A rear-end impact accident is one of the most common types of accidents. It occurs when the front end of one car impacts the rear-end of another car. For a party to recover damages they must demonstrate liability or a breach of a duty of care. This is easy to do in a rear-end accident. In essence the court almost presumes liability due to the way the collision happened. In fact, an insurance company or defense counsel in reviewing these types of claims often will not argue about liability and will concentrate on the injury from the accident.
In other situations, the courts looks to the relative fault of the parties. This is commonly referred to as comparative negligence. The court, most often a jury, compares the negligence of the parties to come to a conclusion about how much the party will recover. The party only recovers the share of the occurrence for which another party is responsible. However, the party cannot be fifty percent or more at fault (50%) to recover for the occurrence. For example, if a party is thirty percent (30%) at fault and suffered $1000. in damages then the recovery would be .70 times 1000. or $700.
Although liability in a rear end collision is clear the scope or degree of the collision is still very important to consider. This is because in terms of personal injury the force of the impact is thought to relate to the severity of the injury and, therefore, claim.
For example, if a car is rear-ended when at a stop light or stop sign by an out of control dump truck which both totals the car and pushes the rear seat of the car into the driver's seat of the car one can expect serious injuries. Even if wearing a seat belt one might sustain a cervical or thoracic injury and associated nerve compression which could be permanent in nature. An insurance company would view injuries of this kind as reasonably caused by the accident.
Injuries from a low speed collision occur, but insurance claim adjusters look to the force of the collision and resulting physical damage to determine what personal injury is "reasonable" in the circumstances. A low speed accident causes less physical damage and any injury would be considered in that context. Although injury can occur in that context such a case is more difficult to prove. One needs to be aware of this and gather and offer medical and factual evidence to support this claim. Factual evidence would include gathering statements from family and friends who were witness to the suffering of the injured person. Additionally, evidence of the activities that the injured party had to stop or give up is important. Perhaps as a result of the collision an individual played a musical instrument such as a panino or engages in other activities which must be given up at least for a while while recovering.