Rear-End Collisions Can Cause Severe Injuries
Among the most disturbing thoughts when driving is the possibility of another vehicle unexpectedly hitting your car from behind.
Picture this. You are sitting at a stoplight or the end of a highway exit ramp. The next thing you know, a vehicle rams into you out of nowhere, with no notice and no opportunity to avoid it. You feel your head jerk back, then snap forward. You feel a sharp pain in your neck. Your day goes from normal to disastrous in a matter of seconds.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because rear-end collisions happen all the time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us that rear-end collisions are the most common kind of car accident in the country. In a recent survey, they found that rear-end collisions make up 32.3% of car accidents annually. They happen everywhere, every day, and even at slow speeds, they can cause serious injuries.
Insurance companies often downplay rear-end crashes as “minor fender benders” that do not result in severe injuries. While that might be true in some cases, it is not valid in all rear-end accidents. Rear-end accidents frequently result in serious, life-changing injuries that can significantly impact accident victims and their families.
A wide range of serious injuries, including shoulder injuries, lacerations, whiplash, and even traumatic brain injury, can result from rear-end collisions. In addition, vehicle accidents may also cause pre-existing conditions such as degenerative disc disease to worsen.
In this piece, we look at severe rear-end collision injuries and how they can impact your life.
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Whiplash is a prevalent response to a rear-end accident. It refers to a neck injury that happens when your head experiences sudden forced movement forward. Even at low speeds, a fender bender can cause whiplash. The impact causes the muscles and ligaments of the neck and shoulder to stretch beyond their normal range in a fraction of a second, straining or tearing soft tissue.
Whiplash injuries can be quite painful and may linger for days or weeks. According to the National Safety Council, 80% of individuals who suffer a whiplash injury will experience neck pain and soreness for longer than a week. Likewise, 50% of these individuals may have soreness for over a year following an auto accident.
Skull and Brain Injuries
Striking your head on the steering wheel, dashboard, window, or car frame can cause a concussion or a severe brain injury.
Whiplash can also cause traumatic brain injury. The force of your head whipping back and forth can cause your brain to slam into the skull in multiple areas. The results may include bruising, swelling, torn neurons, and bleeding.
Treating a head injury or a brain injury can take weeks, months, or years. The damage can sometimes be permanent, even deadly.
Fractured and Broken Bones
Cracked and broken ribs are typical in rear-end accidents, as are broken ankles, wrists, arms, and legs. It often happens in the course of an airbag deployment. It can also occur due to a seatbelt pulling taut or loose objects in the vehicle smashing into the victim. A victim’s limbs could also strike against a part of the car.
Fractured bones are dangerous because they are not always apparent. A non-obvious broken bone may be accompanied by a deep, intense ache or sharp pain. Other signs include bruising, stiffness, swelling, heat, weakness, dizziness, or feeling chilly.
Crushed Limbs, Amputation, and Paralysis
Any of the chain reactions that follow an accident can cause severe injuries to the spine, leaving a partially or fully paralyzed victim. Spinal injuries may be permanent or require years of treatment and physical therapy to gain a mild recovery.
In severe rear-end accidents where the car is totaled or crumpled, the victim’s limbs may be crushed or severed. They may be faced with the agonizing choice of either salvaging a damaged limb or removing it.
Crushed limbs and amputation are serious, life-altering injuries requiring multiple surgeries, hospitalizations, and often decreased quality of life.
Facial injuries and disfigurement
Facial injuries are also common in rear-end crashes when the seat belt fails to restrain the driver. As a result, the driver’s face may slam into the steering wheel, window, or dashboard, causing numerous broken bones.
Other types of facial injuries include bruising, cuts, lacerations, or scrapes. Dental issues such as broken or knocked-out teeth and jawbone damage could also occur.
Some facial injuries will require long-term treatment and multiple surgeries to help the victim recover. Severe scarring or deformities may also necessitate counseling.
Emotional & Psychological Injuries
The emotional aftermath of a rear-end accident can also toll an injured victim and their family. Medical bills, debt collectors, missing work or school, nightmares, and anxiety can leave a person feeling overwhelmed and distressed.
Get Medical Help Quickly Even if You Don’t Feel Injured
It is essential to get medical attention after a rear-end accident as soon as you can. Even if you don’t feel injured, go to a hospital emergency room or doctor for an evaluation. Some of the injuries discussed above may show symptoms immediately, but many (like whiplash and brain trauma) do not.
In addition, an insurance company may try to minimize any damages if you don’t have proof of getting medical attention. Insurance companies do this often, especially in a low-speed rear-end collision. Without medical reports, you might not get fair compensation.
Who Covers the Costs of a Rear-End Collision?
Drivers have a duty of care to keep a lookout and allow enough distance between them and the car in front of them to avoid an accident. However, a front-driver in a rear-end accident can share liability for a crash.
For instance, suppose you are a front-driver who contributed to the cause of the accident. In that case, the compensation paid to you for damages could be reduced by the percentage of responsibility you had for causing the crash.
However, if you were not the person who caused the wreck, you have the right to recover a rear-end collision settlement. The person at fault for the crash is financially responsible for the damages, losses, and bills you accrue. Typically, the person’s car insurance provider will step in to cover the accident’s expenses, including time missed from work, vehicle repairs, physical therapy, and other costs.
A qualified attorney can help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end collision, driver negligence may be to blame. Sadly, insurance companies will likely offer you a quick settlement before you are fully aware of the extent of your injuries.
Accepting this quick settlement may leave you unable to pay to repair your car properly and receive the medical treatment you need to recover fully.
Do not let an insurance company convince you that your rear-end accident claim is not worth very much. Instead, talk with a lawyer to get advice and guidance to help you receive the maximum compensation allowed for your rear-end accident claim.
Be sure to hire an experienced attorney who will fight for your right to a fair settlement. Hire an attorney dedicated to ensuring that the responsible driver is held accountable for their carelessness.