Have you been injured in a rear-end collision? If so, you are not alone. There were over two million rear-end accidents in the United States in 2018. Thousands of people were injured or died because of rear-end crashes.

If you were injured in a rear-end collision, you could be entitled to substantial compensation for your injuries. However, you need to take steps to protect your legal rights. The first step is seeking medical care for your injuries to document your injuries for a personal injury claim.

Common Injuries in an Oklahoma Rear-End Car Accident

People usually associate rear-end collisions with whiplash. While whiplash is a common rear-end car accident injury, rear-impact crashes cause a variety of injuries. 

Whiplash is a term used to describe injuries to the cervical ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Upon impact, the person’s head violently moves back and forth. The sudden and forceful movements cause injury to the soft tissues in the neck.

Even though most cases of whiplash heal within a few weeks or months, some accident victims experience long-term pain and other symptoms that interfere with work and their daily routines. Documentation of these symptoms and continued medical treatment are essential for recovering fair compensation for a whiplash injury. 

In addition to whiplash, victims of rear-end accidents sustain injuries including:

Do not assume that you are “fine” because you have some aches and pains but nothing you consider serious. It could take a couple of days for some symptoms to appear after a rear-end accident. Some symptoms could be masked by or mistaken for aches and pains.

It is always a good idea to be checked by a physician after a car accident. You do not want your injuries to become worse. You also need medical documentation for your personal injury claim.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Rear-End Collision

Oklahoma is an at-fault state for traffic accidents. What that means for you is that you must prove the other driver caused the accident to recover compensation for your claim.

Drivers in Oklahoma are required to purchase and maintain minimum amounts of liability car insurance. Liability insurance protects victims in a car accident caused by the insured. The insurance company compensates the accident victim for injuries and damages up to the policy limits.

The minimum amount of bodily injury insurance required per person is $25,000. If the other driver caused the rear-end crash, you could file an insurance claim with the driver’s insurance provider. However, if the driver has minimum insurance coverage, the company is only liable for up to $25,000. 

For victims who sustained traumatic injuries in a rear-end accident, $25,000 may not cover the entire claim. They can work with a personal injury lawyer to identify other forms of compensation. The accident victim might receive compensation from their underinsured motorist policy, or they might want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.

Deciding how to proceed can be difficult unless you know the laws governing your claim and have experience handling car accident claims. An accident lawyer provides guidance and legal advice to help you decide what options are best for you.

What Damages are Available for Rear-End Injuries?

When a person is injured in a car crash, that person might have economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic or financial damages are the expenses and monetary losses caused by the accident. They include your medical bills, out-of-pocket expenses, and lost income. 

Your non-economic damages represent the pain and suffering caused by the accident and your injuries. Pain and suffering damages are more difficult to value. There are no bills for pain and suffering, and there is no statutory formula that parties must use to calculate pain and suffering.

Pain and suffering damages include the physical, mental, and emotional suffering and pain you experienced. They also include permanent injuries or disabilities, scaring, and disfigurements. Loss of quality of life, PTSD, depression, and other emotional disorders are also part of your non-economic damages.

The insurance company tries to undervalue your damages to save money. An experienced injury lawyer understands how to maximize damages to seek the highest settlement amount possible for your rear-end car accident claim.

How Long Does it Take to Settle a Rear-End Car Accident Claim?

The one factor that you cannot control is how long it takes you to recover from your rear-end accident injuries. You should not settle your claim before your doctor releases you from treatment. Settling your claim before you complete treatment generally results in a much lower settlement amount.

Settlement agreements are binding contracts. Once you sign the settlement agreement, your claim ends. You release all claims, known and unknown, against all parties involved in the accident. 

In other words, you cannot try to get more money, even if you discover you need additional surgery or physical therapy. You are bound by the terms of the settlement agreement.

Therefore, the duration of your recovery is a factor in the timeline for a rear-end accident claim. The good news is that your personal injury lawyer works on your case while you recover from your injuries. He gathers evidence proving fault and begins to gather evidence documenting your damages.

When your doctor releases you, your attorney discusses your prognosis with the doctor and obtains a letter detailing any permanent impairments or disabilities. If there are no other issues with your case, your attorney prepares a settlement demand package for the insurance company.

The insurance company can accept or deny the settlement offer. It can also make a counterclaim. Your car accident lawyer may spend several weeks or months negotiating with the insurance company before agreeing to a settlement. 

If the insurance company refuses to negotiate in good faith, your lawyer might advise you that it is time to file a personal injury lawsuit. There are time limits for filing lawsuits related to car accidents, so you do not want to wait too long to file your case. 

Attorneys work diligently to settle car accident claims as quickly as possible without jeopardizing your recovery. They understand that you need money now to help with expenses and costs.

Bottom Line for Rear-End Collision Injuries

You need prompt medical treatment after a rear-end collision. Do not discuss the accident with the insurance company until you talk to your personal injury lawyer. With your lawyer, you can fight to hold the negligent driver responsible for your injuries financially liable for your damages.