The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that rear-end collisions are among the most prevalent types of car accidents, accounting for nearly 28% of all reported car crashes. This means that some 1.8 million rear-end collisions occur every year. These collisions can cause debilitating injuries, ranging from whiplash to spinal cord injury, leaving victims struggling with substantial medical bills and painful rehabilitation.
Causes Rear End Accidents
Rear-end collisions occur when a driver rolls or crashes into the vehicle in front of it. This sometimes occurs because the rear-ending or adverse driver is following the lead car too closely (i.e., “tailgating”), but one of the most frequent causes of rear-end collisions is distracted driving. Too often, the adverse driver is talking on a cell phone, sending or reading a text message, or adjusting the navigation system or radio, and fails to notice that the car ahead has slowed down or stopped.
Other potential causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Drunk driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs.
- Making abrupt or unsafe lane changes
- Poor weather conditions
- Defective brakes or tires
- Defective road conditions
Common rear-end collision injuries
Even though many rear-end accidents occur at low speeds, painful injuries can result – sometimes days after the accident. Among the more common injuries include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash is by far the most frequent injury arising from rear-end accidents. Whiplash occurs when the jolting motion of the rear-end crash snaps the driver’s head forward and then back, like the crack of a whip. This motion can force ligaments and neck muscles beyond their normal range of motion, ripping, tearing or over-stretching them. Symptoms of whiplash may include blurred vision, headache, neck stiffness, and tingling pain down the shoulders and arms. Some whiplash victims recover within a few weeks, while others live with chronic pain for years.
- Soft Tissue Injury: Rear-end collision can cause damage to the body’s soft tissue: muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Upon impact, micro-tears can occur in these tissues, leaving you stiff, sore and in pain. Whiplash is a form of soft tissue injury, but the soft tissues of other parts of the body, such as the lower back, may also be impacted. As with whiplash, pain arising from these injuries can last for years.
- Spinal Cord Injury/Herniated Disc: Upon impact in a rear-end collision, the small bones of the spinal cord (discs) can be forcefully shifted out of place. This puts immense pressure on the spinal column, resulting in severe leg, back and shoulder pain and numbness in the extremities.
How a California personal injury attorney can help
Rear-end accidents may result in painful injuries but because soft-tissue injuries are difficult to document medically, your insurance company may balk at paying for treatment. In addition, some insurance companies may argue that because your car sustained little damage, you couldn’t possibly be badly injured.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to speak a skilled rear-end collision attorney shortly following your accident. An experienced attorney will help you receive medical documentation of your injuries and treatment, and fight back against insurance companies looking out for their bottom line instead of you.
If you have been injured in a rear-end accident, call a knowledgeable California rear-end collision attorney as soon as possible. If you allow too much time to pass, you may compromise your rights and ability to recover adequate compensation.
The rear-end accident attorneys at the Appel Law Firm LLP are dedicated to helping San Francisco Bay Area residents receive compensation for injuries and wrongful deaths arising from rear-end accidents. Contact us today for a free consultation.