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Car Accident Rear End Collision

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In 2020, rear-end accidents accounted for 27.8% of all car accidents, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They were the most frequent type of car crashes, resulting in severe injuries, lifelong disability, and deaths.

If you are involved in a rear-end collision, you should know how such a situation is resolved and what rights you may have to seek compensation after the accident.

What Are Rear-End Accidents?

A rear-end car crash occurs when a vehicle collides with the back of the front car. These incidents happen when a driver doesn’t manage to stop in time, resulting in a collision. You’ve probably seen or experienced these situations at red lights, stop signs, or when traffic slows down abruptly.

While they usually occur at lower speeds, it’s important to note that they can also happen on faster roads like highways and interstates. Generally, these accidents involve two cars, but sometimes, they can set off a chain reaction that involves multiple vehicles.

How Do Rear-End Collisions Occur?

Several factors can cause a rear-end crash, such as:

  • The rear driver rolled forward slowly into the lead driver’s car due to distracted driving.
  • Ignoring the speed limits and hazardous road conditions.
  • Losing control of the car.
  • Failing to yield the right of way.
  • Not using turn signals while changing lanes.
  • Reversing suddenly into the rear vehicle.
  • Driving speedily and crashing into an entirely stopped lead vehicle.
  • Speeding as a trailing driver behind a slowly moving car.

Out of these scenarios, the last two are usually the most devastating. A fast-moving vehicle can collide with a stationary car with significant force, causing one or both vehicles to slide, roll, or run off the road. Moreover, the accident is fatal when the rear vehicle is much bigger than the front vehicle, regardless of how fast either vehicle travels.

What Are the Common Injuries of Rear-End Crashes?

Rear-end crashes may seem like minor collisions to some people, but they can result in serious injuries. Many victims of rear-end accidents have long-term health effects or permanent disabilities from the crash. Below are examples of injuries that can occur after a rear-end accident.

Neck Injuries From a Rear-End Accident

Rear-end car accidents are often associated with whiplash injuries. These injuries primarily affect the soft tissue in the neck, resulting in strained tendons or ligaments. The soft tissue can also experience sprains and tears. Additionally, the sudden movement of a person’s head during a rear-end accident can be violent, leading to painful symptoms such as discomfort, stiffness, and restricted neck movement. Many of these neck injuries necessitate physical therapy and may require individuals to take time off from their daily activities or work.

Back Injuries 

The back comprises delicate components, including muscles, joints, and soft tissue, making it susceptible to injury. People with severe back injuries due to rear-end accidents usually need time off work for medical treatment and complete recovery. If physical therapy does not relieve the back pain, surgery is performed to regain mobility.

Brain Injuries 

When involved in a rear-end accident, individuals may sustain brain injuries from hitting their head in the car. Though airbags can prevent head trauma from a steering wheel or windshield, victims can still strike their heads on the seat back or window. 

Furthermore, a sudden and forceful head jolt can lead to brain damage, even without direct contact. As a result, many rear-end accidents can cause some level of concussion or more severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) that may have long-lasting cognitive and physical effects.

Spinal Injuries 

A rear-end car accident can result in herniated discs and potentially harm the spinal cord. In several instances, these spinal cord injuries lead to either temporary or permanent paralysis, often necessitating hospitalization for stabilization and ongoing patient monitoring. Unfortunately, many spinal cord injury victims endure lifelong disabilities due to such accidents.

Fractures

The aftermath of a rear-end accident can lead to a variety of fractures. Even the airbag can cause damage to bones in the face, hands, or arms. Moreover, hitting the dashboard might fracture the legs and knees.

Fortunately, certain fractured bones heal with just a few medical appointments and the natural passage of time.

How Can You Prevent a Rear-End Collision?

Preventing a rear-end accident requires proactive measures on your part. While you can’t control every aspect, you can reduce the risk of rear-ending another vehicle by adhering to these guidelines:

  1. Adhere to Traffic Regulations: Always obey traffic laws and road signals, as they guide safe driving practices.
  2. Stay Alert and Rested: Ensure you are well-rested before driving to prevent drowsy driving, which can lead to delayed reactions.
  3. Exercise Caution in Poor Weather: During adverse weather conditions, such as rain or snow, drive cautiously, maintain a safe distance, and adjust your speed accordingly.
  4. Minimize Distractions: Avoid distractions like texting, calls, or fiddling with your phone. Keep your focus on the road and surroundings.
  5. Maintain Safe Following Distance: Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. This allows ample time to react if they suddenly apply the brake.
  6. Resist Aggressive Driving: Avoid tailgating or aggressive behaviors. Stay patient and give space to other drivers.
  7. Prevent Phone Usage: Refrain from using your phone while driving, whether for texts, calls, or selecting entertainment. Set up playlists or podcasts before you start your journey.
  8. Avoid Eating Behind the Wheel: Eating while driving can divert your attention. Consume meals or snacks when your vehicle is stationary.
  9. Stop to Use Your Phone: If you need to use your phone, find a safe place to pull over before doing so.
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Who Is at Fault in a Rear-End Accident?

While it’s commonly assumed that the driver in the rear vehicle is at fault for a rear-end collision, sometimes the lead driver shares the equal blame. This can impact determining liability and subsequently influence the compensation that the accident victims rightfully deserve.

In situations where the driver of the front vehicle suddenly stopped due to mechanical failure or was changing lanes, assessing their negligence becomes crucial. Moreover, understanding the state’s laws of contributory negligence or comparative negligence is equally essential.

Contributory Negligence

In some states, contributory negligence rules are followed for determining the fault of rear-end vehicle accidents. Under these rules, if a driver played any role in causing an accident, they may be unable to seek compensation.

This implies that even if the driver of the lead vehicle is only 1% responsible for a rear-end collision, they would not be eligible for compensation. If a driver played any role in causing the accident, they cannot seek compensation.

Comparative Negligence

Comparative negligence is a commonly used approach to settle many accident cases. Under this law, a partially at-fault driver can still receive compensation. For instance, if the front car’s driver is found 10% at fault and sustains $100,000 in damages, the rear driver would be accountable for 90% of the losses since they were 90% responsible.

Certain states adhere to pure comparative negligence, allowing an accident victim to recover compensation from the other driver regardless of the victim’s negligence. In such states, if the lead driver was 70% at fault, they could still recover 30% of their losses from the other vehicles’ driver.

What Is the Rear-End Collision Settlement?

If a driver causes a rear-end car accident, they are usually responsible for covering the victim’s damages, such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages due to severe injuries
  • Pain and suffering
  • Property damage

In some cases, the parties involved may go to court to determine fault for the accident and the compensation amount. However, most rear-end accident cases are settled outside of court since the rear driver is usually responsible for the accident.

Victims of accidents should ensure that they receive maximum compensation for their losses before settling. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration in 2005, the comprehensive costs of a rear-end collision at a signalized intersection averaged $26,700. As costs have increased since then, car accident victims can expect even higher compensation.

Contact Uptown New York Car Accident Lawyer Today!

If you’ve suffered injuries in a rear-end car crash, don’t hesitate to seek legal counsel. Our team of expert car accident lawyers at Uptown Injury will work tirelessly to ensure you win the compensation you deserve as quickly as possible. We prioritize every detail of your case to ensure you receive the best possible outcome.

If you need legal assistance after a rear-end crash, contact us or call 917-540-8728 to schedule a free consultation.

FAQs

What Should You Do to Determine Rear-End Collision Fault?

If you’re uncertain about fault in a rear-end collision, consider consulting an experienced car accident attorney. They can help assess the situation, gather evidence, and determine liability. Even if the other driver is partially responsible, an experienced lawyer can guide you in building your case and seeking fair compensation.

How to Handle a Rear-End Collision Caused by Aggressive Driving?

If you’ve experienced a rear-end collision due to aggressive driving, your well-being comes first. You should seek medical attention to ensure any injuries are addressed immediately. Once you’re safe, document the details of the car crash and gather evidence, including photos and witness statements if possible. Report the incident to your insurance company, highlighting the aggressive behavior of the speeding driver. Additionally, consult a car accident lawyer who can help assess your situation, guide you through the legal process, and advocate for your rights.

What Should You Do if Rear-Ended Due to Broken Brake Lights?

First, prioritize safety and move your vehicle to a safe spot. Exchange information with the involved parties and report the incident to the authorities. It is important to note that working brake lights are mandatory for safe driving, and negligence in this regard can impact your ability to receive compensation.

How Can You Prevent Rear-Ending Another Vehicle?

In the event of a rear-end collision at a red light, prioritize safety first. Move your vehicle to a secure area if possible and assess for injuries. Exchange information with the involved parties and document the scene, including the traffic signal status. Report the incident to the authorities and your insurance company. Rear-end collisions at red lights can be complex, so having accurate documentation is essential for proper resolution.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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