Thousands of car accidents happen every day in the US, and they happen for a variety of reasons. Over the course of the year, about six million car accidents will be caused by ice, wet roads, aggressive driving, and distracted drivers. Of all the accidents that we encounter, one of the most common is the rear end collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 40% of all car crashes (approximately 2.5) million that happen each year are rear end crashes. To put that into perspective, there will be one rear end collision every eight seconds. What’s even more frightening is that the rate of rear end crashes is rising. For those who have been involved in a rear end crash, the resulting serious injuries, emotional distress, time off from work, and reduced quality of life can be devastating.
What Causes Rear End Collisions?
One of the main reasons that rear end collisions happen is because of distracted drivers. This is becoming more common as technology and driving continue to merge. Smart phones, iPods, display screens, and other forms of visual and audio technology can all distract a driver. In mere seconds, this distraction can lead to a car accident. People are most likely to hit the car ahead if they were following too closely to begin with, if they are traveling at high speeds and can’t stop quickly, or if they are driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic. That lack of reaction time makes the likelihood of an accident happening much greater. The NHTSA also found that drivers using a hand-held device were nearly five times more likely to get into a serious accident than those who were not.
Injuries Caused by Collisions
Rear end collisions typically produce injuries, some of which take a long time to recover from. You might sometimes hear of rear end collisions referred to as “whiplash” crashes. They tend to produce excessive neck movement upon impact, which can cause whiplash or more serious spinal cord injuries. In any case, the injuries may be painful and debilitating. This can ultimately leave you with physical and emotional scars.
If you’re wondering what the most common injuries are in a car accident, the answer is that any part of the body can be affected. Broken bones, concussions, soft tissue injuries, burns, cuts, and paralysis are some of the injuries that a person might suffer after a car accident. Whiplash, which is one of the most commonly reported injuries in a rear end accident, can affect the neck or back. Sometimes it affects both. Whiplash is a type of soft tissue injury that can damage muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Although nothing is “broken” in the case of whiplash, it is still a very painful injury that can take months, if not years, to recover from.
If you have been in a rear end collision, you may experience certain symptoms. The following symptoms are commonly associated with whiplash, according to WebMD:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- Pain that gets worse with certain neck movements
- Restricted movement in the neck
- Headaches that range from mild to severe
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the upper extremities
- Dizziness and loss of balance
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your physician may recommend following a treatment plan that includes resting, doing physical therapy or light exercise, and controlling pain with medication. While whiplash symptoms often improve on their own, severe cases cause chronic neck pain, back aches, and other physical maladies.
Along with whiplash, rear end collisions can cause other head and spinal cord injuries, too. Sprains and strains of the back muscles are other injuries that are commonly reported in rear end crashes. These injuries, like whiplash, happen when the body is propelled forward, which causes the neck to move forward and backwards with a greater than normal motion. Brain injuries, which occur when the head is forcefully moved forward and then back, can also happen in rear end collisions. A sudden blow to the head may result in a condition called traumatic brain injury, or TBI. Delayed thought processes and speech, impaired vision, and less memory capacity are all possible consequences of TBI. Some may be short-lived and cause less severe symptoms, but other cases can leave lasting effects. Spinal cord injuries that cause bruising, bone injuries, and damage to soft tissues are also possible injuries sustained in a rear end collision. Less serious but still troublesome injuries can also affect the legs and chest. Knee and leg injuries in particular are frequently reported in accidents.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
When you contact us after being involved in a rear end accident, we take the case seriously, and we’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve.
Unlike some car accidents, where it can be difficult to tell who was actually at fault, the case is usually more cut and dry in a rear end collision. Although the laws regarding car accidents vary by state, there are some commonalities. Most of the time, if you are hit from behind, the driver who hit your car will be considered at fault for causing the accident. A good example is the state of Tennessee, which has a law stating that all motor vehicle operators must maintain control of their vehicles at all times. This applies even to situations that might seem out of one’s control, such as if a car slides on black ice and hits the car in front.
However, there are a few situations when a driver who hit you won’t be held responsible. This includes if you were are “negligent driver” by parking illegally, having a broken down vehicle, or stopping without working brake lights. If you’re found to be impaired by alcohol, you might be considered at fault. However, it’s always best to consult an attorney to determine your rights and responsibilities as a driver in this situation.
Either way, the police report created at the accident will provide information about the details of the weather condition, the state of both drivers at the time of the crash, and whether or not other factors may have caused the accident, such as the use of alcohol or drugs, a driver’s distraction by technology, and a driver who was following too closely to the car in front.
How Rear End Collisions Can be Avoided
Of course, not all accidents can be avoided, but there are certainly measures people can take to reduce the risk of getting into a rear end collision. Research shows that following the simple rule of keeping a car’s-length distance for every 10 MPH traveled is a good way to give yourself enough time to stop, and even stop quickly, in the event that the car ahead suddenly brakes. To help you gauge a safe driving distance, some newer cars have technology (called automatic cruise control) that monitors the speed of the car ahead and adjusts your car’s speed if necessary to maintain a safe following distance. However, drivers can’t always depend on advanced technology to help them avoid accidents.
While you can’t predict when an accident will happen, you can at least get the post-accident compensation you deserve. When you contact us with your information, we’ll make sure you get financial coverage for your healthcare costs, pain and suffering, and lost wages due to forced time off of work. This compensation might come from either a lawsuit or an accident claim. To end your (or a loved one’s) needless suffering today, just get in touch with our firm. We can help you get the end result you deserve just as we’ve helped many others in the past.