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September 13, 2023

What to Do After a Rear-End Collision in New Orleans: Tips to Avoid Fraudulent Schemes

by Evan Breaux | Rear-End Collision | 0 comments

What are some important steps to take immediately after a rear-end collision? In this article, we explore what steps to take immediately following a rear-end collision in New Orleans, Louisiana, with advice from the experienced personal injury lawyers at Breaux Law Firm.

Rear-end collisions can happen suddenly and leave you feeling disoriented, stressed, and injured. In New Orleans and across the state of Louisiana, navigating the aftermath of such an accident can be particularly challenging. To help you understand what steps to take after a rear-end collision, we’ll delve into the intricacies of these accidents and provide expert advice from the experienced New Orleans personal injury lawyers at Breaux Law Firm.

Since rear-end accidents are common in New Orleans, Louisiana, and other states of the USA;  This comprehensive article will help you to stay safe and aware of the risks after a sudden rear-end collision:

A friend of Breaux Law Firm’s once shared with us a perfect example of what not to do in a rear-end collision in New Orleans:

“I had just moved to New Orleans from California. I had not even registered my car yet, and still had California license plates. I was driving the I-10 to Baton Rouge with a friend when it began to rain. But not just a light rain—it was one of those heavy rainstorms where the sky opens up and what seems like a blanket of water totally obstructs your view of the cars in front of you! I had never driven in rain like this. 

All the cars on the highway slowed down to a crawl. I did, too. I was so scared, just white-knuckling the steering wheel. But I didn’t stop completely—and so I suddenly rear-ended the Ford truck in front of me. The driver and I pulled into the median and surveyed the damage, still in the pouring rain.

At the slow speed, I was going, my Toyota Corrola’s hood crumpled in a bit and the front bumper was damaged. The Ford had no damage.

The driver said he was fine. We exchanged information and insurance policies. And then, because there was no damage to his truck or to him, and because it was raining so hard, I said I didn’t need to call the police, didn’t need him to stick around, and would just call for a tow truck. So he drove off! (He must have been happy to realize what a naïve driver he was dealing with.)

This was 2006 before phones had cameras. I had no evidence that his sturdy truck was fine—it didn’t even have a dent. I called my insurance company to report the accident. 

A few weeks later, I received a call from the insurance company to ask if my passenger or I had any injuries. I said no one was injured in the accident; it was very minor, as I could not have been going more than 10 miles per hour. 

My insurance provider told me the driver I rear-ended had sustained $50,000 worth of damage to his truck and himself. I was aghast. $50,000?! I said no one was injured in the accident and it was just a fender bender that occurred while all the vehicles had slowed to a crawl, due to the rainstorm!

The insurance representative told me the other driver had claimed this much in damage, and they would not fight him on it.

 If we went to court to fight against the driver’s claim, a jury would never side with me, an out-of-state driver. My insurance company’s hands were tied. The other driver received his payment, and my insurance premium went up.”

When Breaux Law Firm heard this story, our hearts broke for this admittedly naïve young driver and each of her missteps. We are dedicated to treating each of our clients as if they were part of our own family, so it pains us to think of how poorly prepared this driver was for her first rear-end collision. 

Let’s go over what we wish this driver would have done differently. We hope this helps you and your loved ones stay safe on the road and make good decisions that protect you and your rights.

What Is Rear-end Collision?

A rear-end collision occurs when a vehicle hits the rear end of another vehicle in front of it. A rear-end collision can happen in a matter of seconds. If another driver follows a vehicle too closely, chances are high for a rear-end collision from a sudden or even a normal stop of the vehicle. 

In most cases a rear-end collision causes minor fender-benders; however, it can also cause severe damage and injury.

All types of car accidents are on the rise in Louisiana. According to the National Transportation Research Nonprofit, traffic fatalities in Louisiana rose 34% in Louisiana between 2019 to 2021, almost two times higher than the national increase of 19% during that same two-year period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that “angular crashes with other vehicles, rear-end collisions, and collision with fixed objects are the most common types of crashes. Rear-end and broadside collisions are more frequent in urban crashes; whereas, non-collision and rear-end crashes are more frequent in rural areas considering teen drivers aged 10 to 18 years.”

The most common causes of rear-end collisions are:

  • Driver inattention or distraction, especially texting while driving 
  • Road rage
  • Panic stops
  • Excessive speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Damaged road or worn pavement 
  • Weather conditions
  • Congested traffic with frequent braking
  • Driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or while fatigued

According to a 2018 study by the Louisiana Transportation Research Center of 400 rear-end collisions, “the study concluded that the presence of passengers and using a cellphone were leading causes of rear-end crashes among teen drivers. Rear-end collision possibility was two times higher among teen drivers.”

What is the Impact of a Rear-End Accident?

The impact after a rear-end motor vehicle accident can be huge. Some things a victim may experience after being involved in the crash include:

  • Injuries, such as sprains, broken bones, whiplash, concussions, spinal cord injuries, or traumatic brain injuries
  • Medical expenses, like doctors’ appointments, hospital visits, prescription medication, or physical therapy sessions
  • Wage loss, due to an inability to work
  • Motor vehicle property damage and car repairs
  • Decreased quality of life
  • The emotional and time-consuming impact of hiring legal representation, especially in the event of a lawsuit
  • Weakened emotional health
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Past and future pain and suffering

We have discussed these impacts and accident injuries on victims of car crashes in our article, “How Does a Car Accident Affect Your Life?” Don’t make the mistake of thinking your auto accident case was too small to have an impact on your life, or that being rear-ended didn’t have any repercussions for you. Rear-end collisions are a common type of auto accident for people to brush off and not pursue financial reimbursement, especially if it was a minor crash that seemed to not harm anyone. A personal injury attorney can help you understand the myriad ways you have been affected, both physically and emotionally. Call the law office of Breaux Law Firm today to discuss your case in detail.

How the Laws Work in Louisiana for Rear-End Collision?

Louisiana Revised Statute 32:81 states: “The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”

Hence the driver of a motor vehicle who rear-ends its preceding vehicle is presumed to be at fault for causing the rear-end collision.

Additionally, Louisiana is a comparative fault state, meaning all parties involved in an accident can be found to be partially at fault for the accident and the compensation will be determined by the percentage of fault of each party.

For this reason, the rear-ending driver has the chance to prove himself guilt-free or partially liable by showing evidence and documents of the crush. 

The driver who caused the rear-end collisions can free himself of fault by proving the following things:

  • Was driving the vehicle under control 
  • Carefully observed the vehicle in front of him
  • Maintain a safe distance from the front vehicle
  • Preceding vehicle created a hazardous circumstance that was unavoidable

To prove the above points, the rear-ending driver has to present documents such as pictures and videos of the involved vehicles and scene, police reports, witness’s contact information,  assessment report of the injuries and damages, etc.

What to Do After a Rear-end Collision?

If you’re involved in a rear-end collision, it’s important to keep calm and to do a few critical tasks at first. Though every type of accident is too overwhelming to take proper steps, you shouldn’t panic. Take deep breaths for stress releasing and then check yourself and other passengers for injuries and call for immediate medical assistance if necessary. 

Whether there are minor or major injuries and damages, you should always contact the police to avoid any inconvenience, deceptive threat, and attack after the accident. 

The following tips are recommended to follow for both circumstances whether someone rear-ends you or you rear-end someone’s vehicle.

Four Tips for Rear-End Collision Car Accidents:

Experiencing a rear-end collision can be overwhelming, but it’s crucial to remain composed and follow a series of essential steps. Regardless of whether you were the one rear-ended or the rear-ending driver, these guidelines will help you navigate the

1. Check for Injuries

First and foremost, assess yourself and your passengers for injuries. If there are any injuries, even minor ones, call for immediate medical assistance. Safety should always be your top priority.

It is often quite difficult to tell what type of injuries you have sustained in the aftermath of an accident, especially with adrenaline surging through you. Try to avoid saying you feel fine and ignoring the potential severity of the accident. Your injuries might reveal themselves slowly in the coming days, weeks, or months. This is especially true after being rear-ended, when the symptoms of an injury such as whiplash can begin to show up hours or days after the accident.

aftermath.

2. Always Wait for the Police

Having a police report could have prevented the other driver from claiming so much damage to his truck, which may or may not have been insurance fraud. The same goes for bodily harm, although we do want to acknowledge that some physical pain after a rear-end collision, like whiplash, can show up days after the event.

 It sounds like our young driver believes she was not going fast enough to cause whiplash, but ultimately, that is something best decided by the victim’s physician. Still, having a police report—as an unbiased third-person account of the car accident and its immediate aftermath, including property damage and injuries—would certainly have given the driver and her insurance company more of a leg to stand on when negotiating the details of the claim and the settlement. 

3. Take Photos

Granted, this car accident took place in 2006, before camera phones were an everyday object. So we can understand the lack of photos in this situation. But in today’s world, there is no excuse for not taking photos of a car accident. Having photos can prove the extent, however large or small, of the accident and property damage. 

Take as many photos as you can. It’s important to take photos of all cars involved, any injuries, and a 360-degree view of the surrounding context (traffic lights, stop signs, surrounding businesses, road hazards, etc.). You never know where you might find a video surveillance camera that can lend credibility or proof to your argument. Try, if possible, to take photos of the interiors of the vehicles, as well. 

4. Do Not Admit Fault

This young driver may have missed out on some aspects of the rear-end collision that could have led to partial or shared fault. For example, did the driver of the Ford truck have working brake lights? Perhaps the collision was caused in part by rain, but also due to non-working brake lights. 

Another possibility is that the car in front may have created an emergency that led to them breaking abruptly for no reason—in which case, the car in front could be at fault for the accident. For example, if the man driving the Ford was texting during the heavy rainstorm, and accidentally slammed on his brakes due to being distracted, he would be considered at fault because it is illegal in Louisiana to text while driving.

By letting him drive away before a police report was made, our young driver essentially admitted fault. Had she waited for a police report and stood her ground, saying she was driving slowly and cautiously and did not see him break in front of her, she might have been able to make a case for shared fault.

5. Contact an Accident Attorney Right Away

As we discussed in our article, “How Does a Car Accident Affect Your Life?” accidents can cause physical suffering and injuries, emotional suffering, medical expenses, wage loss, motor vehicle property damage, decreased quality of life, legal expenses, and even the loss of loved ones. Because of the myriad ways a car accident can irrevocably change your way of life, your emotional state, and your well-being, you need to be fully compensated for all damages. Working through your insurance company or simply tackling the reimbursement on your own can be stressful, frustrating, and ineffective.

Instead, consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury attorney, such as those at Breaux Law Firm, before finalizing any claims with your insurance company. Attorneys can thoroughly investigate your case, help you understand your options, and advocate for your rights. Personal injury attorneys can also help ensure you are reimbursed for the full extent of your damages, both personally, physically, and professionally. Working with an attorney ensures that you will receive higher compensation after your accident. This professional guidance can be especially valuable in complex rear-end collision scenarios.

Furthermore, Louisiana law states that residents have up to one year from the date of the accident to file a claim and receive compensation for the injuries they sustained in a car crash. This is called the “Statute of Limitations” for personal injury claims and it is based on La. Civ. Code Art. 3492. You can think of it as a deadline.

The reason for this law is to ensure that the evidence for the case is not lost and to make sure people take action within a reasonable time frame.As we discussed in our article, “What To Do If You Don’t Notice Your Injuries Until Long After a Car Accident in Louisiana?” it’s important to consult with an auto accident attorney soon after your accident, if possible, or within the one-year window. Don’t hesitate to read out to a Louisiana car accident attorney, like the team at Breaux Law Firm, before it’s too late. Contact us today.

After a New Orleans Car Accident, Contact Our Personal Injury Lawyers

Rear-end accidents can have lasting consequences, both physically and legally. If you or a loved one has been involved in such an accident in New Orleans or anywhere in Louisiana, it’s crucial to seek expert legal counsel. The experienced car accident lawyers at Breaux Law Firm, a reputable law firm based in New Orleans, offer free consultations to help you navigate the complexities of your case.

With a commitment to providing personalized attention and care, Breaux Law Firm’s experienced attorneys will fight for your rights as if you were a member of their own family. Remember, life is a learning experience, and understanding the proper steps to take after a rear-end collision can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. With the right legal support, you can approach the aftermath of such accidents with confidence.

Need a New Orleans attorney? Breaux Law Firm is here for you. 

If you have any questions, or if you or a loved one were involved in a rear-end collision in New Orleans or Louisiana, please reach out to us at once. Your consultation with us is always free. The car accident lawyers at Breaux Law Firm provide personalized attention and care to each of our clients, and we fight for you as if we were fighting for one of our own family members. Call the law team at Breaux Law Firm for help today.