What are my rights if I was rear-ended while stopped at a red light?

A few days later my neck and back started hurting. I went to a chiropractor and received treatment. It was still hurting. I then went to an orthopedic and they recommended physical therapy. I went through several of those sessions. My lower back continued to hurt. The orthopedic recommended an MRI. I had that done. Test showed 2 degenerative disks. One in neck and one in my lower back. It also showed arthritis starting to develop in my lower back. Could the accident have caused the disk problem? If not, could the accident have aggravated the disk problem and caused the arthritis to start to develop?

Asked on February 25, 2013 under Personal Injury, South Carolina


Robert Johnston / Law Office of Robert J. Johnston Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

I'm a South Carolina Personal Injury Lawyer. Your questions are good ones, but they are more of medical questions rather than legal questions.

If you would like to call I can tell you what you need to know.

Robert J. Johnston 843-946-0099



SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Whether the accident caused or aggravated the disk problem and/or arthritis is something to discuss with your physicians--this website cannot render any opinion or guidance on that.

IF it is the case that the accident caused or exacerbated the condition(s), you could sue the other driver to recover the medical costs, lost wages (if any), and possibly pain and suffering you have incurred due to the damage the collision did to your body. (So if you had some condition already but the accident made it worse, you could recover only for that exacerbation or worsening of the condition, not for its existence.) Since the rear driver in a rear-end collision is presumed to be at fault--that is, is usually considered to be at fault except in unusual circumstances--you would seem  to have a case which would be worthwhile to discuss with an attorney.

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

The medical reports will determine whether your injury was caused by the accident or aggravated by the accident.

You have separate property damage and personal injury claims to file with the at-fault party's insurance carrier.  The property damage (cost of repairs to your vehicle) is usually resolved early in the case.

When you complete your medical treatment and are released by the doctor or are declared by the doctor to be permanent and stationary, which means having reached a point in your medical treatment where no further improvement is anticipated, obtain your medical bills, medical reports, and documentation of any wage loss.  Your personal injury claim filed with the at-fault party's insurance carrier should include these items.  Compensation for the medical bills is straight reimbursement.  The medical reports will document the nature and extent of your injury and will be used to determine compensation for pain and suffering, which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.  Compensation for wage loss is straight reimbursement.

If the case is settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, NO lawsuit is filed.  If you are dissatisfied with settlement offers from the at-fault party's insurance carrier, reject the settlement offers and file a lawsuit for negligence against the at-fault party / registered owner of the vehicle (if the registered owner is someone other than the at-fault driver).  If the case is NOT settled with the at-fault party's insurance carrier, you will need to file your lawsuit for negligence prior to the expiration of the applicable statute of limitations or you will lose your rights forever in the matter.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.