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Rubbernecking Accidents

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


We’ve seen other drivers do it and we’ve probably been guilty of it ourselves more than once: rubbernecking. The act of gawking or staring at something on the side of the road to the point where you have to turn your neck to continue to watch as you drive past.

It’s a sign of curiosity – you want to know what’s going on over there. It happens a lot with car accidents – we want to know who hit who and if it looks like anyone was hurt. It’s a natural human instinct to want to know. But unfortunately, rubbernecking leads to auto accidents.

Curiosity is a Distraction

At this point, people have heard about the dangers of distracted driving. Like the campaigns against drunk driving, safety agencies have gotten the word out about how distractions behind the wheel cause accidents.

You might not have thought about it, but your curiosity about what’s going on over on the side of the road is another distraction like eating, texting, or trying to read while you drive. Whether you’re staring at construction, a movie set, a protest, or another car accident, your eyes aren’t where they should be – on the road in front of you. If you’re worried about what’s happening over there, you aren’t concentrating on what’s going on with your car and the vehicles around you.

Is Rubbernecking a Common Cause of Accidents?

Many people are skeptical about how dangerous rubbernecking really is. Does it actually cause accidents or is that just an old wives’ tale to keep people moving along? The truth is that it does cause accidents, particularly rear-end collisions. Take a moment to google the phenomenon and you’ll see many sources cite this action as a common cause of collisions.

You still might be looking for the data, but it’s hard to gather statistic when few drivers want to admit they were in an accident because they were staring at another crash or something interesting on the side of the road. It’s the same issue as determining the number of collisions caused by cell phone use – no one wants to confess to texting or talking on the phone while driving.

Chicago Personal Injury Claims

If you were rear-ended because of someone gawking at an accident or something happening on the side of the road, you may have a personal injury claim against them based on their negligent behavior while driving. You are entitled to recover your current and future medical expenses, lost wages, disability or disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

Following the accident, you will need to let your and the other driver’s insurance companies know about the accident. It’s particularly important you contact the other driver’s insurer to give notice that you will file a third-party claim. Your third-party claim is how you formally ask for a settlement with that insurer.

In many cases, the victims of car accidents never have to go to court because they settle with the insurer. However, this doesn’t always happen. If the insurer denies your claim or the policy limit is far below the amount you need to recover, call a Chicago personal injury attorney right away.

The lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will help you work with the insurance company to receive an advantageous settlement. If this isn’t possible, then your attorney can help you file a personal injury claim in court.

Call Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. at (312) 236-2900.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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