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If you live or make frequent commutes in Chicago area, chances are you’ve seen it before—traffic is moving slowly along a freeway or suddenly comes to a halt, a motorist slams on their brakes, but not in time to avoid striking the vehicle in front of them. Or, another scenario—a vehicle is sitting at a red light or waiting to make a turn at an intersection, when all of a sudden they are struck from behind.
The Chicago Injury Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. represent victims that were injured as a result of a wreck in which one motor vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle. According to the NHSTA, rear-end crashes account for 28% of all automobile accidents nationwide, making this type of collision more common than any other type. In Illinois, however, rear-end collisions are slightly more common, accounting for 29% of all motor vehicle crashes that occur statewide each year, according to IDOT crash data.
Like many other states, Illinois has specifically addressed the issue of fault in rear-end collision within its traffic control laws, providing a rebuttable presumption of fault against the rear driver in such crashes. While the law does not mean that the rear driver will automatically be found to be at-fault, it does mean that a rear-driver is presumed to have caused the crash, unless evidence is presented to prove otherwise.
The overwhelming majority of rear-end crashes occur, whether wholly or in part, due to the negligent actions of a motorist in the rear position. Common examples include speeding; following too closely; traveling too fast given weather/roadway conditions; distracted driving; and impairment related to alcohol, drugs, or fatigue. In these cases, imputing fault upon the driver of the rear vehicle is typically much easier in light of such evidence, because few would dispute that the negligence of the rear driver either caused or contributed to the collision.
Although less common, rear-end collisions can also happen, whether wholly or in party, as a result of the negligence of a driver in the front (lead) position, such as where a lead vehicle suddenly comes to an unexpected or abrupt stop, thereby causing a rear vehicle to collide. Collisions of this nature have become increasingly common in the Chicago Metropolitan area as a result of drivers attempting to avoid traffic infractions at intersections equipped with red-light cameras.
Often time, the initial impact in a rear collision can cause subsequent accidents or collisions. For example, a rear driver may strike the vehicle in front of them, which then pushes that vehicle into another, and so on. In the reverse, a lead vehicle may stop abruptly, causing the vehicle behind them to collide, which then causes another vehicle to collide with that one, and so on. In some cases, a front vehicle can be pushed into an intersection, which can result in devastating consequences, such as striking a pedestrian or bicyclist, or being T-boned by a vehicle traveling in oncoming traffic.
Evaluating fault in rear-end crashes, although seemingly cut-and-dry, is something that should be performed on a case-by-case basis, and by an attorney skilled in representing clients in this particular type of accident. Insurance companies may try to negate or limit liability by asserting that some other factor or person, and not the negligence of the Defendant, caused or contributed to the crash. Having an experienced legal advocate in your corner, can ensure that justice is carried out to the fullest extent possible.
As car accident lawyers, we know that significant injuries can occur to a victim as a result of being rear-ended, even in low-impact collisions. Often, the victim is completely unaware, or has little time to embrace to brace themselves, prior to impact. Knowing your legal rights and options is the first step towards obtaining compensation.
The Chicago Attorneys of Zneimer & Zneimer P.C. provide comprehensive case evaluations in all personal injury matters free of charge to the victim. Send us a message online, or contact us by phone, at 773-516-4100.