What happens if I get rear-ended in North Carolina? | North Carolina Personal Injury Car Accident Attorney

Although many car accident cases are settled out of court, rear-end accidents often face litigation. While the driver can be at fault for the impact, they may not be at fault for the damages sought by the other driver. Many times, the impact from being rear-ended is not enough to cause the injuries claimed by the plaintiff. Insurance companies try to prove that the damages were not caused by the accident.


Keith Whited: … lawyers call rear-enders. There are a set of really broad line cases that have to do with responsibility for a rear-end accident. I shouldn’t say all, but most of those rear-end cases that get litigated, most of those are settled by far and away because the liability is so clear. If you have litigation on a rear-ender, it’s because of the impact. If you have a dispute about a rear-end case, it’s generally because the impact that … This is really a causation question. Remember I had said there are two parts to a personal injury action: the event and whether the damages that are caused by the event. These rear-end cases generate lots of litigation because the insurance companies will defend your claim for damages by saying, “It didn’t come from this event. I don’t know where that came from but the impact was too small to cause this problem.”

If you don’t have large impact on the rear bumper, if you don’t have damage on the rear bumper, it’s really hard to prove that your condition came from the impact. In a rear-end case, it’s generally the driver behind that’s at fault for the impact. It doesn’t mean he or she is going to be at fault for the damages that your driver in the front car says he has or your passenger in the front car says he has. There could be some pre-existing condition. It could be anything. The hardest part about injury work is getting people, my clients and others, to understand that just because something follows in time doesn’t mean it’s causation. That’s the hardest thing to get delivered in a courtroom or in a motor vehicle accident settlement. It’s one of the most favorite insurance company defenses that, “We didn’t cause it. I know it happened. Your symptoms may not have shown up until right after the event but we didn’t cause it. Something else must have caused it.” It is a popular defense for insurance companies.

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