Rear-End Collision Attorneys in Roanoke, Virginia
Virginia is an at-fault auto insurance state, which means that the driver who causes the accident will be financially responsible for any resulting injuries and damages, generally through their auto insurance policy. Sometimes, it’s clear who was at fault in a collision, but at other times it may be more challenging; for example, in a rear-end case, the trailing driver who runs into the lead vehicle may not always be at fault.
Say you are injured in an auto accident and your vehicle is damaged due to the negligence or recklessness of another driver, the law requires you to seek compensation from that driver’s insurance company by filing a claim.
The at-fault driver’s insurer will then assign a claims adjuster to sort through what happened, but in the process will likely try to get you to admit some form of fault to low-ball or even deny your claim. That’s why it is vital to let a personal injury/car accident attorney handle all negotiations for you.
If you have been rear-ended in or around Roanoke, Virginia, contact us at Cranwell & Moore P.L.C., Attorneys at Law. We will handle negotiations for you and if necessary, file a lawsuit if the insurance company is too unreasonable in its settlement offers. We strive to obtain fair and just compensation for your injuries and losses.
Virginia’s Auto Insurance Requirements
The Code of Virginia Section 46.2-472 sets forth the requirements for auto insurance in the Commonwealth. There are actually two tiers, one governing the period from January 1, 2022, to January 1, 2025, and the other commencing on January 1, 2025.
The current requirements can be abbreviated 30/60/20. In other words, $30,000 in bodily injury coverage for one injured person, $60,000 for all persons, and $20,000 in property damage, but the coverage is only for injuries and property damage you cause to others, not for what happens to you. In 2025, the limits will rise to 50/100/25: $50,000 in bodily injury for one person, $100,000 for all persons, and $25,000 for property damage.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Drivers have a requirement to operate their vehicles safely. By accepting a driver’s license, each person also accepts what is known as a “duty of care” toward others on the road. That means to observe all traffic laws, speed limits, and posted traffic warnings, and watch out for your fellow drivers.
In the case of a rear-end collision, trailing drivers are expected to keep a safe distance so they can stop without smashing into the rear of the other vehicle. In most rear-enders, it is usually the case that the trailing driver was indeed following too closely and/or not paying enough attention to the traffic in front of them.
However, the lead driver can also be at fault for a rear-ender if:
Their brake lights didn’t function properly.
They suddenly slammed on their brakes for no valid reason; often referred to as “brake checks.”
They suddenly put the vehicle in reverse.
They experienced a mechanical problem but didn’t pull over to the side of the road.
Brake checks are a form of road rage, whereby the lead driver chooses to slam on their brakes to irritate, intimidate, or get even with the trailing driver. Brake-check incidents can also lead to physical altercations.
Injuries That Can Result from Rear-End Collisions
If you’re in the lead car, the force of the impact can send you forward in a violent motion. Your neck and back can be affected. You may end up with whiplash, or even with a back strain or sprain.
Whiplash can result in neck pain and soreness long after the accident, in some cases up to a year. A strain results from muscles or tendons being twisted, pulled, or torn. A sprain is similar but it refers to the ligaments rather than the muscles or tendons.
You could also end up with a slipped or herniated disc. Discs are like rubbery cushions between the bones in your back. Some people may never feel the result of herniated discs, but others may experience arm or leg pain, numbness or tingling, or muscle weakness.
Spinal stenosis can also result in the lower back or neck. Spinal stenosis results from a narrowing of the spaces in your spine, putting pressure on the spinal nerves. Probably the most severe injury is a spinal fracture. You could end up in a brace or corset from months afterwards, or even have to undergo surgery to have bone cement fuse the fracture.
As noted earlier, all drivers have a duty of care for others on the road, whether driving vehicles, riding motorcycles, pedaling a bicycle, or walking on the side of the road. If drivers fail to observe that duty of care, then the legal principle of negligence sets in. To prevail in a case involving negligence, you must show four elements:
The other party had a duty of care (which they do by law when driving.)
The other party breached that duty through negligence.
The breach caused you and/or your passengers injury and damages.
Those injuries and damages resulted in expenses that should be compensated for.
A knowledgeable attorney can assist you throughout the entire process and keep your best interests in mind.
Rear-End Collision Attorneys Serving Roanoke, Virginia
If you are injured in a rear-ender, don’t deal with the insurance company claims adjuster on your own. Seek out our services and let us handle the insurance company and claims adjusters. If need be, we can also seek compensation through a lawsuit. Contact us at Cranwell & Moore, P.L.C., Attorneys at Law. We’ll strive for the best possible compensation for you and yours, while keeping you involved and informed every step of the way.