Rear-end motor vehicle collisions are dangerous and stressful occurrences. Even minor car accidents can result in serious bodily harm and long-term effects. In fact, rear-end car crashes are highly likely to result in back and neck injuries for both passengers and drivers. 

The medical costs for back and neck injuries can add up quickly in the aftermath of an accident. The financial burdens from a car crash can cause victims to become overwhelmed. This is especially true if the accident was a result of the negligence of another driver. If you or someone you love has been injured in a rear-end collision, you may have the legal right to seek financial compensation.

In the following post, we will examine some of the most common outcomes from neck and back injuries that result from rear-end collisions. 

Understanding Rear-End Collisions

According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end auto accidents are the most common type of collision. Almost a third of all domestic collisions annually are rear-end crashes. 

Typically, rear-end car crashes occur when the vehicle in front is stationary or comes to a stop and the vehicle behind it is unable to decelerate in time to avoid a crash. It could be that the car in front is responding to stopped or slowed traffic, preparing to turn, or is approaching an intersection. No matter what the reason may be, if the car behind does not come to a stop soon enough, a rear-end collision will occur.

The car that initiates the collision (the car in back) may fail to stop for a number of reasons. For instance, the driver might be distracted by something and not be able to come to a complete stop in time.

The most common examples of driver distractions that lead to rear-end collisions include:

  • Phone use, including texting, using social media, or making phone calls
  • Engaging with a GPS device
  • Not looking ahead of the vehicle or being distracted by billboards and other sights on the side of the road
  • Eating food or drinking liquids while driving
  • Diminished cognitive capacity due to drug or alcohol use
  • Fatigue and drowsiness

Distracted driving is extremely negligent behavior and is incredibly dangerous. However, it is important to note the majority of rear-end collisions occur because the driver in back is simply following too closely or driving too quickly. Because of this, you should always keep an appropriate amount of clear roadway in between your vehicle and the surrounding cars. 

If you have experienced an injury as the result of someone else’s negligent driving, speak to a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

Neck Injuries Caused by Rear-End Crashes

Roughly 85% of the neck injuries resulting from car crashes occur during a rear-end accident. Even in a minor accident, neck injuries can still happen.

Often, the driver who has been rear-ended will believe they are unharmed because the accident was only a “fender bender” or because it occurred at a low rate of speed. This is a misunderstanding. Even a seemingly trivial accident can result in neck injuries, including whiplash.

Whiplash is the most common neck injury that occurs from car crashes. Every year, over 2 million Americans suffer whiplash. This type of injury occurs when the victim’s body sustains the force of an impact, causing their neck to abruptly bend in opposing directions that are far beyond their normal range of motion.

Some of the most common symptoms from whiplash injuries include:

  • Neck aches and pains
  • Stiffness in the muscles of the neck or back
  • A decreased range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Tingling or numbness in the arms and hands
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness and loss of balance
  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Decreased concentration
  • Tinnitus (ears ringing)
  • Blurred vision

The symptoms associated with whiplash may not be immediately apparent. A victim may think they have not been injured, only to develop whiplash symptoms days later. For this reason, it is very important to seek a medical examination and speak with a personal injury lawyer following your accident.

Back Injuries Caused by Rear-End Crashes

Back injuries are also very common in the context of rear-end crashes. This type of injury can result in a wide range of difficulties for victims. Some back injuries may only cause minor pains, while others can have permanent and debilitating consequences.

The most common types of back injuries include:

Herniated and Slipped Disks

In a car accident, the supportive spinal disks between the vertebrae can be forced out of place. When a spinal disk herniates, the soft center of the rubbery disk is pushed through a crack in the protective tissue that surrounds it. Slipped disk injuries occur when the surrounding tissue weakens and the disk becomes misaligned. These injuries can cause numbness and pain for the victim.

Spinal Fractures

Spinal fractures result from one or more of the vertebrae in the spine breaking. If the fractured vertebra shifts in a way that puts additional pressure on the spinal column, it can result in a condition known as “spondylolisthesis.” Spondylolisthesis can lead to numbness, pain, decreased mobility, and a wide range of other physical symptoms.

Injured Spinal Cord

Spinal cord injuries happen when the nerve structure in the spine, known as the “spinal cord,” suffers physical damage. Nerve damage is very dangerous for the victim. When this system of nerves is harmed, it can result in partial or total paralysis. Paralysis from an injured spinal cord may be temporary or permanent. 

As with neck injuries, the symptoms of back injuries may not appear right away. Even if you do not experience immediate symptoms following a rear-end collision, you should seek medical attention. Back and neck injuries can be incredibly dangerous and typically require immediate care.

Speaking With a Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have experienced a neck or back injury as the result of a rear-end car crash, contact a legal professional. A skilled personal injury lawyer can examine the facts of your case and help you determine your best legal options. 

The financial costs of medical care and lost wages from neck or back injuries are often crushing. If your rear-end collision was the result of another driver’s carelessness, you should not have to bear the financial burden on your own. Contact a trusted injury attorney to secure the compensation you are rightfully due.