Even what we think of as small accidents can have serious medical repercussions, especially rear-end collisions. A passenger or driver in a car that is rear-ended can suffer severe whiplash and back pain. In those circumstances, the driver who is responsible for the car accident, or his or her insurance, should pay for the victim's medical fees and lost work time. In a rear-end collision, usually the driver who hits another car from behind is found responsible for the crash.
A woman from Surprise, Arizona, is suing the city after a car accident in July 2011 left her with persistent back and neck pain. She has reportedly been treated twice at the hospital for these injuries and has amassed at least $10,000 in medical bills. The other driver, a city police officer, rear-ended her car when she was about to make a right turn at a red light, which is legal in Arizona. Though she reportedly had her turn signal on, apparently the officer did not see it and failed to stop.
In most cases, rear-end collisions are straightforward, and the driver of the car that was hit is not found at fault. In some circumstances, the defendant may argue that he is not at fault because of a mistake on the part of the plaintiff. A common defense is that the plaintiff did not signal or did not have working rear lights. However, these factors do not appear to be in dispute in this case.
In addition to medical bills, the woman is seeking reimbursement for car repairs, which are estimated to cost about $700. The woman has filed a lawsuit seeking a total of $50,000 in damages that include the medical bills and the car repair fee. The officer has rear-ended two other cars, once in 2006 and once in 2007. After the 2011 accident, he was reportedly admonished and received counseling after a Collision Review Board investigation.
It remains to be seen how this personal injury case will unfold, but it would appear the plaintiff is due compensation for her injuries and the damage to her vehicle. Arizona residents facing a similar predicament should be aware of their rights under state law.
Source: Tucson Citizen, "Surprise woman sues city over car crash with police officer," D.S. Woodfill, Aug. 5, 2012
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