Rear-End Accidents: Is It Possible To Sue After Being Struck From Behind While Stopped?

Being involved in any type of accident can be devastating and turn a good day into a bad one, but it seems to be even worse when you are involved in an accident while sitting at a stop sign or a red light. Fender-benders are one thing, but this type of rear-end collision is just that much more annoying. In some cases, depending on the type of vehicle that you're in or how fast the person behind you was driving, it could result in serious injury or possibly even death. So, if you are rear-ended while at a stop sign or red light, do you have the right to sue the person behind you?

Rear-End Accidents Are Extremely Common, But You Still Have Rights

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28 percent of vehicle accidents were rear-end collisions. Luckily, many drivers are able to walk away from a rear-end accident with not even a scratch on their body and just a few scratches on their vehicle. However, this doesn't mean that you are going to be this lucky. Your vehicle is going to sustain some damage, the most obvious of which will be found on the back end of the car, such as the bumper and possibly the back quarter panels. However, there may be some things that you don't notice right away, such as frame damage, reduced structural integrity of windshields or damage to the locking mechanisms.

Assuming that you have auto insurance, your insurance company will likely cover some of the auto repair expenses. However, they may not be able to cover all of your accident-related medical bills, especially if the injuries are extensive. It isn't uncommon for rear-end collisions to result in whiplash and other head and neck injuries that may not appear for several hours or days after the accident occurred. These injuries can take a significant amount of time and money to treat, during which time you will endure pain and suffering. A lawsuit against the driver that hit you may be able to help you recover a financial award for your medical and vehicular damages.

What Do You Do If It Was a Chain Reaction Crash?

In some cases, you may be struck from behind by another car that was also stopped. A completely different person may have actually caused the collision, which turned into an accident involving multiple vehicles. If you decide to pursue a lawsuit for monetary damages, you may be able to name any and all drivers involved in the accident in your claim. This is under the idea of joint and several liability, which allows you to sue all the individuals involved in the accident, including the driver directly behind you, even if he or she was not the one who specifically caused the collision. However, this particular doctrine may not be established in your state.

Rear-end accidents can be very complex and involve multiple parties (including insurance companies). Therefore, it may not be something that you want to try to handle on your own. A car accident attorney, like those at Scherline And Associates, can help you understand your rights and your potential options moving forward.