Rear-end crashes are the most common type of crash, making up about 29 percent of all traffic crashes, according to information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Because Nebraska traffic laws require drivers to follow at a safe distance behind other vehicles, generally, a rear-end crash is almost always the fault of the following car, with the exception being if the lead car was traveling in reverse. If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Whether you choose to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance, your own insurance, or file a lawsuit to collect damages, the knowledgeable attorneys at The Robert Pahlke Law Group can help.
Statistics About Rear-End Collisions
A 2015 article from the Washington Post reported that 1.7 million rear-end collisions take place each year in the United States, resulting in about 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries. Here are more facts about rear-end collisions:
- The National Transportation Safety Board reported that almost half of all two-vehicle crashes between the years of 2012 and 2014 were rear-end crashes.
- A 2007 NHTSA study revealed that 87 percent of rear-end crashes occur due to the driver failing to attend to traffic ahead of them.
- Tailgating is listed as a contributing factor in about one-third of all police-reported crashes.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that approximately 5 percent of all accidents involving commercial motor vehicles were caused by a tractor trailer following the lead car too closely.
- The FMCSA suggests a safe following distance of one second for every 10 feet of vehicle length when the speed limit is below 40 miles per hour and an additional second for every 10 feet of vehicle length in speeds over 40 miles per hour.
- In adverse conditions, the amount of safe following distance should be doubled what it is in clear weather conditions.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions
Some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Following too closely, also known as tailgating.
- Distractions, including cell phone use, other passengers, and even external distractions such as a previous crash on the should of the roadway.
- Driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol that alter reasoning, increase fatigue, and may make it difficult to judge safe following distances.
- Speeding, which makes it harder to stop for hazards in the roadway, including other cars.
- Poor visibility or slippery road conditions.
- Failure of the lead car’s driver to use turn signals
- Parking lots or garages where vehicles make frequent or sudden stops.
- Fatigued driving, which like impairment, alters a driver’s ability to judge distances between his or her car and other cars.
The Types of Injuries Caused by Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end crashes are given the nickname “whiplash crashes” for a reason, as whiplash is the most common injury suffered in this type of accident. The Mayo Clinic explains that whiplash is a neck injury that is caused when the neck moves forcefully back and forth, much like the cracking of a whip. Victims of whiplash most commonly suffer symptoms such as neck pain, stiffness, and headaches.
Most people recover from these symptoms within a short period of time if they undergo a treatment plan that includes pain management medication and exercise. However, some people suffer symptoms for months or even years after the accident that caused their whiplash. Long-lasting complications from whiplash are most often seen in those who have had whiplash before, have existing lower back or neck pain, or who are of an older age.
Other injuries that may be caused by a rear-end collision include:
- Concussions caused by the person’s brain being bumped around within the skull and other traumatic brain injuries that are a result of the vehicle’s occupants striking their heads on the steering wheel, dashboard, or other objects in the car.
- A herniated disc, which is caused when the outer fiber that surrounds a spinal disc tears or ruptures due to trauma.
- Broken bones including those in the hands and wrists from gripping the steering wheel upon impact.
- Internal organ damage due to the body being suddenly forced against the seat belt or steering wheel.
- Burns to the face or scalp caused by airbag deployment
- Facial disfigurement from the occupant striking his or her face against the steering wheel or other parts of the car.
What Can a Car Accident Attorney Do for Me?
An experienced personal injury attorney can provide an invaluable amount of help after a car accident. In fact, attorneys are often able to help their clients obtain much larger settlement awards than the clients would have received if they had filed a claim on their own. While the common thought that comes to mind when someone mentions hiring an attorney is a courtroom battle, we provide many other services for our clients, including:
- A free initial consultation and case review in order to understand the facts of your case, answer any questions you may have, and discuss your legal options.
- Help determining the value of your case, based on the severity of your injuries, your long-term prognosis, how much work you’ve had to miss due to being injured and your ability to return to the same tasks required for your job as you were able to perform before the accident, your pain and mental distress, the damages to your car, and more.
- Guidance in submitting an accident claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company.
- Assistance in determining whether the settlement you’ve been offered by the insurance company is fair.
- Aggressive negotiation with the insurance company in order to help you to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available to you.
- Experienced representation in filing a personal injury lawsuit and continued negotiations with the insurance company even after the lawsuit has been filed.
- In many cases, we are able to work on a contingent fee basis, meaning that we do not collect fees from you until we have helped you to obtain a judgment in your favor or a settlement.
Call Us if a Rear-End Accident Injured You
To schedule your free consultation and case review, contact The Robert Pahlke Law Group online or call (308) 633-4444.