The most common type of accident involving a motor vehicle is a rear end collision. Approximately 1.7 million rear end collisions take place in the nation each year.
While this type of accident is commonly regarded as a “minor fender bender,” rear end collisions result in half a million injuries and around 1,700 deaths annually. If you have been injured in a rear end collision that was caused by someone else, you could try to recover damages related to your injury through a car accident claim. Read on for more auto accident legal information from the experienced car accident lawyers at Hughey Law Firm.
How Rear End Collisions Happen
Rear end collisions occur when the front of one vehicle collides with the rear of another vehicle. Nearly one-third of all motor vehicle accidents are rear end collisions, and the vast majority of these crashes occur when the lead vehicle is either stopped or slowing.
Some of the ways that this type of accident can occur include:
- Distracted driving: Driving distractions are activities or events that cause the driver to either take his or her hands off of the vehicle, take his or her eyes off of the road, or take his or her mind off of the task of safe driving. Some activities (such as texting, for example) involve all three of these types of distractions. Looking at or paying attention to anything other than the traffic and conditions of the roadway can lead a driver to miss important clues. For example, a distracted driver could not see the brake lights of the vehicle ahead, indicating that they are stopping or preparing to stop.
- Tailgating: Tailgating is a term used to describe one vehicle following another vehicle too closely, and is one of the most common causes of rear end collisions. It takes some time for a driver to see and perceive a hazard, such as a vehicle in front of them stopping. Once the hazard is seen, the driver must then press his brakes, which will ultimately bring the car to a safe stop. Tailgating reduces the amount of time the driver has to complete this process, increasing the risk of an accident. Stopping on wet roads or when driving a larger and heavier vehicle will require more time for the vehicle to come to a safe stop.
- Speeding: Speeding increases the distance needed to come to a safe stop while decreasing the time the driver has to perceive a hazard.
- Alcohol impairment: Alcohol reduces the functions of the brain that are needed for safe driving, including the ability to track a moving target and to brake effectively.
The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended the standard provision of crash avoidance systems, including audible alarms on all new vehicles. The board stated that this technology could prevent up to 80 percent of rear end collisions.
If you or a loved one were injured in a rear end collision, ask a car accident lawyer whether you should seek compensation.
The Injuries Associated With Rear End Collisions
Rear end collisions are often called “whiplash crashes” due to the common soft tissue injuries in the neck that the violent back and forth motion of the head that this type of accident can cause. However, whiplash is not the only injury that an individual in a rear end collision can suffer.
Some other injuries that are associated with this type of accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries are the result of a sudden blow to the head or body. A person can experience a traumatic brain injury from a rear end collision as a result of the abrupt and forceful movements that the body experiences. Brain injuries are particularly unfortunate as the brain controls all of the body’s voluntary and involuntary responses, but has only a limited ability to heal itself after damage occurs. This type of injury can result in permanent disabilities. About 13.5 million people in the U.S. are currently living with a disability caused by a brain injury.
- Spinal cord injuries: Severe rear end accidents can place an incredible amount of pressure on the spinal cord in the neck and back. The spinal cord, like the brain, can’t always recover once the damage has occurred, leading to paralysis beneath the site where the injury occurred. Individuals suffering injuries to the cervical (neck) or thoracic (chest) area of the spine generally face paralysis affecting a larger portion of their bodies than someone whose spinal cord injury takes place in a lower part of the spine, such as the lumbar or sacral regions.
- Disfigurement: Traffic collisions can be violent events that feature several thousand pounds of metal and glass. In an accident, an individual can suffer disfiguring injuries as a result of their body making impact with metal, glass, and other objects.
Liability in Rear End Collisions
The actions of the driver in the rear car generally cause rear end collisions. However, this is not always the case.
Other sources of liability in rear end collisions include:
- The driver of the lead car, if he or she failed to use a turn signal to indicate a lane change or failed to judge the gap in traffic before pulling onto the roadway.
- Another driver. Other drivers can cause a rear end collision in several different ways. One of the most common ways is at a red light that three cars approach in the same travel lane. The first car stops, the second car stops, the driver of the third car does not stop. The third car rear-ends the second car, which in turn rear-ends the first car. The actions of the driver of the third car caused the rear end accident involving the first and second cars.
- The maker or manufacturer of defective auto parts such as brakes or brake lights, if those parts were defective.
Let a Car Accident Lawyer Help You With Your Claim
If a rear end collision injured you, you deserve answers to your legal questions and guidance in the process of recovering damages. Call a lawyer for a free case evaluation and ask the attorney to explain the car accident process to you.
Hughey Law Firm LLC
1311 Chuck Dawley Blvd. | Suite 201
Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464