What is the Average Settlement for a Rear-end Auto Accident?

rear-end car accident
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If another vehicle has hit you from behind, you probably have a lot on your plate. In addition to damaging your car, a rear-end auto accident can result in neck or back pain and could put you out of work while you heal. Although settlement amounts for a rear-end accident will vary based on the severity of the collision, seeking help from a knowledgeable personal injury attorney is the best way to get the compensation you deserve. 

Types of Rear-End Auto Accidents and The Injuries They Cause

In many cases, a rear-end collision happens when a driver behind another vehicle isn’t paying attention. It can be nothing more than a small bump when the driver rolls forward at a stop sign before the car in front of him takes off. Or, the driver might be traveling at a high speed and not notice the car in front is slowing down. Other times, a car is following too closely in bad weather and they don’t brake in time. Regardless of why the accident happens, the collision can damage the bumped vehicle and injure its driver.

Some common injuries from being hit from behind include:

  • Whiplash, which is when the neck (cervical spine) snaps back suddenly. Whiplash from fender benders is usually less severe but can lead to nerve damage, while a high-end collision can damage vertebrae in the spinal cord and cause lasting pain.
  • Back injuries, ranging from sore muscles to herniated discs. Serious back injuries may require physical therapy, hospitalization, or surgery.
  • Head trauma, sometimes resulting in a concussion or traumatic brain injury. The severity of head trauma often depends on whether an airbag deployed, or how hard the driver hit their head on the headrest. 
  • Broken bones in the face, legs, knees, and hands. While some broken bones heal quickly, others take years or may never again function as they should.

Victims of a rear-end auto accident should always get medical attention. Not only is this a good idea in case injuries are more serious than they appear at first, but medical records also serve as evidence when seeking a settlement. 

Finding Fault in a Rear-End Collision

By collecting evidence and talking to witnesses, an accident attorney will determine who caused the crash. In “no-doubt” liability cases, one person is obviously at fault. No doubt can be proven in cases where a driver is under the influence. Most of the time, rear-end collisions are “no-doubt” too. 

However, some insurance companies will try to reduce their client’s liability by claiming they couldn’t avoid hitting the other car. Some common excuses for an unavoidable crash include:

  • Icy roads, rain, or fog was present during the time of the accident. An insurance company may claim the road was too slick to stop suddenly, or that the driver couldn’t see the car ahead.
  • The brake lights on the lead car were not working properly. 
  • The driver in front suddenly slowed to turn without signaling, and did not turn. 
  • The driver in front stopped in the middle of the road due to car trouble and did not turn on their hazard lights. 

All drivers have a duty to take necessary precautions to avoid a crash, so a skilled attorney can often successfully dispute these claims. For example, it could be argued that hitting a car that was slowing down might be due to following too close. Determining who is to blame is a key part of any settlement.

Differences in Negligence Between Missouri and Illinois

If an insurance company successfully proves the victim was partially to blame for the accident, it could reduce the settlement amount. How much depends on where the accident happened

Since Missouri is a pure comparative negligence state, each party will be found liable for the percentage of the accident that was their fault. For instance, if the weather was bad and the road was slick, the victim might only get 80% of the financial settlement instead of 100%.

But in Illinois, modified comparative negligence laws state that full responsibility goes to whichever driver is more at fault. In that case, full blame might still go to the driver who hit the victim, allowing the victim to get the full settlement amount.  

Sharing fault, or being blamed completely, for a rear-end auto accident can prevent someone from getting full compensation. That’s why it’s so important to hire knowledgeable accident attorneys like Hipskind & McAninch, who know Missouri and Illinois laws. 

The Average Settlement to Expect from a Rear-End Auto Accident

Every rear-end accident is different, so it’s impossible to give a set amount on what you can expect to receive. To determine how much compensation you are owed, your attorney will add up damages, medical bills, time off work, and any other expenses you have incurred because of the collision.

victim suffering injury after a rear-end auto accident
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Property Damage

Even a minor fender bender can damage your vehicle. Since nicks and pings aren’t always noticeable to the untrained eye, it’s always a good idea to take the vehicle directly to a body shop to find out what needs to be fixed. If it’s only a paint scuff, it could be $100. A new bumper costs an average of $600. In severe accidents, the car could be totaled. Your attorney will calculate this quote into the settlement amount.

Loss of Income

If the accident has caused you to miss work, it’s important to keep track of the paychecks you’ve lost. If you usually make $5,000 per month and have been off for six months, that adds up to $30,000. Even if you only work part time, calculate your lost wages based on the number of shifts you had to miss and your hourly pay. Your attorney will attempt to reclaim the amount as part of your settlement.

Medical Bills

From the first ER visit to the last physical therapy appointment, you should be keeping track of bills. All of these will be figured into the amount you’re owed, and that could add up to thousands of dollars. Remember to include statements from:

  • Ambulance ride
  • Hospital stay
  • Doctor visits
  • Prescription drugs
  • Physical therapy

Every medical expense, no matter how small, is subject to reimbursement in a settlement.

Pain and Suffering

Being in an accident can cause both physical and mental anguish. If you’re not able to enjoy the daily activities you normally would, you can’t care for your children, and you’re not able to function in society as you did before being rear-ended, your attorney will make the at-fault party pay for your suffering. Pain and suffering amounts are not based on reimbursable expenses. Instead they are decided by the insurance company or a judge and jury if the case goes to court. Settlement amounts can range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

Hiring a Lawyer Can Increase a Settlement Amount

An at-fault driver’s insurance company will try to settle on the lowest amount possible. Statistics compiled by the legal publishing company Nolo show that accident victims who hire a personal injury attorney to help with their claim receive payouts 91% of the time, while those without a lawyer only collect what they deserve half the time. The study also shows that plaintiffs who didn’t have legal help receive about a quarter of what those with a lawyer do. 

Long story short: Hiring a personal injury attorney can allow you to get the settlement amount you deserve. Hipskind and McAninch has a 99% success rate and will fight to get the maximum payout. Contact them today for a free consultation.


Car Accidents