driving too fast for conditions; (3) driving too fast to be able to safely stop; (4) texting while driving; (5) distracted driving; (6) driving while intoxicated; (7) disobeying traffic signs/signals; (8) reckless driving; and (9) careless driving.
Here are more details about each of these causes:
- Speeding in violation of the posted speed limit (MCL 257.627 and 257.628)
- Driving too fast for conditions (MCL 257.627(1))(“A person operating a vehicle on a highway shall operate that vehicle at a careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper, having due regard to the traffic, surface, and width of the highway and of any other condition existing at the time.”)
- Driving too fast to be able to stop safely (MCL 257.627(1))(“A person shall not operate a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than that which will permit a stop within the assured, clear distance ahead.”)
- Texting while driving (MCL 257.602b)
- Distracted driving
- Driving while intoxicated (MCL 257.625)
- Disobeying a stop, yield or merge sign (MCL 257.671(3))
- Disregarding traffic control signals – including flashing red and yellow signals (MCL 257.612 and 257.614)
- Reckless driving (MCL 257.626)
- Careless driving (MCL 257.626b)
- Failure to use ordinary care, which is the care that a reasonably careful person would use (M Civ JI 10.02)
Types of injuries
The personal injuries that a crash victim may suffer as a result of being hit from behind include the following:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Talk and Die Syndrome
- Soft tissue injury
- Short term memory loss
- Herniated Disc
- Back pain
- Neck Injury
- Shoulder pain
- Mental Trauma
- Emotional distress
Your compensation after a rear end car accident will largely come from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage. Under Michigan law, the minimum liability limit that drivers must carry is $250,000/$500,000 – although drivers “may choose to purchase lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000. (MCL 500.3101(1); 500.3131(2); 500.3009(1)(a) and (b), (5))
If the vehicle being driven by the at-fault driver who injured you was an Uber or Lyft or a truck or commercial vehicle, then his or her liability insurance coverage limits may be higher.
When you have been injured in a rear end car accident, you may be able to recover No-Fault PIP benefits which will help pay for your medical bills, lost wages (if your injuries disable you from working), transportation and mileage costs for traveling to and from doctor appointments, household replacement services and attendant care services.
You will receive your No-Fault benefits from the auto insurance company that is responsible to pay under the No-Fault law’s “priority” rules.
Unlike compensation for pain and suffering and excess medical bills and lost wages, No-Fault benefits are available “without regard to fault” so you are entitled to receive them even before you have shown that the negligent driver who caused your crash was at-fault. (MCL 500.3105)
To start your claim, you must file a “written notice of injury” which is also called an application for No-Fault benefits with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the crash. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))
Failure to file a timely application for No-Fault benefits will result in the injured bicyclist being forever disqualified from claiming and recovering No-Fault benefits from the insurance company.
Call Michigan Auto Law for a free consultation with a lawyer
If you were injured in a rear end car accident, you can call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our experienced automobile crash attorneys to discuss your rights and what compensation and benefits you may be entitled to under the law. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.
(Source: Michigan Traffic Crash Facts, Statewide 2019, Crash, Crash Experience By Crash Type)