It’s the end of a long day and all you want to do is get home. You are minutes away from your destination and approaching a red light. As you gently press your brakes, suddenly the deafening crunch of metal fills your ears while the car violently jerks forward.
You’ve just been rear-ended.
Rear-end collisions can have disastrous consequences on a person’s health. Because you typically don’t see the crash coming, you have no time to brace for the encounter. The full physical force of impact plays itself out.
Even low speed rear-end collisions result in significant injuries that can take weeks, if not months to heal. In the worst situations, a rear-end with a larger vehicle, such as a semi-truck, can have deadly consequences.
The Flood Law Firm has helped hundreds of Connecticut residents who have been injured.
Rear-End Collision Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
• 6% of rear-end crashes are fatal
• More than 500,000 people are injured in rear-end accidents annually
• Rear-end collisions cost more in property damage than any other type of accident
3 Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions are frequently caused by driver inattentiveness. For example, looking away from the road for even an instant can result in a road-departure or rear-end smash. A vast majority of rear-end crashes are caused by:
1. Failure to obey traffic signs, signals or officers.
2. Distracted driving behaviors such as smartphone use, operating the stereo or talking with a passenger.
3. Speeding and tailgating, two actions which force a person to immediately slam on their brakes.
What Kinds of Injuries Are Common in Rear-End Crashes?
Of all rear-end crash injuries, whiplash is probably the most well-known. Rear-end accident victims commonly sustain this soft-tissue injury due to the combination of the angle and force of impact. Essentially, when the car behind strikes yours, your body moves with the impact, but your head stays still. This causes the neck to move back and forth much like a whip.
Soft tissue injuries aren’t always readily apparent, so it’s imperative you are seen by a doctor immediately after an accident. A physician will be able to properly diagnosis you, and your medical records may be submitted as evidence in a personal injury claim.
Lower back and leg injuries are also common in rear-end accidents. The extent of these afflictions depends on the severity of the crash. Rear-end collisions at lower speeds may result in symptoms that are slower to show themselves. Middle or lower back pain, headache, sleep difficulties or fatigue are common rear-end accident symptoms.
How Is Fault Determined in a Rear-End Collision?
In rear-end collisions, the driver whose front end meets another car’s rear is often found to be at-fault. However, there are other factors to consider when determining guilt, including weather, traffic and road conditions. Occasionally car parts failure or malfunction is to blame.
The investigating officer can help establish the cause of a rear-end collision via the police report. An experienced car accident attorney can conduct their own investigation or recreate the accident scene, and thus better determine fault in an auto accident claim.
What To Do If You’re in a Rear-End Collision
First and foremost, it’s important to stay calm.
If you or anyone else has been injured, dial 911 right away. If it is safe to do so, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road so as not to block traffic. Wait for the police to arrive and be sure to give them your full cooperation.
If you are safely able to do so, document the evidence by taking photos of the accident location, the license plate, the damage to both vehicles, and any injuries to you or your passenger.
Exchange your name and auto insurance information with the other party, but do not allow them to take a photo of your driver’s license. This may put you at risk for identity theft.
Write down the events leading to the accident while they are still fresh in your mind. Be sure to include the time and date, location and local landmarks, weather conditions, make and model of the other party’s car, etc.
Annotate the damage to share with your insurance adjuster. If police have been called to the scene, they will record the damages to both vehicles. It may strengthen your case if your personal notes match the police report findings.
We’ve created a car accident checklist for situations just like these. You can access the full list here.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
The Flood Law Firm has successfully represented hundreds of car accident victims in Connecticut. We have helped hundreds of residents get on the path to physical and financial recovery after agonizing injuries. We’d like to help relieve the pain and frustration of legal issues, and offer free case evaluations and contingency based services. If we don’t win your case, you pay us nothing.
Let us help you better understand your legal options today. Contact us by filling out the form on this page or call us at 860-346-2695.