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What to Look Out For In Rear Ended Claims

Claims for Rear Ended Car Accident Compensation: An Introduction

As rear ended car accident compensation claims are some of the most common personal injury claims made in Ireland, and this fact has driven up the potential for false claims – particularly rear end whiplash claims – insurance companies, acting on behalf of a policyholder accused of negligence, are more frequently making investigations into the circumstances surrounding rear ended injuries compensation claims and are subsequently less willing to automatically admit their client’s liability.

Although rear end car accidents are known as being one of the principal reasons behind all personal injury claims in Ireland, all claims for rear ended car accident compensation are unique, even when the injuries suffered are the same. Therefore, you should always seek professional legal advice about making claims for rear end car accidents to ensure that your compensation claim is given the individual attention it merits, and not simply treated as a number.

In the following article, you will find an outline of the elements involved in pursuing claims for rear end car accidents. However, kindly note that is merely a guideline and is by no means a substitute for the expert legal advice you would receive from a personal injury solicitor.

The Main Causes for Rear End Car Accidents

Most rear end car crashes are due to driver error and are preventable. Listed below are some causes of rear end car accidents:

  • When the following driver is inattentive – due to but not restricted to – long distance driving without breaks or excessive working hours.
  • When the following driver behaves negligently -due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving
  • When there are moving hazards on the road; animals or pedestrians, for example
  • When stationary hazards are on the road; such as road-works
  • When weather conditions are not ideal for driving, especially when there is heavy rain or fog
  • When roads are wet, especially on uneven surfaces
  • When roads are icy or covered with black ice
  • When the following driver is distracted by a mobile phone
  • When a feature of the car is faulty, damaged brakes or broken brake lights, for example
  • When the car in front demonstrated poor signalling before braking to turn a corner or change lanes
  • When the car in front is parked on the road without hazard warning lights due to a breakdown

The most common reasons for rear end car crashes is that the rear car had not been maintaining a safe distance from the car in front, had been driving too fast in relation to road conditions or that the rear car driver was distracted or inattentive.

Who is to Blame in Claims for Rear Ended Car Accident Compensation?

The law and insurance companies will more often than not assume that the driver of the rear vehicle is to blame for a rear end collision unless proven otherwise. As mentioned in the introduction, insurance companies for the driver accused of negligence are less willing to accept liability in claims for rear end accidents, especially as the default position does not usually consider the many circumstances that may implicate full or partial blame on the front car driver – such as if the car’s brake lights are damaged.

It is recommended, therefore, that you should request for a Garda presence at the scene of the accident and call an ambulance if you or another passenger in the car you were travelling in sustained an injury, even if liability was admitted by the negligent driver immediately after the accident occurred. The Gardai may not attend if they do not consider the accident adequately serious and in this case you would be advised to make a personal report of the rear end car crash to the Gardai at the earliest opportunity.

Any call or personal visit made to the Gardai is recorded in a log and, although this will not prove the liability of the negligent driver, your solicitor would be able to use your call and accident report as evidence that your accident occurred should a dispute develop over your claim for rear ended car accident compensation.

Claims for Rear End Car Crash Accidents: Injuries

Although injuries you could sustain in a rear end collision include damage to the spinal cord, fractures, concussion and traumatic brain injuries, the most common injury is whiplash. You should always seek expert medical attention immediately after an accident – even if initially you do not appear to be seriously hurt – especially as whiplash symptoms tend not to reveal themselves until some days after an accident.

Failure to be treated by a medical practitioner for several days or even weeks after an accident could affect compensation for your rear ended car accident claim, as the negligent party’s insurance company may contend that you worsened your injury between the time of the accident and when you finally sought medical attention. Therefore, the value of your rear ended car accident compensation claim may be lowered due to this demonstration of your own lack of care.

Process for Claiming Compensation for a Rear End Car Crash

The first step in the process for claiming rear end accident compensation is applying for an assessment by the Injuries Board Ireland. The negligent driver’s insurance company may investigate your claim further – as the Injuries Board does not allocate blame in rear end car crashes – and, as a consequence, may choose to withhold consent for your claim until they are convinced it is legitimate.

When consent is received for the assessment to go ahead, the amount of compensation you are entitled to will be calculated by the Injuries Board on the basis of the information you have provided to them, your doctor´s medical assessment and, in some cases, a further medical examination will be required to evaluate the progress of your recovery – particularly if your injury is whiplash due to the irregularity of soft tissue injuries.

The Compensation Value of Claims for Rear End Car Accidents

The value of compensation you will receive for an injury sustained in a rear end car accident is subject to many factors; the nature of your injury, how long you may be debilitated during your recovery and any financial expenses you may have acquired. The Book of Quantum – which contains lists of possible injuries along with a range of financial values according to the degree of each injury´s severity – is a publication the Injuries Board use to measure your physical injuries against. The calculation of financial expenses or loss of income depends on receipts and payslips received by the Injuries Board when you submit your assessment application.

Another factor to consider in claims for rear end car accidents is the potential plaintiff’s “loss of amenity”. The affect your injuries have on your quality of life, your capacity for performing everyday tasks and your ability to partake in social and leisure activities all relate to an accident victim’s “loss of amenity”. It is recommended that you have a solicitor evaluate your application for assessment as there is very little space allocated to “loss of amenity” on the application for assessment or guidance provided on how to account for this element of your rear ended accident compensation claim, and it is important that this factor is presented effectively.

Rear End Car Crashes Involving Passengers

Passengers in rear end car accidents often sustain more severe injuries than the driver, who is at a double advantage of being naturally more aware of his or her surroundings and being able to see a car approaching from his or her rear view mirror – therefore having a vital split second more than their passengers to prepare for impact. Even if the passenger who sustained injuries in a rear end car crash were travelling in the same car as the negligent driver, they are entitled to claim for rear ended car accident compensation.

Due to their weaker neck muscles, women and children are prone to more severe soft tissue injuries – especially in rear end whiplash claims. All personal injury claims for children – including those sustained in rear end car crashes –must be made by a parent or guardian acting as representative for the child, and approval of the compensation settlement has to be given from a court before the claim for rear end car accident injuries can be resolved. Your solicitor can give you more information on making claims for rear end car accidents on behalf of a child.

Insurance Company’s Role in Claims for Rear End Car Accidents

As mentioned in the introduction, insurance companies are more frequently investigating personal injury claims for rear end car accidents that are made against their policyholder, challenging them when they can. That said, you may be directly approached with an offer of compensation for a rear ended car accident claim from the insurance company in the days after the accident when the insurance company becomes aware of your injury – particularly in cases where their client has been unquestionably negligent.

The insurance company will act entirely for their own benefit and the prime motive behind these offers of compensation will be to keep their expenses as low as possible. It may be tempting to accept a quick settlement, but it is worth noting that the value they present will most likely not reflect your full entitlement to rear ended car crash compensation. It is advisable to consult a solicitor if encountered with a situation such as this one, to ensure you do not inadvertently accept an offer of rear ended car accident compensation which is inappropriate to the level of your injury.

Advice for Rear End Car Crash Compensation Claims

Many solicitors offer advice for rear ended car accident compensation claims and can make an assessment in an initial consultation. They can use this initial consultation to determine whether you have a viable claim which is worth your while to pursue and then they would advise you on the best way to initiate proceedings.

You should not wait to begin consultations with a solicitor even if some details in your case may prevent you from submitting rear ended car accident compensation claims immediately – where, for example, the symptoms of your injuries have not yet been fully revealed or if more reports are required to ensure your claim is legitimate.

Claims for Rear End Car Accidents: Summary

  • In Ireland, one third of traffic accident injuries result from rear end car accidents – whiplash and soft tissue damage in particular.
  • A common cause of rear end car crashes is drivers leaving inadequate braking distance between their car and the one in front of them.
  • Inclement weather conditions and inattentive drivers also contribute to the number of rear end car crashes.
  • It is of the utmost importance to ensure you are given medical attention and undergo an examination to diagnose any injuries.
  • Before applying for an assessment of your claim to the Injuries Board, it is in your best interest to have your case reviewed by a solicitor.

If you are approached with an offer of compensation from the negligent party’s insurance company, make sure to refer it to a solicitor to determine whether it is sufficient to cover the full effect of your injuries.