According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end collisions account for about 29 percent of all accidents. Nearly 2 million rear-end collisions occur annually, with nearly 1,700 people dying from these types of collisions and over 500,000 injured.
Injuries are common after rear-end collisions. If you were hurt, you need an experienced attorney to represent you and help you navigate the complex legal processes to receive just compensation.
What types of injuries may occur during a rear-end collision?
Forceful, rapid back-and-forth neck movement akin to the cracking of a whip can happen when a driver slams into the back of your car. This forceful motion can injure bones in the spine, muscles, ligaments, nerves, and other neck tissues.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Neck stiffness and pain
- A decrease in range of motion in the neck
- Shoulder pain
- Tingling or numbness in the arms
Traumatic Brain Injury
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a disruption in the normal function of the brain caused by a blow, bump, or jolt to the head. Vehicle-related collisions, including rear-end collisions, are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may include headaches, loss of consciousness, problems with speech, sensitivity to light or sound, memory or concentration problems, repeated vomiting or nausea, slurred speech, and coma.
Even a rear-end accident at a low speed can cause severe back injuries. An accident causes impact, which may result in the compression of the spine or discs in the lower spinal column. These discs act as shock absorbers, and ligaments hold the spine together. A rear-end collision can cause these discs to fall out of position or tear open, and the victim of the collision may experience painful pressure against the spinal cord. These spinal injuries can lead to surgeries, rehabilitation, and other medical expenses.
A spinal injury that results from a rear-end collision can leave the victim completely or partially paralyzed. The degree of paralysis may vary depending on the areas affected and how severe the injuries are.
Wrist and Arm Injuries
Drivers usually have their hands on the steering wheel during a rear-end collision. They might notice a vehicle coming toward their vehicle in the rearview mirror and might brace their arms for the impact. Drivers stiffening their wrists, arms, hands, and shoulders may increase the chances of a rear-end collision injury. These injuries can include broken wrists, stress fractures, a dislocated shoulder, or tendon damage.
During a rear-end collision, a vehicle’s airbag might deploy. The airbag can hurt the chest, possibly causing rib fractures. A seatbelt pulling taut may also injure the ribs, elbow, or shoulder.
Shattered glass and loose debris can slam into the window, dashboard, or steering wheel in a rear-end collision. This contact can cause facial injuries, including cuts, lacerations, bruising, broken nose, and dental impairments, such as broken teeth and jawbone damage.
A rear-end collision can cause knee injuries from the passenger’s knee or knees smashing into the car’s dashboard. Knee injuries caused by a rear-end collision include dislocations, ACL tears, and meniscus tears. If you or a loved one suffered a knee injury stemming from a rear-end collision, watch out for symptoms such as swelling, pain (whether sharp, stabbing, or localized), and limited mobility.
These injuries may disrupt you or a loved one’s everyday wellbeing. You must recover not only from the physical injuries you’ve endured but also the emotional pain and suffering from the accident. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer now to determine how you may recover damages.
What are some of the potential causes of rear-end collisions?
Some common causes of rear-end collisions are driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving too close to a car in front of the driver (tailgating), driving too fast for road conditions, failing to leave enough space to brake when road conditions are poor (e.g., wet or slick), and fatigue.
Distracted driving, including texting, eating, or talking on the phone, is also an extremely common cause of rear-end collisions.
The cause of the rear-end collision can help your case. An experienced car accident attorney will follow all essential steps to get you adequately compensated for your injuries resulting from the crash.
How can you avoid a rear-end collision?
How can you avoid colliding with a driver in front of you?
The best ways to avoid colliding with a driver in front of you are keeping a safe distance between you and other vehicles, obeying the speed limit, and avoiding distractions.
How can you avoid being rear-ended by a driver?
The best way to decrease your chances of a rear driver colliding with you is by moving to another lane if you notice that a driver is tailgating you. Do so early and slowly so that drivers behind you have adequate warning that you might brake.
Who is liable for a rear-end collision?
Is Texas a fault or no-fault state?
Texas is a fault state. This means that, after a collision, an insurance company will establish fault in the accident before it provides coverage.
Is the rear driver always at fault?
Although many believe that the rear driver is always at fault in the case of a rear-end collision, that is untrue. The front driver may cause a rear-end collision.
- If a driver pulls out of a parking lot before looking to ensure that the way is clear, or if they speed out of the lot while misjudging the distance from oncoming traffic, that driver may be at fault. Drivers who pull out of parking lots should yield the right of way.
- If a driver is rear-ended after changing lanes while pressing on the brakes, that driver may be at fault. However, these cases are difficult to prove, and the rear driver may bear liability as well. For instance, if the rear driver did not give enough room for the front driver to merge, it may still be the rear-end driver’s fault.
- Normally, a driver should keep a safe distance so the other driver can come to a complete stop. However, in some scenarios, the front driver stops for no reason at all and causes the accident.
What do you need to prove to show that the other driver was negligent?
To show that the other driver was negligent during a rear-end collision, you must demonstrate four elements:
- Duty: Drivers owe other drivers a duty to use reasonable care and drive safely to not harm other drivers.
- Breach of duty: The failure to use reasonable care and drive safely constitutes a breach of the duty owed to other drivers. Failing to pay attention to the driver in front of you during rush hour traffic is an example of a breach of duty.
- Causation: The breach of duty caused the accident. For example, if you’re not paying attention to the driver in front of you because you’re reading a text message, and your inattention results in the collision, the front driver can prove causation.
- Damages: Damages mean recognizable and actual losses that result from your injury.
What am I entitled to recover?
Even if you were partially at fault for the accident, you may still recover damages stemming from your accident. If the insurance company accuses you of causing an accident when you didn’t, call a car accident lawyer who knows how to deal with this tactic.
How can you estimate your possible settlement in a rear-end collision?
After a rear-end collision, your potential settlement amount depends on various factors.
One factor is whether someone else was clearly at fault. You must prove that your rear-end collision was someone else’s fault, fully or partially.
Another factor is how badly you’re injured. The more serious your injuries are, the larger your settlement may be. This is because a settlement amount compensates a rear-end collision victim for his or her actual losses in addition to other forms of compensation.
A final factor is whether the driver who caused the collision has sufficient insurance to award a more substantial settlement amount. If you’re injured in a rear-end collision but the driver who caused the collision has insufficient insurance, your accident settlement decreases due to the available amount of coverage.
What might your recovery consist of?
Your recovery for injuries suffered during a rear-end collision may consist of compensation in the form of damages.
Economic damages can include out-of-pocket expenses you may incur as a result of your collision:
- Vehicle repairs;
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the accident;
- Medical expenses likely incurred in the future (such as rehabilitation costs, surgeries, medications);
- Lost wages; and
- Lost earning capacity.
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, you may also receive these non-economic damages:
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and
Results will depend on the facts and circumstances of every case. An experienced rear-end collision lawyer will fight for the compensation you deserve.
Contacting a Medical Provider and Attorney After the Accident
Why Should You Contact a Medical Provider After a Rear-End Collision?
Seeking medical care can only strengthen your rear-end collision claim. Seeking medical attention increases the chances of an accurate diagnosis if you’re injured in the collision, guarantees that you receive the treatment you need, can establish a causal relationship between your injury and the car crash, and shows that you’re doing your due diligence in mitigating damages.
Why Should You Contact an Attorney After a Rear-End Collision?
A competent car accident attorney as your representative is vital for you to navigate the legal system. An experienced lawyer can investigate the collision, name the possible defendant(s), bring a lawsuit in the correct civil court, and engage in settlement discussions with the driver and the driver’s counsel.
If your case ends up at trial, a proficient attorney can aid you in the courtroom. Contact an experienced car accident law firm now to help you receive the compensation you deserve after a rear-end collision.
Patino Law Firm
1802 N 10th St
McAllen, TX 78501