Of all the different types of car accidents that happen on Indiana roads, rear-end collisions are some of the most common. These car accidents make up nearly a quarter of all Indiana car accidents, and they can happen anywhere. And, unfortunately, even the most seemingly straightforward collision can easily become a serious case.

If you’ve been involved in one of these collisions, a knowledgeable Fishers rear-end accident lawyer can help you protect and advocate for yourself throughout the claims process so that you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to.

rear end accident lawyer

Causes of Rear-End Accidents

A rear-end accident occurs when the front of one vehicle collides with the back of another vehicle. Occasionally, rear-endings have a domino-like effect that occurs when one vehicle collides with the car in front of it, which then collides with the car in front of it, and so on.

The experienced Fishers car accident lawyers at our Indiana personal injury law firm can tell you that while rear-end accidents are less likely to be fatal than frontal or side collisions, the extent of injuries and damage depends on the speed at which the vehicles were going before they collided. Other factors — such as road conditions and the type of vehicle — also play important roles.

Reckless driving is one of the most common causes of rear-end collisions. However, as experienced rear-end accident attorneys we can tell you that even the safest drivers can cause or fall victim to a rear-end accident if the conditions are right. Some of the most common causes of rear-endings in Hamilton County include:

  • Speeding. Drivers who exceed the speed limit are more likely to become involved in a rear-end collision. These drivers may not be able to stop their vehicles in time to avoid a collision with another car.
  • Tailgating. Tailgating is one of the primary causes of rear-end collisions. Following another vehicle too closely impacts your reaction time and offers less of a buffer between your vehicle and the one ahead of you.
  • Distracted driving. Texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, and other forms of distracted driving can lead to a rear-end accident. A driver who isn’t focused on the road in front of them may not be able to see or react to a potentially dangerous situation in time to prevent a collision.
  • Inclement weather. Rain, snow, and fog can be difficult to see through and can contribute to rear-end collisions simply because a driver is unable to accurately see what is in front of them. Slippery or icy roads can also be dangerous, as they may cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle or prevent them from stopping safely.
  • Faulty brakes. Poorly maintained cars may develop defects. One of the most common issues is a faulty braking system. If your car’s brakes aren’t in prime condition, you may not be able to stop in time to prevent a rear-end collision.
  • Driver error. Drivers are only human, and sometimes they make mistakes. In some cases, a driver may fail to obey traffic laws, drive while fatigued, or even mistakenly press on the gas rather than the brake — all of which may lead to rear-ending the car in front of them.

Driving under the influence. It’s never safe to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Driving under the influence greatly reduces your reaction time and awareness, making it difficult to drive safely and avoid collisions.

Do Rear-End Car Accidents Occur Often?

The U.S. sees roughly six million vehicle crashes every year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end crashes are the most commonly occurring type of collision and are responsible for 29% of all crashes. In 2020, rear-end crashes were responsible for over 2,000 fatalities.

And even if a rear-end collision doesn’t result in fatalities, it can still result in a plethora of health issues and injuries, including shoulder and back injuries, whiplash, and head trauma. These accidents can even exacerbate pre-existing conditions. Rear-end collisions can also cause significant damage to your vehicle. While these accidents can occur anywhere, they’re more likely to take place at stop signs, traffic signals, or on stretches of road with limited visibility.

Rear-end accidents are especially common in heavy commuter traffic on highways and thoroughfares. Distracted driving — especially texting or talking on a phone — will greatly increase your risk of rear-ending the vehicle in front of you.

Proving Fault in a Rear-End Car Accident in Indiana

As Fishers rear end car accident lawyers, we can tell you that while most people assume that the driver of the rear car is always at fault in a rear-ending accident, this is not the case.

Indiana is one of many states that operates under a comparative fault system. This means that something like a rear-end car collision is not all-or-nothing. The responsibility for the accident can be spread out between all the drivers involved. In court, a jury may find either driver, both drivers, or even no one at fault for the accident.

A driver who rear-ends the vehicle in front of them will generally be at fault, especially if the rear-ending occurs at a stop sign, stop light, roundabout, or in congested traffic. This is because the rear car should be far enough away from the front vehicle to ensure there is adequate space to brake and avoid a collision. However, a rear accident attorney will be aware of several exceptions may make the front driver partially or fully responsible for the accident.

These exceptions may include situations in which:

  • The front driver enters the street from a parking lot or road without leaving sufficient space for the rear car.
  • The front driver is behaving erratically or aggressively.
  • The front car changes lanes or turns suddenly without signaling.
  • The front driver slams suddenly on the brakes, reverses, or stops their vehicle on the road.
  • The front car has broken brake lights.

Fault, liability, and compensation all depend on what happened during your rear-end collision and the amount of damage or injuries that were sustained. We recommend working with a local Fishers, IN, rear end car accident attorney who can help you obtain proof of liability and fight for your right to fair compensation.

What To Do if You Are in a Rear End Car Accident

If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, there are several things you must do immediately after your accident to help protect yourself, your passengers, your finances, and your case.

Step One: Care for injuries

Rear-end accidents may lead to serious injuries such as whiplash, spine or brain trauma, bruising, and more. Medical care is of the utmost importance, especially if you’ve been involved in a collision and have lost consciousness or are experiencing pain.

If you or another person involved in the incident has been injured, call 911 right away. Even if your injuries seem minor, you should still seek medical care from emergency responders or your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Step Two: Find a safe spot

If the vehicles are still in working condition and it is safe to do so, move them out of traffic to the side of the road. Choose a safe spot where you can exchange information and wait for help to arrive without putting yourselves in danger

Step Three: Exchange information

Once it’s safe to do so, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Be sure to ask for their insurance information, name, and phone number. Remember, when talking to others, be sure not to admit fault for the accident, as doing so can hurt your case.

If the driver of the other vehicle attempts to leave the scene, take down as much information about the vehicle as possible, including the license plate number and make, model, and color of the car.

Step Four: Talk to witnesses

If there were witnesses to the accident, it might be helpful to gather information from them. Ask for their names and contact information

Step Five: Photograph the scene

If it’s safe and feasible to do so, take pictures of the accident. Document any damage to the vehicles involved. You may also wish to photograph the area where the accident occurred, especially if any significant features may have contributed to the collision, such as a blind curve or steep hill.

Step Six: Speak to an auto accident lawyer

Rear-end accidents may seem cut and dry, yet they can be surprisingly complicated. You should always contact a knowledgeable car accident lawyer to help you navigate the accident.

Your Indiana car crash attorney can help you determine fault and liability, negotiate with your insurance company, guide you through your claim, and ensure that you receive the compensation that you’re entitled to.

    Important Things to Know About Indiana Car Accident Laws

    When it comes to car accidents, every state has unique laws, and Indiana is no exception. Here are a few key laws put together by our Fishers personal injury lawyers which you need to know about..

    1. Drivers are required to carry certain types of insurance.

    In Fishers, Indiana, and throughout the entire state, drivers are required to carry the following:

    • Bodily injury liability. This covers injuries to others if you are at fault. Law requires coverage of at least $50,000 per accident and $25,000 per person.
    • Property damage liability. This covers damage to property if you are at fault. You must carry a minimum of $25,000 per accident.
    • Uninsured motorist bodily injury. Pays for damages caused by an uninsured driver. You must have $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.

    Uninsured motorist property damage and underinsured motorist bodily injury are automatically included in new insurance policies, though you may waive these protections via a written request. There are also several other optional coverages, such as collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, that Indiana drivers may obtain.

    2. Indiana uses a comparative fault system.

    At-fault states like Indiana require drivers who are at fault for an accident to pay for damages. If more than one party is considered at fault for the collision, Indiana utilizes a comparative negligence — or comparative fault — system.

    According to comparative fault laws, at-fault victims may still recover damages if their share of fault for the accident is 50% or less. Additionally, your compensation will be reduced according to your share of the fault. For example, let’s say a jury finds you 30% guilty for an accident and awards you $10,000 in damages. This amount will be reduced by 30%, leaving you with a settlement of $7,000.

    3. Any injured party can file a personal injury lawsuit.

    After a collision, any injured party may file a claim to recover compensation for injury or damages, both economic and non-economic. These claims most often involve insurance companies, which can complicate the proceedings. If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, it’s important to protect your rights by following the steps above and reaching out to an auto accident attorney as soon as possible.

    What Do I Do if I was Rear Ended by an Uninsured or Underinsured Driver in Indiana

    While Indiana state law requires drivers to carry car insurance, some drivers remain uninsured. This can greatly complicate your insurance claim, which is why if you have been in an accident partnering with a rear end accident lawyer may be essential to your case.

    If you have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, you can file a UM/UIM claim with your insurance company to help recover some of your losses. This may also be necessary if you are involved in a hit-and-run accident and can’t find or contact the other involved party.

    One of our Hamilton County car crash lawyers can help you determine your next steps if you’ve been struck by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

    Automobile Accident Lawyer in Fishers, Indiana

    If you are the victim of a rear-end collision, you may be entitled to compensation. Likewise, even if you are an at-fault party in a rear-ending, you may be able to recover some compensation to help pay for any injuries or damages you might have incurred.

    Our car accident attorneys have been serving citizens of Fishers, Indiana, and other cities throughout Hamilton County. We stand ready to help you, too. Don’t wait. Reach out to us today.

    Some of the locations our law firm serves includes: Evansville, South Bend, Carmel, Noblesville, Greenwood, Indianapolis, Gary, Highland, Munster, East Chicago, Hammond, Lawrence, Westfield, and more.

    Additional Resources and FAQs

    What Does A Car Accident Lawyer Do?

    How Much Is a Car Accident Settlement Worth?

    Do I Need a Lawyer for a Minor Car Accident?

    Car Accident FAQs