You are sitting at a stop light or driving on the freeway in rush-hour traffic, and the next person slams into you from the rear. In a mere instant, your life has changed, perhaps dramatically, and through no fault. Anything can happen while driving. No matter how many precautions are taken or your driving experience, car accidents can happen to anybody. One of the most common and devastating car accidents is a rear-end collision. You may be left anxious about your future, perhaps unable to work due to your injuries, and stressed about your finances. Having someone in your corner can make a huge difference in the outcome of your rear-end collision. A Fairbanks rear-end accident attorney from Ringstad Law Office can be the advocate you need, helping you through the claim process in the best way possible.
How Do Rear End Collision Accidents Occur?
A rear-end collision in Fairbanks can happen in any number of situations. Whether you’re stopped at a stop sign or red light, and someone hits you from behind, or a driver under the influence of alcohol doesn’t notice when you’ve stepped on the brakes, a rear-end collision can change your life in an instant. The impact can result not only in serious damage to your vehicle but serious injury as well.
A rear-end collision that caused detrimental injuries to you or a loved one can leave you feeling lost, frustrated, and in pain. A neck or back injury from a rear-end collision — two of the most common injuries — can put you out of work until you’ve healed, which means missed paychecks. Some injuries won’t show full effect for some time after the accident, meaning that you could be making trips to the doctor and paying for treatment months after the impact.
If you have expensive medical bills from the care necessary to treat your injury, you may struggle to pay them. In addition to financial setbacks, an injury can put a hold on your personal life in Fairbanks. Spending time with family and friends could become more complex, and participating in hobbies, like hiking or fishing, may be painful.
What Causes Most Rear-End Accidents in Alaska?
Rear-end accidents account for almost 30 percent of all automobile crashes. A rear-end auto or car accident—can happen in a mere 3-5 seconds. This is the same time it takes a person to look down at their phone to read a short text message.
As many as 1.7 million rear-end motor vehicles occur each year in the United States, killing as many as 1,700 people. Unfortunately, insurance companies often refer to rear-end accidents as “fender benders,” which allows them to downplay the potentially serious nature of the injuries resulting from a rear-end accident.
Distracted driving, including reading or sending texts, is the leading cause of Fairbanks, Alaska, rear-end car accidents (as well as rear-end car accidents across the United States). Distracted driving behaviors include talking on a cell phone, eating, changing car controls, setting or changing GPS directions, talking to passengers, and turning around to see what the kids and/ or pets are doing in the back seat. Other causes of rear-end accidents include:
- Overly fatigued drivers whose reaction times are slower than those fully rested.
- Aggressive driving behaviors like tailgating (following too closely), driving at unsafe speeds, cutting another person off, or “brake-checking” the person behind you can all cause rear-end accidents.
- Impaired driving can cause all sorts of accidents, including rear-end accidents.
Avoiding Rear-End Accidents in Fairbanks, Alaska
While you have little control over how closely another person is following you, you can do your part by avoiding driving while fatigued, impaired, or distracted and avoiding aggressive driving behaviors. When you consistently do the following, you can help avoid a rear-end accident:
- Abide by the rules of the road
- Never drive aggressively, i.e., follow the speed limit, and never tailgate another driver
- Minimize your distractions when you drive
- Never drive while overly fatigued or intoxicated
- Slow down when the weather is bad
Is the Driver in the Rear Always at Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident?
Generally speaking, the driver in the rear is usually responsible for a rear-end car accident. There are certain situations. However, that could result in the front driver is responsible for the accident. If the driver in front has brake lights that are not functional, failed to use a turn signal, or stopped suddenly for no reason, then that driver could be held responsible for the accident, so long as one of those things can be proven.
Alaska is a comparative negligence state, which means even if you are partially at fault for the accident, you could still collect damages from the other driver. If your fault in the rear-end accident is 20 percent, and the damages are $100,000, then your settlement would be reduced by $20,000, leaving damages of $80,000.
What Should You Do Following a Rear-End Car Accident?
A rear-end accident is much like any other car accident regarding what you need to do following the accident. Obtaining medical attention is the number one priority for all those involved in a car accident. Even if you think your injuries are not that severe, having a medical professional check you out is still a good idea. In many cases, the surge of adrenaline that floods your body following an accident can mask injury symptoms. Hours or days later, you may realize that your injuries are much more severe than you initially thought, but delaying treatment could result in your claim being denied or delayed. After ensuring everyone’s injuries are treated, do the following:
- Exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver
- Never admit fault, even to the point of avoiding saying “I’m sorry,” as this can be misconstrued as an admission of fault
- Take photos at the scene of the accident
- If there were witnesses, obtain contact information
- Once home, contact your own insurance company and give them the facts of the accident
- Write down anything you can think of about the accident that could potentially be helpful to your claim
- Contact an experienced Fairbanks Rear-end accident attorney from Ringstad Law Office, P.C.
Hiring a Fairbanks Rear-End Accident Attorney Near You
If a rear-end collision has resulted in your suffering, you deserve justice. The personal injury attorneys at Ringstad Law Office, P.C. are dedicated to helping Alaskan families impacted by car accidents. You don’t have to settle for the small amount offered by the driver’s insurance company. We will work with you to set goals through every step of the legal process.
At Ringstad Law Office, we believe you are going through enough stress and anxiety as it is. Let us negotiate a full and fair settlement on your behalf while you concentrate on getting better. You will work with Ken Ringstad from beginning to end—Ken has 35 years of experience helping people like you who have been injured in a car accident due to the negligence of another.
Contact us today or request a free consultation; we will let you know how our services can help your life get back to normal after a rear-end collision in Fairbanks.