Mark Roman | November 11, 2020 | Car Accidents
Rear-end crashes continue to be the most common type of automobile accident in the United States. During 2018, there were over 2.1 million rear-end accidents. The crashes resulted in 2,439 deaths and 594,000 injuries.
In most rear-end collisions, the person driving the vehicle that crashes into the rear of a vehicle in front of them is considered at-fault for the accident. It does not matter whether the driver in front stopped suddenly or turned without warning. All drivers have a duty to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them and remain focused on driving to avoid rear-end crashes.
Why Do Rear-End Accidents Occur?
As with other types of car accidents, human error is the most common cause of a rear-end accident. Common factors that contribute to a rear collision accident include:
- Driver fatigue
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely for conditions
- Tailgating and aggressive driving
- Failing to follow traffic rules
- Drunk driving or drugged driving
There are several steps that you can take to prevent a rear-end collision. Always remain focused on driving and the road ahead. If you are driving in heavy or congested traffic, leave extra room between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Check the road ahead and slow down if it appears that traffic is beginning to slow down. Allow more room between vehicles when driving in poor weather conditions. Keep an eye on the traffic behind you, especially when you slow down or bring the vehicle to a stop.
Purchase a vehicle with an automatic emergency braking (AEB) system. An AEB system detects an impending forward crash. It can slow the vehicle by automatically apply the brakes to reduce the severity of a rear-end accident.
Common Injuries in Rear-End Accidents
One of the most common injuries in rear-end crashes is whiplash. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury to the neck. It can cause severe pain and reduced range of motion.
Whiplash occurs when the head is thrown backward and forward in a violent “whipping” motion. When your car is rear-ended, the force of the impact causes the whipping motion. The sudden movement of your head can cause injuries to the discs, intervertebral joints, ligaments, nerve roots, and cervical muscles in the neck.
The result can be debilitating. While many cases of whiplash heal in a few weeks, some individuals experience long-term pain and other symptoms because of whiplash.
However, victims of a rear-end accident can also sustain other injuries. Common injuries in a rear-end crash include:
- Chest injuries
- Seatbelt syndrome
- Spinal fractures
- Broken bones
- Slipped or bulging discs
- Spinal cord injuries
- Facial trauma
- Airbag injuries
- Head and brain injuries
The symptoms of whiplash, back injuries, and other rear-end accident injuries might not be recognized for several days or weeks following a rear-end crash. Many victims mistake injury symptoms for the aches and pains caused by rear-end crashes.
It is best to see a doctor as soon as possible following a rear-end accident. You need to be evaluated and treated for injuries to prevent more serious conditions. Prompt medical treatment can also help you recover compensation for a rear-end accident.
Filing a Claim for Rear-End Accident Damages
Insurance companies downplay rear-end collisions, especially low-speed rear-end accidents. The company alleges that the victim is exaggerating or making up symptoms. For that reason, always see a doctor as soon as possible and document all symptoms and injuries.
Contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible to being working on a personal injury claim. You might be entitled to substantial compensation for damages caused by a rear-end accident.
Damages that can be included in a car accident claim include, but are not limited to:
- The cost of your medical treatment and care, including physician’s bills, medications, hospital stays, surgeries, etc.
- The expense related to personal care and help with household chores
- Loss of income, including salaries, benefits, wages, bonuses, commissions, and other forms of income
- Physical pain and suffering
- Scarring, impairments, and disabilities
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Other out-of-pocket expenses related to the crash or your injuries
Documenting your damages is essential for recovering maximum value for your accident claim. Your lawyer works with you and your physicians to document your damages. Still, it can help keep copies of all documents related to the accident and a list of all expenses or financial losses you incur because of the accident.
Passing the Serious Injury Threshold for a Personal Injury Claim
Florida is a no-fault insurance state. You must file a claim with your PIP insurance before you can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Even though you are filing a PIP claim, it can be wise to consult with a car accident lawyer. Your insurance provider could deny your claim for a rear-end accident. It could allege that the collision did not result in your injuries.
You must also pass the serious injury threshold test to recover compensation from the other driver. Florida statutes define serious injuries as the:
- Significant, permanent loss of an important body function
- Significant, permanent scarring or disfigurement
- Permanent injuries other than scarring or disfigurement that are within a reasonable degree of medical probability
- Loss of life
You need medical evidence to prove that your injuries from a rear-end accident meet the serious injury threshold. You might need a medical expert to provide information or testimony that explains why your injuries rise to the level of a serious injury as defined by statute. Without medical evidence of a serious injury, you cannot hold the other driver liable for your rear-end accident injuries.
How Can You Help Your Attorney With a Rear-End Accident Claim?
There are several steps that you can take to improve your chance of winning a personal injury case:
- Always report traffic accidents to the police
- See a doctor as soon as possible after the accident
- Follow your doctor’s treatment plan, and keep all follow-up appointments
- Report any new or worsening symptoms to your doctor immediately
- Verify that your medical records contain an accurate list of all symptoms and conditions
- Do not admit that the accident could be partially your fault
- Never provide a statement or answer questions for an insurance adjuster without discussing your case with a lawyer first
Before you agree to a settlement amount, talk with a lawyer. Once you sign a settlement agreement for a rear-end accident claim, you cannot sue the other driver for damages. You cannot go back to the insurance company for more money, even if you discover additional damages.
It is best to consult with a personal injury lawyer to ensure you are making decisions and taking steps that are in your best interest.