Why do I need an attorney if I was injured in a rear-end collision in Chicago?
Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents we see at Coplan + Crane. Injuries can occur regardless of whether they happen at low speed or high speed. Rear-end collisions commonly occur at signalized intersections or stop signs when a driver is speeding or driving distracted. They can also happen on highways when traffic slows down or comes to a complete stop.
In the majority of rear-end collisions, the driver who is hit sustains a neck injury called whiplash. This occurs when a person's head whips back and forth in a rapid motion due to the impact of the crash. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck become overstretched and even torn. People who sustain whiplash often experience delayed symptoms. They may feel fine immediately after a crash, but days later they experience:
- Neck stiffness, pain and discomfort
- Tingling in the limbs
- Tenderness in the shoulders, arms, and upper back
- Sleep disturbances
To identify a whiplash injury, it's best to see a doctor promptly after a rear-end collision. Even if you feel perfectly fine, a physical examination, X-ray, or MRI may reveal that you have sustained an injury.
Whiplash typically clears up over the course of a few months with treatment and rest. Recover can take longer depending on your age and overall health. It usually involves pain medication, avoiding certain activities, and sometimes physical therapy.
High-speed rear-end collisions
In high-speed rear-end collisions, crash victims are more likely to sustain serious injuries such as:
- Traumatic brain injury
- Broken bones
- Spinal injury
- Internal injuries
- Nerve damage
If you sustained a serious injury in a rear-end collision, you may need to undergo an operation and endure months of rehabilitation. In addition, you may miss a significant amount of time at work and be unable to collect a paycheck. Whether your injuries were relatively minor or serious, it's important that you get to a doctor as soon as possible. Then, speak to an experienced attorney who can help you build a case and recover damages.
Establishing fault in a rear-end collision case
If you were rear-ended by another driver while legally stopped at a traffic light or in highway traffic, there should be no question as to who was at fault. Unfortunately, your case won't be as clear cut as you think. The insurance company that represents the other driver may attempt to shift the blame or argue that there's isn't sufficient evidence to prove that your injury was linked to the crash. Establishing fault after a rear-end collision often requires an in-depth investigation conducted by an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer.
The attorneys at Coplan + Crane will work tirelessly to prove the cause of your crash and get the best possible outcome for your case. Through an investigation, we may find that the at-fault driver was texting, driving drunk, speeding or falling asleep at the wheel. Our attorneys:
- Work with crash reconstruction experts to obtain physical evidence from the crash scene.
- Speak to witnesses and cross-reference their statements with other evidence.
- Get a copy of the official police report.
- Get a subpoena for the at-fault driver's cellphone records.
- Use your medical records to link your injury to the crash.
Steps you should take to protect your rights
Consider taking the following steps to help build a strong case after a rear-end collision:
- Take pictures of the crash scene from many different angles.
- Speak to witnesses and take down their contact information.
- Take note of the other driver's behavior. Did the other driver appear impaired, admit fault, or deny fault?
- Take note of nearby surveillance cameras.
- Contact your insurance company to report your crash, but keep your comments to a minimum.
- See a doctor promptly. The longer you wait, the easier it may be for the other driver's insurance company to argue that your injury is exaggerated.
Most importantly, you should speak to an experienced Chicago car accident lawyer at Coplan + Crane. No matter how complex your questions may be, we have answers. We'll help you explore your legal options and help maximize your compensation through a settlement or verdict. To get started on your claim, contact our law firm online or call us. We offer free and confidential case evaluations.