What You Need to Know about Rear End Collisions

Rear end collisions are the most common type of auto accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear end collisions are responsible for 30% of all injuries cited in car accident insurance claims. The majority of these injuries involve whiplash from accident or other neck and back injuries from car accidents. Although these injuries are usually minor compared to those suffered in head-on collisions, the ongoing affects of neck injuries can be debilitating. Fault in rear end accidents is usually placed on the driver of the rear car.

What is Whiplash?

accident whiplash injury occurs when a vehicle is hit from the rear. Upon impact, the body is suddenly thrust forward. The neck, which is usually unsupported, follows the body and is forced forward and then backward in a whiplike fashion; thus the term whiplash. This violent forward and then backward motion can cause extensive damage to vertebrae, discs and ligaments, in addition to other nerves and muscles. Injuries can be severe and often result in chronic pain.

Consumers can help prevent rear-end accident injuries by always wearing a seatbelt and making sure headrests are adjusted appropriately. Vehicle safety design is also important. Both headrest design and rear bumper design can significantly affect the severity of injuries caused by rear end collisions. Consumers can check their vehicle’s safety rating with several online sources. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) conducts vehicle safety tests, including those specific to rear end collisions, and posts their results on their website. Consumer Reports is another reliable source for vehicle safety ratings.

If you find yourself the victim of a rear end collision, it is important to consult a doctor who is familiar with car accident injuries. Do this soon after the accident even if you think you are uninjured. Many chronic injuries are not immediately apparent, but are still caused by the impact of the crash. A qualified doctor will be able to alert you as to what symptoms to watch for.

Can an Attorney Help Me if I’m Involved in a Rear End Collision?

It is always a good idea to know your legal rights. A car accident attorney can help the facts of your case and help determine if you have a personal injury lawsuit. Because the severity of rear end collision injuries such as whiplash often become apparent over time, you may not realize immediately after the crash the full extent of your injuries. It is important to not agree to any settlement until you are aware of your long-term medical condition. At the same time, most states will impose a statute of limitations to claims made in a personal injury car accident. A car accident attorney is best qualified to advise you on all these matters.

The advice of a lawyer is equally important if you have rear-ended another party, and you feel they are making unfair medical claims against you.