Car accidents happen. One common accident is a rear-end collision. This occurs when one vehicle slams into the back of another. These frequently occur when the front car has to slow down or stop and the second car following them does not respond in time. They are also common when one car is tailgating another.

If you were rear-ended, you may sustain a neck or back injury. These types of injuries can cause major medical bills and long-lasting or chronic health issues. When that happens, you need to be able to know the symptoms of your injury and know how to get help and recover.

How do Injuries Occur?

In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that there were nearly 1.9 million injuries sustained from motor vehicle accidents. Out of these injuries, rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of crashes. Additionally, neck and back injuries are the most common type of harm resulting from a rear-end crash.

Often, the rear car is going at a fast speed when it strikes the front vehicle. This accelerated speed and force can push the front car unexpectedly forward. The driver and any passengers in the front car all experience this through a quick acceleration and deacceleration that can happen in a matter of seconds. The driver and passengers of the rear car are not safe from injury. They experience going from a fast speed to stopping, also in a matter of seconds.

Whiplash

The most common type of rear-end collision injury is whiplash. This type of injury occurs mostly in the neck after a forceful back-and-forth motion of the neck. Both drivers and passengers in the front and the rear car in a rear-end collision can suffer from whiplash.

Whiplash can be minor or severe, depending on the force of the accident. Several symptoms may develop over the next few days following the accident. These include:

  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Pain in the neck that gets worse when you move
  • Headaches that start near the base of the skull
  • Inability to move or loss of motion of the neck
  • Shoulder pain or tenderness
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms and fingers
  • Trouble with memory
  • Blurred vision and ringing of the ears

After an accident, you should seek medical help if you have any of the above symptoms. While most people recover quickly within a matter of weeks, there can be complications. If left untreated, you may develop pain that lingers for months or even years. It could even turn into a chronic debilitating condition.

Other Types of Neck and Back Injuries from Rear-end Collisions

Whiplash is not the only type of neck or back injury that can occur from a rear-end collision. Other types of common injuries include:

  • Back strain or sprain: Often caused by soft tissue damage during a car accident, these can lead to mobility and pain issues.
  • Thoracic or lumbar vertebrae fractures: These are back fractures that are located in the middle and lower spine.
  • Herniated disc: A disc is a cushion between the vertebrae of the neck and spine. A rear-end collision can cause a disc to herniate or bulge out of place. This causes significant pain and can cause mobility problems.
  • Compression fractures: This is a serious injury that is a small crack or break in the neck or the spine. They can result in trouble breathing and chronic or severe pain.
  • Spinal stenosis: This is a condition that happens when the bone narrows that surrounds the spinal nerve and spinal cord. A herniated disc or neck or back fracture could lead to this condition.

What Should You Do if you Have an Injury from a Rear-End Collision?

If you show any symptoms of the above injuries, you should seek a doctor’s help. They can diagnose any conditions and make sure that you get the medical care you need. It is more than likely that you will need to wear a neck brace or use an assisted walker if you are diagnosed with a serious injury.

Make sure to keep all records from the accident. This includes the police report, medical diagnoses, and any medical bills. If you need long-term care like hospitalization or physical therapy, make sure to keep all documentation for that too. You may decide to seek a legal remedy in the future to help compensate for your medical bills and your pain and suffering. It is better to start collecting the information now to be prepared rather than waiting until you are sure you want to pursue legal action.