Rear-End Collision Lawyer in Washington DC

Car Accident Attorney Representing the Seriously Injured Throughout the Washington Metro

Rear-end collisions occur when one driver is following another, and the vehicle in the rear hits the back of the vehicle in front, which is referred to as the “lead” vehicle. Rear-end collisions can happen in any situation where there are two cars going in the same direction, but they are especially common on highways, in high-traffic areas and at red lights or stop signs.

Like any auto accident, rear-end collisions can be dangerous and can cause serious injuries to the drivers involved in the crash including serious back injuries. Anyone who has been involved in a rear-end collision should seek legal advice to learn how Washington DC, law treats these types of accidents and to learn what legal remedies might be available.

Who is Responsible for Rear-End Collisions in Washington DC?

In most rear-end collision cases, the driver who is operating the trailing vehicle is presumed to be the party responsible for causing the crash. This is because Washington DC, and other jurisdictions throughout the United States have laws requiring drivers to leave a safe following distance behind the vehicle in front of them.

If a driver is not tailgating or following too closely to the lead vehicle, that driver should be able to stop even if the vehicle in front stops short or puts on the brakes unexpectedly. It is recommended that there be at least a three- to four-second minimum following distance, although this can vary depending upon factors in the particular driving environment. In situations where vehicles are traveling more quickly or in heavy-traffic situations, maintaining a longer following distance may be advisable. Heavy trucks also must maintain a longer following distance due to their longer braking distances. In general, the larger the vehicle and the faster the vehicle is going, the longer it will take to stop safely.

In some cases, the driver in the lead vehicle bears some responsibility for causing the crash. For example, a driver may stop short for no reason at a time when a stop is not expected. Some drivers may swerve into a lane and then jam on the brakes after cutting off the vehicle behind them, leading to a rear-end collision. In some rare cases, drivers will intentionally stop their vehicles to provoke rear-end collisions in order to make false insurance claims.

Causes of Rear End Collisions

There are many common causes of rear-end collisions, some of which are attributed to the driver of the trailing vehicle and some of which are attributed to the driver of the lead vehicle. Some of the most common reasons for rear-end collisions include the following:

  • Tailgating – Tailgating is another word for a driver’s following too closely to the vehicle in front. If a driver is tailgating, he or she will not be able to stop if the lead vehicle has to slam on the brakes for any reason. To determine if you are maintaining the appropriate following distance of approximately three to four seconds, you can observe when the vehicle in front passes a fixed point. Then, count how many seconds it takes for you to pass that point. If it takes less than three to four seconds, you may be tailgating.
  • Distracted driving – Distracted driving is a very common cause of many types of accidents, including rear-end collisions. If you are distracted and not paying attention to the car in front, you may not notice when the vehicle stops at a light, at a stop sign or due to a traffic jam. Some drivers will also stop at red lights or other traffic signals but may start driving before the driver in front does, causing a rear-end collision. For instance, there have been cases where a distracted and unthinking driver started to move his or her car forward when the song on the radio changed, rather than when the light changed.
  • Rapid acceleration by the driver at rear – If the driver in the rear speeds up faster than the driver of the lead vehicle when passing or leaving an intersection, this can cause a rear-end collision. This can also happen when the driver in front brakes for a yellow light, but the driver at rear accelerates in an attempt to make it through before it changes to red.

Injuries Due to Rear-End Collisions

Rear-end collisions can cause a variety of car crash injuries, even when the accident happens at low speeds. For instance, whiplash is a very common injury in rear-end accidents when the driver is first thrown forward and then back, pushing the neck beyond its normal range of motion. Whiplash can cause serious pain and be a disabling injury. Air bag injuries can also result in rear-end collisions when an air bag deploys and the drivers or passengers are forcefully thrust into the air bag. Those involved in rear-end collisions can suffer serious injuries or even death due to striking surfaces on the car’s interior or due to the impact from the rear vehicle’s hitting the lead vehicle. In some of the worst rear-end accidents, passengers can be crushed or trapped due to the force of the impact. Some rear-end collisions can rupture fuel tanks, causing fires.

Talk To Our Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers Today

It is important to take prompt action to fully protect your legal rights after a rear-end collision. Contact The Abelson Law Firm to schedule a free consultation.


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If you find that you are in need of a personal injury lawyer, I HIGHLY recommend Attorney Michael Abelson. I suffered a permanent disabling injury in a car accident. Mr. Abelson worked hard on my case and prepared carefully for trial. He guided me every step along the way. His diligent preparation led to a settlement agreement that greatly exceeded my expectation. Date published: 09/07/2018
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