Rear-end car collisions happen when one car strikes the rear of the vehicle that the other was following. A variety of injuries can result from these accidents, ranging from mild to severe. Rear-end car collisions are not rare; in fact, they are the most common type of auto accidents on U.S. roadways.
More than 1.7 million rear-end collisions take place throughout the nation every year, accounting for one collision every eight seconds. If you were injured in a rear-end collision, you should know your legal rights. A car accident lawyer helps seek compensation for your injuries so that you can move forward with your life.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Simply put, drivers just don’t pay enough attention when they drive. Distracted driving is the most common cause of rear-end collisions. We live in a world where nearly all of us have smartphones within arms reach at all times. Many drivers are tempted to answer text messages, read notifications, or respond to emails from behind the wheel. Even a split second of driver distraction can have serious consequences.
Speeding, even if a driver is not distracted, is a common cause of rear-end collisions. When traveling at excessive speeds, a driver may not have sufficient time to stop or avoid a collision. Greater speeds necessitate greater stop times and distances.
Road and weather conditions may decrease a driver’s ability to control a vehicle or increase the time required to safely stop. Even so, drivers have a duty to adjust their driving to account for the current road conditions. Failing to decrease speeds or take extra care when changing lanes is negligent and can lead to accidents.
Types of Rear-End Collision Injuries
Injuries from rear-end collisions run the gamut, from mild to severe. Regardless of whether you feel seriously injured at the scene, it is important to seek medical care. If medical professionals respond to the accident scene, it’s a good idea to allow them to evaluate your injuries. It is equally important that you monitor your body over the next few days.
Many injuries may not immediately show symptoms. If you see any signs of latent injuries, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Nausea, dizziness, blurred vision, or increased soreness can indicate more severe injuries. More severe injuries may not be readily apparent, but will likely worsen over time.
Due to the direction of impact, victims of rear-end collisions commonly suffer similar injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
- Broken bones – Fractures often occur as the lower extremities are forced forward by the impact or are compacted in some other way. Broken bones require immediate medical treatment. Treatment may additionally require casts or slings and follow-up care in the form of physical therapy.
- Concussion – Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury (TBI), can result when the brain receives a sudden jolt or blow. TBIs are often difficult to diagnose. Symptoms can be delayed and may not present themselves until long after the traumatic event. Severe TBIs are rare in rear-end collisions. However, concussions can cause headaches or pressure in the head, confusion, or amnesia surrounding the event which caused the concussion. Additionally, symptoms of concussion include dizziness, temporary loss of consciousness, ringing in the ears, vomiting, nausea, fatigue, and slurred speech. You know your body best, so if you begin to exhibit these symptoms, trust your gut and seek medical evaluation.
- Spinal cord injuries and paralysis – The most common cause of paralysis is vehicle accidents. Spinal cord injuries range in severity but can cause sufferers to need surgery or even experience total paraplegia. Treating and recovery for these injuries can consume significant financial resources.
- Whiplash – When your neck experiences a forceful back-and-forth motion, you have suffered from whiplash. Whiplash is the most common injury resulting from a rear end collision. This is true despite the prevalence of seat belt use among both passengers and drivers. If you suffer from whiplash, you may experience pain and stiffness in your neck that may worsen over time. In addition, you may have numbness or tingling in the arms, headaches, decreased movement of your neck, extreme fatigue, or dizziness. Although most whiplash symptoms improve with exercise, therapy, and medication, in some cases, victims may suffer lifelong complications and chronic pain.
What to Do if You Were Injured in a Rear-End Collision
After a serious rear-end collision, you may have significant medical bills, be unable to work, and suffer from mental health issues. Nebraska law allows you to hold the at-fault party accountable for your injuries. You can relieve your financial hardship through a personal injury lawsuit. An experienced rear-end collision attorney can evaluate your case and help you recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
You may be wondering if you actually need an attorney to help you with your lawsuit. The answer is an emphatic yes. There’s no doubt that insurance companies will be involved in your suit. Your auto or health insurance company, as well as the other driver’s insurance company, will likely be involved. You can bet that large insurance companies will have attorneys, or a team of attorneys, experienced in personal injury. Don’t face an army of specialized attorneys on your own.
Under Nebraska law, you have four years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Although that may seem like a long time, it can pass quickly while you are focusing on your recovery. Your medical bills will continue to pile up. The sooner you contact and retain a competent attorney, the sooner you can recover for your injuries. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident.