Rear-end Collision Injuries Can be Serious, Even when the Vehicle Damage is Not
One of the most common car accidents is the rear-end collision. Year after year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) cites rear-ends as the type of vehicle accidents that happens most frequently on our roads. Nine times out of ten, they seem minor. But many can cause serious injuries, some with life-altering consequences. If you were injured in your car after being hit from behind, you shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences alone. The rear-end accident lawyers at Guajardo & Marks are here to help you.
Causes of “Rear-Enders” and Common Locations
Rear-enders can happen anywhere and in a lot of different ways. You see them on freeways, boulevards, residential streets and even at parking lot entrances and exits. Almost always the at-fault driver (the one at the rear) is not paying attention. And though we hear many excuses, most of them fall into the general category of distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reports that distracted driving kills nine people every day and injures about a thousand.
Distracted driving can include eating, putting on makeup, or fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system. But the most common distraction is our smartphones. The National Safety Council tells us that over a million crashes a year, from minor fender-benders to gruesome wrecks, are caused by drivers who pay more attention to their smartphones than their driving.
The NHTSA, through the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), did some research about vehicle collisions. Some of the important findings about rear-enders included these:
- Leading vehicles were stopped (81 percent in the survey) or moving at very slow speeds at the time of the collision. Most of the time, the rear driver was following too closely to the car in front.
- Most rear-end accidents happen during the day on dry, straight, and level roads.
- Visual inattention was responsible for 93 percent of rear-end collisions.
Types of injuries Found in Most Rear-End Accidents
The most common injury associated with rear-end collisions is “whiplash.” It’s a soft tissue injury to the cartilage within the spine and happens when the neck instantly snaps forward, then backward. Whiplash injuries can range from mild to severe. It is not unusual for whiplash symptoms to reveal themselves days after an accident, and for people to feel “just fine” immediately after a seemingly minor rear-end collision. But when it presents, mild whiplash produces sharp neck pain, headaches, tingling in the extremities and neck stiffness.
Moderate whiplash injuries may result in the same symptoms but of greater severity, plus chronic headaches and nerve damage. It may also be accompanied by bulging or thinning of the soft tissue cushionioning the vertebrae and can be quite painful. In extreme cases, partial loss of strength in extremities, and even paralysis, is not uncommon. Severe whiplash can leave a victim temporarily or permanently paralyzed. In extreme cases where the accident was more severe, whiplash can also cause traumatic brain injury (TBI).
When the rear-ender occurs at high speed (or a smaller vehicle is hit by – let’s say – an 18-wheeler) injuries can be catastrophic, including numerous fractures, internal injuries, severe burns and even wrongful death.
Seek Treatment And Legal Assistance When You Know You’ve been Hurt in a Rear-Ender
Rear-end collisions are always dangerous, and since your injuries may not be noticed for days or even weeks after the accident, don’t fail to associate them with your accident. Many accident victims believe that if they don’t report pain or symptoms of an injury immediately, they cannot pursue injury claims. This is patently untrue, although you should be aware that there are deadlines (statutes of limitation) for filing such claims. If you “feel fine” after the accident, but later develop symptoms like those we described above, immediately seek medical attention and request a full battery of imaging tests (X-rays, MRIs and CT scans) to determine the extent of your injuries. Once you have evidence of an injury, contact an experienced traffic accident attorney, because it’s more than likely you’ll come up against an insurance company that questions your whiplash claim.
Have you or a loved one been injured in a rear-end accident in Dallas, Fort Worth or anywhere in North Texas? If so, the experienced DFW Metroplex legal team at Guajardo & Marks can help protect your compensation rights for all medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and more. To schedule a free consultation with one of our seasoned auto accident attorneys, please call us at 972-774-9800 or fill out this contact form.