As we continue our series, this week we will consider variations of Rear-end collisions. These "rules of thumb" are sure to surprise some of our readers.
I) REAR-ENDED by a Co-Worker = O.K. Work Comp Case / No Case Against the Driver
Surprise! Generally rear-end cases are easy open and shut, however, Workers' Compensation exclusive remedy kicks in to keep co-employees from suing each other if you were both driving for your work for the same company. You certainly still have a good Work Comp claim, so you will want to talk to a good attorney who knows what they are doing and can take your case.
J) REAR-ENDED by a Subcontractor of Your Employer = OK Work Comp Case / Great Case Against the Driver
No problem. The exclusive remedy provisions of Work Comp don't apply to this type of case. You have a good Work Comp case and a good separate case against the driver and his auto insurance company, perhaps even the company he was working for at the time. When finding an attorney for this crash, you need to find a firm well versed in both motor vehicle injury accidents and workers' compensation.
K) REAR-ENDED by a Contractor of Your Employer (who is the subcontractor) = Ok Work Comp Case/ No Case Against the Driver
Surprise! It's weird, but because our laws say so, if you are on the job for your company that is a subcontractor and an employee of the General Contractor rear-ends you then the exclusive remedy provisions DO apply and your only actual case is with Workers' Compensation. This is only true if both you and the other driver were driving for work purposes at the time of the crash.
L) REAR-ENDED by a Vehicle on Slippery Roads = Usually Bad Case
Surprise! These accidents tend to be lower velocity lower levels of property damage and most jurors have sympathy for the poor bloke sued for slipping and sliding on a wintry day.
M) REAR-ENDED by a vehicle due to sudden onset of illness or unconsciousness by other driver = Real bad case if they can prove it was SUDDEN onset and not a neglected condition. Great case if it was medical neglect or non compliance.
A sudden health malady that causes a driver to lose control and crash is a complete legal defense against anyone claiming injury from the occurrence. Meaning, if this really happened that way, you lose. Bad case! However, what often looks insurmountable is may actually be a case of outrageous and gross negligence in disguise.
In my entire professional career I have never seen a case of SUDDEN medical condition. With investigation it almost always turns out that these "sudden onsets" are actually conditions that that the negligent driver knew about for years and ignored. This fact will quickly turn an un-winnable case to a completely winnable case. For instance, not taking high blood pressure medication you were prescribed, not taking your seizure medication, or not eating when you know you have hypoglycemia are all examples of gross negligence. Whoever gets injured by these folks have great cases.
N) REAR-ENDED by a Driver Whose Brakes Suddenly Failed = Bad Case if it was Actually SUDDEN. Great Case if it was Long Term Maintenance Neglect.
These cases are similar to the sudden medical condition cases, in that often there are plenty of warning signs to the driver of the impeding danger. So, if the brake failure was sudden and not foreseeable, it serves as a complete defense. Meaning, you lose and get nothing.
At the risk of sounding cynical, I again have never seen a "sudden brake failure" be the reason for any accident with any of my clients. With a bit of investigating, these cases have always turned out to be gross neglect of proper vehicle maintenance.
With this fact, you can take a case on life-support, add punitive damages and take the Defendant to task for so poorly neglecting proper maintenance just by investigating the condition of the vehicle. Jurors hate people who neglect their vehicle so bad that they hurt other people. With the right love and attention these are great cases.
At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we understand these nuances and work hard to investigate each claim properly. By digging below the surface of a claim we have found more than one very good case turned away by other attorneys. Please call us today to discuss your case.