The Rear End Collision Doctrine
In Missouri, if you are hit from the rear by another driver, his or her negligence is presumed under what is referred to as the “rear end collision doctrine.” This legal doctrine:
- removes the burden of showing that the driver failed to use the highest degree of care, the legal duty of care in Missouri.
- establishes that all drivers are required to be in control of their vehicles at all times.
The judge can consider all aspects of the car accident and will then determine whether the doctrine should apply to the case. The judge may apply the rear end collision doctrine, which shifts the burden to the at-fault driver to prove he or she utilized the highest degree of care under the circumstances.
What should I do if I am rear-ended in Missouri?
Rear end car accidents can result in very serious personal injury to the occupants of the vehicle. This is because the amount of force transferred in these kinds of car collisions can be severe, and the force is transferred to the people inside the car. In many instances, victims experience neck and back injuries, commonly referred to as a “whiplash” injury.
Some people initially believe that they only sustained a musculature or “soft tissue” injury. However, in these kinds of car wrecks, it is important to obtain an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) test. Often, X-rays fail to reveal disc bulges, tears, and fractures. Ask your treating doctor for an MRI to make sure you do not have one of these injuries. In fact, if you read the discharge paperwork from the emergency room, they will tell you to watch out for signs of neurological damage.
How insurance companies treat rear-end car accidents
Often, insurance companies and their defense lawyers will utilize any delay in reporting of these symptoms as a basis to claim you are faking injury. For this reason, it is vital to report these symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible. Remember, if your event is not documented in a medical record, then according to the insurance company, it does not exist and did not happen.
Another trick insurance companies tend to use in these types of crashes are photos of the vehicles. For instance, if the rear bumper of your car shows little damage, they will argue there was not enough damage to cause injury. Often, the insurance defense will do this without an expert biomechanical engineer. This is an issue every lawyer has battled for years.
At The Bradley Law Firm, we expose false assumptions about rear-end traffic accidents. He challenges conclusions by working with you and hiring experts. If you or a loved one were rear ended in a car accident, contact us to discuss your case for free.