Jason Stephens | December 1, 2020 | Car Accidents
Rear-end accidents are some of the most common types of car accidents. Thousands of people are involved in rear-impact collisions each year. Even though rear-impact crashes are often called “fender benders,” these types of automobile accidents can result in catastrophic injuries.
Common Rear-End Collision Injuries
Accident victims may sustain impairments and disabilities that change their lives forever because of a rear-end crash. Even minor injuries can be frustrating, costly, and painful.
Injuries that are common in rear-end accidents include:
One of the most common injuries caused by rear-end collisions is whiplash. The force of the impact from the rear causes the person’s head to move back and forth like the crack of a “whip.” The sudden jerking movement tears and strains the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the neck.
Many people who experience whiplash experience pain and discomfort, especially when they turn their head. They may experience stiffness and reduced range of motion. Other whiplash symptoms can include numbness, dizziness, muscle spasms, headaches, and pain that radiates through the shoulders and arms.
Most cases of whiplash heal within a few weeks. However, some individuals could experience long-term pain and discomfort from a neck injury. Doctors might prescribe medications to help with the symptoms.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
The sudden force from the rear-impact can cause pressure on the spinal column. With enough force, a person could sustain broken vertebrae, facet joint injuries, herniated discs, and soft tissue damage. Spinal cord injuries could result in paralysis.
Back injuries after a rear-end accident can cause severe pain and limited range of motion. Some individuals may find it difficult to perform daily activities or work.
Injuries to the Face
A driver or passenger may hit the steering wheel or dashboard in a rear-end collision. The result could be multiple broken facial bones, scarring, and disfigurement. Eye injuries may also occur.
The airbag deploying can also cause facial injuries. The explosion can send debris flying into the person’s face.
Fractures and Broken Bones
Fractured and broken ribs are common injuries in rear-end accidents. However, a person can also sustain broken wrists, arms, ankles, and legs. A broken bone could heal with time and a cast.
However, some broken bones might require surgery to repair the damage. The person could require extensive physical therapy to recover. In severe cases, the person could have a permanent impairment because of a broken bone.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can occur from striking your head on the window, dashboard, or steering wheel after being hit from behind. Hitting your head against the frame of the vehicle can also cause a brain injury. Brain injuries include concussions and severe traumatic brain injury.
Whiplash can also result in brain damage. The brain moves within the skull, striking the skull in numerous places. Each time the brain strikes the skull, there could be damage to brain tissues, including tearing, contusions, swelling, and bleeding.
The long-term effects of brain damage from a rear-end accident may include cognitive, physical, sensory, and emotional impairments.
Seatbelt syndrome can be challenging to diagnose. Medical providers can overlook the injury because there may be no outward sign of trauma until bruises form in a few days, or the person begins to experience symptoms of organ damage or failure.
What Are the Common Causes of Rear-End Collisions?
The most common causes of rear-end crashes are distracted driving and tailgating. However, other factors might also contribute to the cause of a rear-impact crash. Drunk driving, speeding, and drowsy driving can all be factors in a rear-end crash.
In most cases, the person in the rear vehicle is responsible for causing the accident. Drivers have a duty of care to pay attention to the traffic in front of them and leave enough distance to stop the vehicle if traffic suddenly stops moving.
However, the driver in the front vehicle could be partially at fault for a rear-end accident. If the driver intentionally slammed on the brakes or was otherwise negligent, that driver could share in the liability for the accident.
The Texas proportionate responsibility statute states that a person’s liability for an accident does not bar the person from recovering compensation for damage unless the percentage of liability is 51 percent or higher. If a driver’s percentage of fault is below 51 percent, the driver can recover compensation for damages. However, compensation is reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the driver.
What Compensation Can You Recover for Rear-End Collision Injuries?
The compensation you can receive for rear-end car accident injuries depends on the circumstances of your case. Your injuries, financial losses, and other damages impact your settlement.
When filing a personal injury claim, you can include damages such as:
- The cost of your medical care and treatment
- Your lost income and benefits
- The loss of future earning capacity
- Ongoing medical bills and future loss of income because of permanent impairments or disabilities
- Physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering
- Disabilities, impairments, disfigurement, and scarring
- Psychological injuries, including PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- The loss of quality of life and enjoyment of life
- Other out-of-pocket expenses and losses
Before recovering compensation for a rear-end collision, you must prove the other driver caused the crash. Do not assume that the insurance company will automatically approve your claim if you were the driver in the front vehicle. Insurance companies work to limit their liability for car accidents.
Take steps to protect your right to fair compensation for your claim. Seek immediate medical attention after an accident to document your injuries. Avoid giving statements or talking to an insurance adjuster until you have a chance to obtain legal advice concerning your legal rights.
Time is Not on Your Side
Your time to file a personal injury lawsuit is limited by the Texas statute of limitations. Generally, you have two years from the date of the car accident to file your lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit, you lose your right to pursue legal action to recover compensation for your damages.
However, your time to file a claim could be shorter. Cases involving government vehicles or employees have a short deadline for filing a notice of claim, just months after your accident.
Confirming your deadline to file a claim or personal injury lawsuit with an attorney can help you avoid making a costly mistake that results in losing your legal rights.