Rear-end collisions are common in New Jersey and across the country. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that they make up 28% of all motor vehicle collisions. If you are rear-ended, you may suffer serious injuries, depending on the speed and force of the collision. It can be expensive to seek the appropriate medical care and therapy. For many people, it is not possible to pay for the appropriate treatment and take time off from work to recover or for medical procedures without filing a personal injury lawsuit. If you are injured in a rear-end collision, you should consult the New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Grimes Law Firm.Bringing a Claim Based on a Rear-End Collision
Rear-end collisions are a common type of car accident and may cause serious injuries. Often, they are results of negligence. If you are injured in a rear-end collision, you will likely need to prove the other driver's negligence by showing the duty of the other driver to use reasonable care, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages. Breaches of duty that can result in a rear-end collision include texting while driving, speeding, tailgating, reckless or aggressive driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, and fatigued driving.
It is very common for rear-end collisions to be caused by the driver to the rear following too closely. Under N.J.S.A. § 39:4-89, the driver to the rear is not supposed to follow more closely behind the car in front of them than is considered prudent and reasonable. A driver who is tailgating may be ticketed and have five points assessed on their license. The New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicle Drivers' Manual asks that drivers keep one car length between their own car and the one that they are following for every 10 mph of speed. Generally, a good following distance involves following three seconds or more behind another car, but this distance should be greater when the weather or traffic conditions are poor. For example, if it is foggy, and there is poor visibility, the driver behind should leave more room to brake and come to a complete stop.
Most often, the driver in the rear is at fault. However, there are situations in which the driver in the front may be at fault. For example, if the driver in the front suddenly starts backing up quickly in the midst of traffic, they may be at fault. Similarly, if the driver in the front has failed to maintain their brake lights, so there is no warning that they are braking and coming to a stop, they may be at fault. For another example, if the driver in the front merges without yielding as required, they may be at fault.
Often, an insurance adjuster for the other driver will call the injured accident victim and ask questions in hopes of finding ways in which the accident victim is to blame for the accident. If you have injuries, it is important not to talk to the other adjuster until you consult an attorney. In New Jersey, a modified rule of comparative negligence is followed. Under this doctrine, your damages will be reduced by an amount equal to your percentage of fault. However, your fault for the collision cannot be more than the fault of the driver from whom you are seeking damages. You can recover damages if both you and the other driver are 50% at fault, or if you are less than 50% at fault, but you are barred from recovering anything if you are more at fault than the other person. For example, if your damages are $200,000, and you are 30% at fault, you can recover $140,000 from the other driver.Discuss Your Rear-End Collision Case with a Knowledgeable New Jersey Lawyer
If you were injured in a rear-end collision in New Jersey and believe that the other driver was at least partially at fault, you should consult an experienced personal injury attorney. At the Grimes Law Firm, we represent victims of car and truck accidents in Neshanic Station and elsewhere in Somerset County, as well as throughout the tri-state area. Call us at (908) 371-1066 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.