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Approximately 2.5 million rear-end accidents happen across the United States each year. This amounts to more than 80 percent of car accidents in most major cities. Missouri and Illinois are no exception to this trend. Sadly, most of these accidents could have been prevented if the driver had maintained a proper following distance, traveled at a safe speed and paid attention to the road instead of distractions.
No matter how safely you drive, there is always the risk that a negligent driver will collide with you while you are stopped in traffic. Carelessness is never an excuse for a car accident. The Illinois and Missouri rear-end collision attorneys at The Cagle Law Firm can help you recover the compensation you deserve if you have been injured in a crash where you were struck from behind.
Factors in Missouri and Illinois Rear-End Accidents
In a typical rear-end crash, the driver who hits another vehicle from behind is usually assigned fault and liability. These accidents often happen when the lead car slows down or stops and the trailing vehicle does not stop before colliding with the car in front. Not paying attention and following too closely are some of the key ingredients for rear-end accidents.
Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of rear-end collisions. Any kind of distraction can translate into a serious auto accident. Some of the most common distracted driving behaviors include:
- Texting while driving
- Talking on a cell phone
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Adjusting the radio, CD player or MP3 player
- Using in-vehicle navigational devices
Besides the hazards of distracted driving, there are other things that can contribute to a rear-ender, including:
- Speed: Driving too fast can make it difficult to stop in time.
- Tailgating: It’s important to keep a safe distance behind the car in front of you. When there isn’t enough room to stop safely, a rear-end collision is more likely to occur.
- Alcohol or drugs: A driver who is under the influence of an intoxicating substance does not have good judgment on the road. Rear-end collisions are much more likely when the driver is not alert. Even prescription or over-the-counter medicines can dull the senses.
- Running a yellow or red light: Some rear-end accidents happen when the lead car stops safely for a yellow or red light but the driver behind attempts to run the light, causing a serious collision.
- Hazardous lane changes: People who change lanes at the last second and swerve quickly in front of cars create circumstances that may conclude with a rear-end collision. This is one of the rare situations where the driver of the car in front could be found at fault.
- Weather conditions: Limited visibility raises the risk of not seeing the car in front of you, causing rear-end accidents. Safe drivers slow down and increase their following distance in fog, smoke, rain, snow and other conditions that limit visibility.
- Mechanical failure: Vehicles can take longer to stop when they have worn brakes or tires without enough tread. This can lead to a rear-end collision.
- Insufficient braking: Even if the brakes work fine, some drivers fail to apply them hard enough to stop the car. Most cars today have anti-lock brakes (ABS) that work most effectively when the driver steadily applies maximum force, instead of pumping the pedal.
Automobile bumpers are designed for accidents such as rear-end collisions, protecting the car from serious damage in some wrecks. But the fact is that even low-velocity crashes of this sort can cause severe injuries such as:
- Spinal cord injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back and neck injuries
- Carpal tunnel injury occurring when the driver braces for impact
- Ankle and knee injuries, which can happen when the legs are flexed in anticipation of impact
- Facial and head injuries caused by airbag deployment
If you have been struck from behind by another driver, you are likely to suffer from one or more of these types of injuries. The symptoms tend to worsen several days after the accident. That’s why it is so important that you not sign anything or give a recorded statement to the insurance company following an accident. Instead, we recommend that you seek medical treatment and call our office to ensure that your legal rights are adequately protected.
Rear-End Collisions Where Trailing Driver Is Not At Fault
Missouri and Illinois have a presumption of fault in rear-end collisions. This means the law presumes that the driver of the car that hits another in the rear is at fault. It is possible to rebut this presumption in narrow instances where the driver of the automobile making the contact isn’t responsible. These scenarios include:
- When a driver makes an unsafe lane change in front of your vehicle while braking at the same time, causing a rear-end collision. Sometimes driver negligence is to blame for accidents like this. Other times it is an intentional act of road rage or an attempt at insurance fraud.
- When your vehicle is completely stopped for a traffic signal or traffic sign and you are rear-ended by another vehicle, forcing your car to hit the automobile in front of you.
Contact Our Experienced St. Louis Rear-End Accident Lawyers Today
Contact our knowledgeable Missouri and Illinois rear-end collision lawyers to answer your questions and explain liability in a car accident. The Cagle Law Firm has handled many types of car accidents, including those involving rear-end collisions. You could be entitled to receive damages for an accident of this kind. We are dedicated to making sure you’re not left to pick up the pieces alone.
Call our St. Louis rear-end car accident attorneys today at (314) 276-1681 for a free consultation, or use our online contact form.