Back and Neck Injuries: Common in Rear-End Accidents


Rear-end accidents happen more often than most people might think, and they are common on all types of roads, from suburban intersections to busy highways. Specific statistics aren’t available for Austin, but statewide in one recent year, following too closely behind another vehicle—a primary cause of rear-end accidents—caused 26,597 accidents, 20 deaths, 410 serious injuries, and more than 8,000 injuries.

When they occur, rear-end accidents are typically abrupt, and often shocking for everyone involved. Drivers and passengers in the vehicles involved in a rear-end accident are impacted by inertia, force, mass, and speed, causing their bodies to be quickly thrust back and forth. This type of violent motion often can result in debilitating pain.

Symptoms of Back and Neck Injuries Can Take Several Days to Develop

The full consequences of a rear-end accident are not always known immediately following a collision. Therefore, it is critically important for anyone involved in an accident to promptly seek medical care for evaluation and treatment, especially because the symptoms of common injuries may not be apparent until hours or even days later. These include:

  • Pain in the neck, back, head, or shoulders
  • Difficulty with lifting
  • Difficulty with concentration or focus
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Vertigo
  • Limited range of motion
  • Pain or numbness in the arms and/or hands
  • Irritability, sleep disturbances, fatigue
  • Bruising or swelling
  • Grinding sensations during movement
  • Joint pain

Common Back and Neck Injuries

The nature of rear-end accidents often means the people involved are unprepared for impact. Some of the most common injuries these accidents cause include:


Upon impact, the sudden acceleration and deceleration forces on a person’s head and neck can damage bone structures, soft tissue, muscles, and ligaments. While whiplash is not a life-threatening injury, it can result in pain and suffering for an extended period.

Post-Traumatic Headache

Headaches can have a significant negative impact on quality of life. In addition to throbbing and/or pulsating pain, headaches may be accompanied by:

  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Problems with concentration
  • Mood and personality changes

Spinal Fractures

Spinal bones, or vertebrae, protect the spinal cord and give shape and structure to the neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic spine), and low back (lumbar spine). There are five different types of spinal fractures, for which surgical treatment may be necessary to provide stability and eliminate pain:

  • Compression fracture, where only the front part of a vertebra breaks
  • Axial burst fracture, where a broken vertebra loses height in the front and back
  • Flexion fracture, where the vertebrae are pulled apart
  • Transverse process fracture, resulting from rotation or sideways bending
  • Fracture dislocation, where the movement of vertebrae creates a displacement

Disc Injuries

Discs provide pliancy and shock absorption for the spine. The impact of an accident may cause spinal discs to slip or bulge from the spinal column and compress surrounding nerves. When discs misalign and put pressure on the nerves, movement becomes extremely painful.

Symptoms of disc injuries include:

  • Leg pain
  • Sciatica
  • Weakness in the toes or feet
  • Radiating nerve pain in the chest or abdomen
  • Difficulty with balance or walking
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Shoulder pain
  • Tingling in the arms and fingers

Treatments for disc injuries may include:

  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medication
  • Oral steroids
  • Epidural injection
  • Manual traction
  • Chiropractic manipulations
  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Possible Financial Hardship

Back and neck injuries may be complicated and expensive. Victims can suffer damages including but not limited to:

  • Medical costs
  • Prescriptions
  • Lost wages
  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical therapy
  • Loss of sick leave benefits
  • Decreased productivity at work

Give Yourself the Best Chance for Full Recovery

If you have been involved in a rear-end accident, do not make any assumptions about your condition, potential injuries, or damages. Get medical attention as soon as possible to ensure you receive the treatment you need, and then speak to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can protect your rights. Contact George Salinas Injury Lawyers in Austin at (512) 851-1004 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.

Phone 210-225-0909