Over 6 million car accidents occur on the roads of the United States every year. Of these accidents, about 40% are rear-end auto crashes. In Florida, the statistic is a little higher; with about 50% of all car accidents being rear-end crashes. Here is an overview of rear-end auto collisions.
Common Causes of Rear-end Accidents
Florida law requires drivers to stay a prudent or safe distance behind the vehicle in front of them. When a driver tailgates, or follows the car in front of them too closely, they often cannot stop quickly enough when the driver in front of them brakes or suddenly stops. Tailgating is one of the leading causes of rear-end auto accidents.
Today, there are a variety of distractions for drivers that cause them to take their focus off the road. Distractions from eating, putting on makeup, listening to loud music, talking on cell phones, conversing with passengers, and looking towards the backseat to check on small children are common ways for drivers to take their eyes off the road ahead. All it takes is a second for drivers to become distracted and miss the car stopping in front of them. This can lead to a rear-end car accident.
Inclement weather conditions, such as rain, snow, slush, ice, high winds and fog can affect a driver’s ability to see ahead, stop in time, and to keep their car within their lane – which can lead to a rear-end collision. Drivers should adjust their speed and following distance to accommodate poor weather conditions.
Sudden car accidents cause everyone behind the crash to stop suddenly. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to stop in time or evade the accident by quickly switching lanes. This is also a common cause of rear-end auto accidents, and can lead to major highway pile-ups.
Common Injuries In Rear-end Collisions
Whiplash refers to the pain and stiffness in the neck and shoulder area that occurs when the neck, shoulder and spine suddenly and violently ‘snap’ beyond their normal range. According to the National Safety Council, 20 % of all individuals involved in a rear-end accident suffer a whiplash injury. Of those people, 80% experience pain and soreness that lasts longer than a week.
Even at lower speeds, the force of impact from rear-end crashes can cause compression of your spine and the disks located in your spinal column. This is commonly referred to as disk herniation. The resulting pain and soreness from spinal injuries can be excruciating.
Face & Head Injuries
Many rear-end car accidents occur at speeds of less than 20 miles per hour, which likely will not cause your airbags to deploy. In these collisions, your face can smash into the steering wheel or dashboard upon impact, causing injury to your face and neck.
In rear-end crashes at speeds of greater than 20 miles per hour, your airbags will deploy and can cause burning to your face and scalp areas.
Seatbelts and child harnesses, when worn correctly, are supposed to instantly and firmly hold your torso so that you do not slam into the steering wheel, console, dashboard, windshield, and seat(s) in front of you upon impact. While the injuries sustained without wearing your seatbelt would be much more grave or even fatal in a rear-end collision, seatbelt injuries do occur. Most commonly, the seatbelt can lacerate or cut your skin and bruise your hip, chest and torso areas in a rear-end accident.
Who’s At Fault?
All drivers have a legal obligation to drive safely. Drivers must follow the traffic laws, refrain from speeding, tailgating and driving recklessly, adjust their speed and following distance in poor weather conditions, and maintain their vehicles in working order to avoid accidents.
When a driver breaches their duty to drive safely, they are negligent. In rear-end collisions, this can be because the driver took their eyes off the road, was tailgating and couldn’t stop quickly enough, or their brakes failed because they did not have the brake fluid checked or brake pads replaced.
When a driver’s negligence results in striking your car from behind, you have a legal right to compensation for your injuries sustained in the rear-end collision. Of course, it is possible that you or another driver was also negligent in the accident. If you are partially at fault, your damages will likely be reduced by the percentage that your own negligence caused the accident.
Determining who is at fault in your rear-end auto accident can be sticky, and insurance companies love to deny claims in order to avoid shelling out any money. If you have been injured in a rear-end auto accident, or any type of car collision, you should hire a qualified personal injury attorney.
Board Certified Personal Injury attorney Bryan Caulfield has decades of experience in personal injury law and car accident cases. Call Bryan Caulfield today for a free consultation.