Rear-end crashes accounted for 6.8 percent of accidents in 2016, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Rear-end wrecks were the second most common type of accident after angle crashes (at 17.8 percent). Even with the extra safety equipment that manufacturers now install in cars and light trucks, victims still suffer from severe injuries in rear-end collisions. Contact an experienced car accident lawyer to learn about your rights if you or a loved one has been the victim of rear-end collision injuries.
After a Rear-End Crash
You should do two things after someone crashes into you from behind: get medical attention and contact an accident attorney. Even if you think that you are not injured, your doctor or an emergency department needs to check you thoroughly. Some injuries caused by a rear-end wreck may take hours, days, or even weeks to fully manifest. If you wait too long to seek medical attention, the insurance company may decline your claim.
Always contact a personal injury attorney when you are in a car crash. You may be entitled to more compensation than the insurance company wants to pay, especially if the person who hit you was grossly negligent. Additionally, insurance companies only care about their bottom lines. No matter how much you negotiate, the insurance company will only offer you just enough to make you go away.
Types of Injuries Possible in a Rear-End Accident
According to the Mayo Clinic, a back-and-forth movement of your neck that is forceful and rapid can cause whiplash. Automobile accidents are the most common cause of whiplash injuries. In most cases, you will notice whiplash symptoms within 24 hours, though it sometimes takes several days. These symptoms can include:
- Not being able to move your neck as much as you normally can.
- Pain and stiffness in your neck.
- Headaches that usually start of the base of your skull.
- Pain that gets worse when you move your neck.
- Pain or tenderness in your shoulders, arms or upper back.
- Tingling in your arms.
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things.
- Blurry vision.
- Problems sleeping.
Whiplash is always a possibility in a rear-end crash, especially if someone hits you at high speed. Regardless of the severity of the wreck, you should see your doctor immediately. Most people recover from whiplash within a few weeks, but some deal with symptoms such as headaches, severe neck pain, and pain in their arms for years. You are more susceptible to long-term whiplash complications if you are older, have had whiplash before or have neck or lower back pain from another injury.
Head and Brain Injuries
The force of a rear-end collision can cause something to hit or impale your head, even if your car’s airbags deploy. A hard hit to the head can cause you to lose consciousness and suffer a concussion, lacerations, bruises, and swelling. Even a mild concussion is considered a traumatic brain injury as it can lead to problems years down the road. Symptoms from head and brain injuries may not appear for hours, days, or even weeks. If something hit your head, consult a medical professional as soon as possible even if you do not believe you are injured.
If you start suffering from symptoms including fatigue, dizziness, speech problems, or if you lose consciousness even days after your accident, go to the emergency room. You may also notice behavioral changes or the inability to think days after you hit your head. You should seek medical attention right away if notice these changes.
Airbags usually deploy if a collision happens when you are traveling at more than 20 miles per hour. Even if you are stopped when you are rear-ended, if the force of the vehicle hitting you from behind brings your speed up to 20 miles per hour and that vehicle pushes you into another car or object, the airbags may deploy.
Airbags deploy with an explosive force and can cause burns, especially to your head and face. Airbags may also break bones. If your vehicle has defective airbags, parts of the airbag may fly loose and impale you. In this case, you may have a claim against the person who rear-ended you as well as a claim against the airbag manufacturer and/or vehicle manufacturer.
Back Injuries and Paralysis
When another vehicle hits you from behind, the impact causes your spine and discs to compress, which can lead to serious back injuries. Additionally, a crash can cause:
- Back strains and sprains;
- Fractured vertebrae; and
- Herniated discs.
Treatments may include medications, physical therapy, surgery and/or bed rest. Long-term back injuries may require a lifetime of physical therapy, even if you have surgery.
If a back injury is severe enough, it can cause you to become paralyzed. Partial or full paralysis can be short-lived or permanent.
If you hit your face on something in the vehicle during the accident, the damage can cause scarring or disfigurement. If you damage the inside of your nose, you may have trouble with your sinuses.
Other issues, such as a broken cheekbone or detached retina, can require surgery to repair. Even with surgery, you may not completely recover from damage to your face.
Injuries to Extremities
The force of a rear-end collision pushes you forward. Your instinct may be to put your hands up to protect your face. When you do that, you risk breaking your arms, hands, wrists, or fingers. The impact pushes you forward while at the same time the airbag’s velocity is traveling in the opposite direction. If you don’t put your hands up and you notice that the person behind you is going to hit you, your other instinct may be to grab the steering wheel and brace yourself. If the vehicle behind you hits you hard enough, your arms can snap.
If the vehicle behind you is big enough and hits you with enough speed, it can push you forward. If you hit another car or the one that hit you shoves you into a tree, pole or guardrail, your legs and feet might also sustain damage.
If someone rear-ends you, even if you think you do not have any injuries, contact a car accident lawyer for a consultation.