Law enforcement officers in RI or Mass. could issue a ticket for following the other vehicle too closely, officially declaring you and you alone to be responsible for the car crash. No investigation, no inquiry, no trial could absolve us from responsibility if we rear-ended someone (at least that is what we were led to believe).
Rhode Island rear end car accident lawyer
As well-intentioned as this advice is – and it is good advice to put plenty of space between your car and the car in front of you so that you can safely stop with little or no advanced warning. The truth is that rear-end collisions are not always the fault of the trailing car. Sometimes the lead driver engages in negligent or careless driving that can contribute to the rear-end collision. This driver’s negligence may possibly exceed the negligence of the trailing driver, the trailing driver may be entitled to damages.
“Under Rhode Island law, “[w]hen a case includes a claim or defense resulting from a rear-end collision between vehicles, a prima facie case of negligence against the driver of the car in the rear is established * * *.” Maglioli v. J.P. Noonan Transportation, Inc., 869 A.2d 71, 75 (R.I. 2005).
Negligent behavior by Leading drivers can contribute to rear end collision car accident
Some of the ways in which leading drivers may act carelessly or recklessly and thereby contribute to a rear-end collision in Rhode Island (RI) or Massachusetts (MA) include:
- Suddenly stopping for no justifiable reason;
- Turning left or right without giving a proper signal;
- Driving far too slow for prevailing road and traffic conditions;
- Failing to follow generally-accepted rules of the road;
- Disregarding traffic control signs and signals (some drivers mistake a STOP sign for a YIELD sign and vice versa, for instance).
- backing up on the highway or in the middle of the road
Determining who is at fault or what percentage of fault to assign to each driver in a rear-end collision in Providence or Boston is not always easy. Doing so may require consultation with engineers, accident reconstruction experts, and other expert witnesses. An experienced Michigan car accident lawyer should have the connections and resources necessary to thoroughly evaluate the cause(s) of your rear-end collision and accurately determine your precise legal rights to recovery.
Below are the most common rear end accident statistics for 2012
• More than one out of every four automobile accidents involved rear end collisions.
• Statistics by the NSC (National Safety Council) indicate that more than 2.5 million rear end crashes occurred in 2012.
• Rear end collisions caused the vast majority of whiplash injuries that were vehicle-related where the victims suffered serious injuries to their shoulders, neck and spine caused by the sudden and violent snapping movement of the accident.
• The force of impact of a rear end collision even at a low speed caused significant back injuries when the spine was compressed and discs were dislocated in the victim’s lower back area.
• A significant number of rear end collisions involved serious head and face injuries caused by the deployment of airbags.
• Many victims suffered less serious injuries including bruises (contusions), cuts (lacerations) and scrapes (abrasions) to the scalp and face.
• Victims also suffered injuries to the arms, hands, fingers and wrists because of violent jerking movement into the steering wheel and sun visor.
• Injuries also occurred by seatbelts and harnesses where the torso was thrust forward causing lacerations, bruises and burns across the chest and hip.
If you were injured in a Mass automobile accident or a RI car, truck, motor vehicle or auto collision then contact a personal injury attorney in Rhode Island or a MA auto accident lawyer. A Rhode Island car accident lawyer will fight to get the compensation you deserve.
A rear-end collision occurs when the front end of one car impacts with the rear end of the vehicle in front of it. Most rear-end collisions occur because the following driver was engaged in at least one activity that was a distraction. According to statistics provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, rear-end collisions consist of about 27 percent of all motor vehicle accidents. About 67 percent of the following drivers admitted to not even looking at the road in front of them before impact.
Fatigued driving and rear-end collisions
Coming in a distant second to distracted driving is fatigued driving. According to a study from the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute, fatigued driving is a factor in 12 percent of all crashes. Moderately or severely fatigued drivers were found to be 4.7 times more likely to be involved in a rear-end collision than drivers who were alert. Age was also a factor in rear-end collisions. Drivers who were 18 to 20-years-old were determined to be as much as four times more likely to involved in rear-end accidents.
The whiplash injury
The most common injury suffered in rear-end collisions is a hyperextension/flexion injury that’s commonly known as whiplash. It’s caused by acceleration forces that disturb the balance of interconnecting neck anatomy. Those acceleration forces can affect the severity of the injury.
The physics of a whiplash injury
A rear-end impact results in sudden acceleration force to the vehicle that’s been hit. That force is transmitted from the driver or occupant’s car seat to his or her body. The law of physics accelerates the body forward which results in hyperextension of the neck. The head then whips back, and then it whips forward. This sudden and violent movement tears ligaments, cartilage and muscle tissue.
Treatment of whiplash injuries
Most whiplash injuries caused by a rear-end accident resolve with conservative treatment in six to eight weeks. Some might involve the spinal cord or spinal nerves and might require surgical intervention. Victims of whiplash injuries should seek care and treatment as soon as symptoms arise. It might even take a day or two for the pain to start after an accident. Victims shouldn’t sit on their rights. Time limitations are set for how long victims can wait to file an injury lawsuit after an accident. They should consult with a qualified Providence personal injury attorney as soon as possible after a rear-end accident.
Rear End Collision Causes in RI
In nearly every case, negligence plays a major role in filing personal injury claims for compensation of a rear end collision in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Usually, rear end crashes are caused by:
• Tailgating – Traffic laws require drivers to maintain a “prudent” distance between their vehicle and the vehicle ahead. A lack of adequate space to come to a complete stop is considered tailgating where the motorist is unable to stop quickly for any action caused by the driver ahead making a quick stop.
• Intoxication – Alcohol can seriously compromise the reflexes of the driver especially when the motorist is intoxicated. The driver lacks the ability to adequately judge distances or can fall asleep behind the wheel, leading to a serious accident with injuries.
• Driver Inattention – Distraction is one of the leading causes of most rear end collisions where motorists are unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with another vehicle because they were listening to loud music, applying makeup, eating, drinking, talking with passengers, using a cell phone or other form of distraction.
• Adverse Weather Conditions – High winds, ice, sliced, snow, rain and fog can have a direct effect on the motorist’s ability to see everything ahead.
• Roadway Defects – Road construction, potholes, downed trees or stop signals obscured by foliage can increase the potential of a rear end collision.
• Radar Guns and Law Enforcement – The unexpected appearance of law enforcement officers using radar guns can cause a major distraction where motorist will slam on their brakes to slow down and avoid being ticketed.
• Accidents – Many rear end collisions are caused by curious drivers watching the scene of an accident while traveling at a slow speed. Rear end crashes can easily happen when the driver ahead makes a quick stop and the motorist behind is distracted.
Every driver has an obligation (duty of care) to drive safely in Providence and Boston as a way to minimize the potential of causing an accident. This means that every motorist in Rhode island and MA is required to follow traffic laws, lookout for potential problems and not drive recklessly. Any breach of that duty violates their responsibility, which can be deemed as negligence. Victims with injuries caused by a rear end collision have the legal right to seek financial compensation to cover their damages, injuries and harm.
This is part one of a three part series concerning the RI Highway Safety report and Rhode Island car accidents. This article was authored by Rhode Island personal Injury lawyer, David Slepkow The State of Rhode Island Highway Safety for the fiscal year of 2014 was developed and presented by the Rhode Island Department of Transportation. This is an annual report written by RI Department of Transportation. This report “serves as the State of Rhode Island’s application to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)” The entire RI DOT (State of Rhode Island Highway Safety Plan, Federal Fiscal Year 2015, July 2014) report can be found: here
The RI highway safety report- background
This application supported Rhode Island seeking to obtain “Federal funds available under Section 402 State and Community Highway Safety grant program.” State Officials believe that the feds should look at Rhode Island data differently from the rest of the nation. For example, the DOT report states that “In Rhode Island, the population and annual number of fatalities are relatively low compared to the nation. As such, one fatality can significantly affect the percentage. Interpretation of increases and decreases in percentages, particularly from one year to the next, are carefully examined. ” A quick perusal of the report shows that RI officials and employees spent countless hours finalizing this thorough and extensive report.
This extensive and in depth report highlights certain issues, provides relevant data and statistics, outlines state initiatives and safety goals. The issues presented and data includes but is not limited to: motorcycle accidents, “occupant protection” (aka seat belts), “older road users” otherwise known as elderly motorists or senior citizens, impaired driving such as drunk drivers, speeding, as well as issues pertaining to teen motorists and young drivers.
Personal injury attorneys in Rhode Island and RI car accident lawyers can learn a great deal by carefully analyzing this report. If an auto accident attorney in Providence is not knowledgeable about important accident statistics in RI, he or she will not have important insight into the root causes of collisions in the Ocean State.
Drunk driving & impaired driving accidents in RI
According to the report, 38 % of deaths in the Ocean State resulted from drunk driving / alcohol in 2012. This is somewhat embarrassing for lawmakers and public policy officials since the national average for such impaired driving fatalities is 31 percent. The report tries to find the silver lining in this troubling statistics, pointing out that “Rhode Island’s percentage of alcohol-related fatalities dropped nearly four percentage points from 2010 to 2011.”
For innocent pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and motorists utilizing RI roadways and streets this is hardly comforting, to say the least. Rhode Island’s solution to this perplexing issue is to create an impaired driving task force to examine the issues. Some would say that the report should have demanded new more stringent impaired driving and drunk driving legislation to resolve the public safety issue.
One of the reasons that the report indicates for the higher percentages of people killed by inebriated, wasted, buzzed, high and drunk drivers is that “Sobriety checkpoints are banned by judicial ruling in Rhode Island.”
The report also addresses various RI laws that pertain to drunk driving and drunk driving accidents in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. “In July 2003, Rhode Island enacted a law making it a crime for anyone to operate a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 or above. For young drivers, a BAC level of 0.02 results in license suspension until the age of 21. ”
If someone is injured in a drunk driving car crash in Providence or in RI, he or she should immediately contact a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer. A personal injury attorney in RI or a RI car accident lawyer will help you get the compensation that you deserve
Motorcycle accidents in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Another embarrassment for RI is that “In 2013, motorcycle fatalities increased 38 percent from 2012, and unhelmeted fatalities rose 20 percent.” If someone is injured or killed in a motorcycle crash in Rhode Island then a RI motorcycle accident lawyer should be contacted immediately. A Rhode Island motorcycle accident lawyer who is also a Rhode Island personal injury attorney will help the motorcyclist get the compensation that they are entitled to. “Rhode Island does not have a universal helmet law for all motorcyclists (Rhode Island’s motorcycle helmet use law only covers all passengers (regardless of age) and all operators during the first year of licensure (regardless of age). ”
If someone is killed in a fatal car accident in Rhode Island, the executor of the estate should contact a RI wrongful death attorney. A Rhode Island wrongful death lawyer who has litigated deadly auto crashes in RI will help the estate obtain the compensation it is entitled to on behalf of the statutory beneficiaries set forth in RI laws. Part 2 and 3 of this report will analyze pedestrian accident statistics, automobile collisions in RI, seat belt usage as well as elderly drivers and other motor vehicle accidents in Rhode Island. Truck accidents such as semi-trucks, tractor trailer collisions and 18 wheeler wrecks are beyond the scope of these posts.
Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor vehicle accidents These occur when the front end of one vehicle impacts with the rear of another vehicle that’s almost always stopped or close to coming to a complete stop. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-enders consist of 28 percent of all accidents on United States roadways. As per the National Safety Council, more than 2.5 million rear-end accidents are reported across the nation every year.
If a car, truck, motor vehicle, van or suv is contacted by another motor vehicle from behind in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, “a prima facie case of negligence against the driver of the car in the rear is established * * *.” Maglioli v. J.P. Noonan Transportation, Inc., 869 A.2d 71, 75 (R.I. 2005). see: Roland DeMaio et al.v.Raymond A. Ciccone et al. “(noting that the prima facie evidence principle applies “where a rear-end collision is established” (emphasis added)). Id. See Rachiele v. McGovern, 107 R.I. 241, 245, 266 A.2d 36, 38 (1970) Also see: Source website
“Under Rhode Island law, [w]hen a case includes a claim or defense resulting from a rear-end collision between vehicles, a prima facie case of negligence against the driver of the car in the rear is established * * *.” Maglioli v. J.P. Noonan Transportation, Inc., 869 A.2d 71, 75 (R.I. 2005).
The Virginia Tech study The NHTSA commissioned the Virginia Tech Traffic Institute (VTTI) to investigate rear-end collisions. The VTTI study concluded that:
- In rear-end accidents, the lead vehicle was stopped 81 percent of the time
- Most rear-end collisions were the result of following too closely
- These collisions most often occur during daylight on flat and straight roads
- Distracted driving contributed to about 90 percent of all rear-enders
Causes of rear-end collisions Most rear-end car, motorcycle and pick-up truck collisions and crashes are caused by drivers who simply weren’t paying attention. Common contributing factors to a rear end car crash involve:
- Using a cell phone when driving
- Texting while driving
- Following too closely
- Driving too fast for conditions
- Improper vehicle maintenance
Head and neck injuries from rear-end collisions The most common injuries sustained in a rear-end collision involve the head and neck. The victim of a rear-end collision can experience symptoms like:
- Severe headaches
- Neck pain
- Shoulder pain
- Neurological disorders involving the arms and legs
Acceleration-deceleration injuries Proper medical terminology for these injuries could be an acceleration-deceleration cervical spine injury. They can be very serious, permanent and require surgery. Rear-end impacts can cause serious acceleration-deceleration injuries to the lower spine too. Compensation for acceleration-deceleration injuries If you’re going to seek compensation for the injuries you suffered in a rear-end collision, you’ll be required to document them with medical records and bills. Your doctor must be able to state that within a reasonable degree of medical certainty, the injuries you sustained were a direct and proximate result of the rear-end impact. Compensation you can seek The law in Rhode island and Massachusetts (MA) permits the victim of a rear-end collision to seek compensation for a variety of damages. Those damages primarily include but aren’t limited to:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Any permanent disability
- Any permanent disfigurement
Never talk with the other insurer. Contact a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer or a RI car accident attorney immediately for a free consultation and case evaluation after any accident involving personal injury to your or a family member. Negligently caused injuries require fair compensation. A RI personal injury attorney will help you get the compensation you deserve for your RI car accident Rear end collisions constitute a large portion of all crashes that occur in the U.S., Rhode island and Massachusetts every year. In fact, rear end collisions account for nearly one third of all reported collisions in the United States and are a leading cause of accidents occurring at signalized intersections and stop signs. These car and motor vehicle accidents are usually the result of not leaving adequate space to give the motorist enough reaction time to make a quick decision to stop. if injured in such an accident then contact a Rhode Island car accident lawyer.
When some of us first learn to drive, we may have utilized a driving instructor, parent, or friend. These people often warned us to give plenty of space to the car in front. These people warned us that if we struck a vehicle from behind (in a rear end collision -auto) we would be considered the at-fault party. If you were injured in an automobile, truck, car or other motor vehicle crash, then contact a Rhode Island personal Injury lawyer or a Massachusetts car accident attorney. RI car accident lawyers, MA auto accident attorneys or Rhode Island car accident lawyer can help you get a sense of justice and the compensation that you are entitled to.
Legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court sitting in Providence licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.