Rear-end collisions can cause devastation to your vehicle and the passengers in it–and unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent them. Prior to a rear-end collision, you might have made the responsible decision: coming to a stop as a yellow light neared its end, instead of trying to race the light; allowing the adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front of you and coming to a safe stop instead of slamming on your brakes; stopping to allow another vehicle to pass through an intersection.
Then it happens: the car behind you did not allow adequate stopping room and slams into you.
You stopped. All your lights were working properly. You followed the rules of the road. Now, however, you must deal with the consequences, which may include severe damage to your vehicle and serious injuries, including back and neck injuries and even traumatic brain injury, to your passengers. Herniated discs, spinal cord injuries, and broken bones can all occur in the blink of an eye.
Why Houston Rear-End Collisions Pose Such a Problem
Over the last decade, the Houston metropolitan area has experienced the third-largest growth in the country. That means a lot of vehicles out on the roads–and that may mean greater potential for accidents that matches that increased presence. Rear-end collisions can occur anywhere on the road. While they occur most often at intersections, they can also occur in parking lots. If you must stop suddenly in the middle of the road due to a hazard, you may also suffer a rear-end collision. Houston’s heavy traffic may also offer several other potential challenges as you navigate the roads each day.
Many Houston drivers travel faster than necessary.
On the average Houston roadway, especially on highways and interstates, drivers can expect speed limits of 70 miles per hour. Unfortunately, many drivers choose to speed to cut down their travel time as much as possible. Most drivers speed through the Houston area at more than 80 miles per hour.
That means a great deal of force going into a rear-end collision. While the front vehicle may be stopped, the rear vehicle could be traveling at a high rate of speed. Not only does that make it much more difficult for drivers to stop, but it can also significantly increase the damage caused to the front vehicle and its occupants in an accident.
Houston drivers may struggle with distraction.
While Texas law aims to decrease distracted driving as much as possible, drivers over eighteen are not prohibited from talking on the phone unless they’re in a school zone. Drivers may choose to chat or even try to sneak in a quick check of their smartphones while driving. With the wide range of big companies based in Houston, it follows that many of the drivers on the roads are dealing with tight deadlines and considerable business concerns. All those concerns can leave drivers distracted behind the wheel or trying to multitask.
Unfortunately, multitasking behind the wheel can significantly raise the risk of a rear-end collision. Many drivers fail to note that the vehicle in front of them has stopped in time to do anything about it.
Houston faces extended “rush hours.”
Once, “rush hour” was a single hour when most of the local population got off work and headed home for the day. It might have an hour added in the morning when people were on their way into work.
Modern businesses, however, often operate at odd hours or bring in employees on a staggered schedule, which may mean that employees spend different hours on the road. In the morning, Houston’s rush hour runs from 7=-9 am. On weekday evenings, rush hour can last from 4-7 pm. That’s a lot of time on congested roads. Drivers stuck on those roads during those times may also suffer from greater frustration, which may lead them to take more risks, including speeding.
Who Bears Liability for Rear-End Collisions in Houston?
Most of the time, you will probably assume that if another driver hits you from behind, that driver is liable for the accident. However, that may not always be the case. The other driver may try to claim, for example, that you had damaged taillights that prevented them from seeing that you planned to stop, or even that you backed up into the other vehicle.
After a rear-end collision, start by summoning the Houston police department to the scene of the accident–even if the other driver seems perfectly agreeable or tries to convince you not to move forward with an accident report. Contacting the Houston police can help establish how the accident took place and provide you with vital evidence for a later claim.
Next, make sure you seek medical attention if you have even a hint of pain or injury. Failure to pursue medical attention can leave you later struggling with ongoing pain, especially if you suffer back and neck injuries. A lack of medical attention can make it very difficult for you to seek compensation through a personal injury claim, since the liable driver may try to claim that you sustained those injuries at another time, rather than during the accident. Common injuries after a rear-end accident include whiplash and head injury among others.
Once you have the evidence needed to help establish who caused your accident and your right to compensation, get in touch with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you establish liability and move forward with your car injury claim. An attorney can offer you valuable insights into the compensation you deserve after a severe accident.
Do You Need an Attorney After a Houston Rear-End Collision?
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision in Houston, having an attorney on your side can prove critical. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm as soon after your accident as possible to connect with an experienced car accident attorney who can help you navigate your personal injury claim, from providing you with a better idea of the compensation you deserve to offering you valuable insights into who may bear liability for your injuries.
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