According to the National Safety Council, in any given year there are an average of 6 million car accidents in the U.S. – 40% of which are rear-end auto accidents. Common causes for these rear-end accidents include tailgating, distraction, alcohol intoxication, harsh weather conditions, poor road conditions, pedestrians, road construction, heavy braking due to speed traps, faulty brake lights and vehicle breakdowns.
Injury from Rear-End Collisions
Common injuries associated with these types of accidents revolve around the seat belt, airbags and a sudden shifting of force. Even at relatively low speeds, it is not uncommon for your spine to become compressed by the force of impact. The pain associated with this type of injury is extreme in many cases.
Whiplash can occur when the head, neck, shoulders and spinal cord are suddenly and violently pushed beyond their normal range of motion. One fifth of all people who experience rear-end collisions ultimately suffer from a form of whiplash, which can cause pain lasting a week or longer. About half of the people who suffer whiplash report experiencing pain for more than a year.
In most cars, the air bags do not deploy when driving at a speed of 20 mph or slower. This can result in the driver’s face smashing into the steering wheel. This often breaks the driver’s nose and can fracture a cheek or jawbone.
The impact from the collision can also cause your arms and hands to whip in a violent manner, resulting in injuries. It is also common for drivers to suffer from seat belt related injuries due to how tight the seat belt pulls and the force of impact. Often the seat belt is responsible for torso cuts, bruises and burns.
A Legal Obligation to Drive Safely
When you sit in the driver’s seat of a vehicle, you enter into a legal obligation to drive safely. Drivers are required to follow all applicable traffic codes and laws, as well as maintain alertness to other drivers, obstacles and pedestrians. When a driver breaks this obligation, he or she becomes negligent in the action.
In all cases, the negligent driver must provide a burden of proof to his insurance company and to the court to prove that the other driver caused the accident. In short, if one driver can prove that 51% of the evidence is in their favor then they are generally considered not negligent for the accident.
When you find yourself in a rear collision accident, you can gather the appropriate amount of evidence by following a few simple steps.
The first thing you must do in all accidents is call the police. If someone has suffered injuries, it is usually a good idea to call an ambulance. The police can help direct the flow of traffic to prevent further accidents and will make a report of the scene that depicts the officer’s opinion of the accident.
Taking photographs of the scene with a camera phone or camera will help you provide more evidence for your insurance company. Photos of the areas of impact are extremely important and useful in this regard. If there are any witnesses around, it is very good idea to collect their information and versions of the incident to help prove negligence.
Medical reports are also important because they show that the accident was the direct cause of your injuries. Make sure the doctor confirms the diagnosis and states clearly that the injuries were the result of the accident.
Making a Car Accident Claim for a Rear-End Collision
After you submit your evidence to the insurance company, they will have a claims adjuster report on the liability and the percentage of negligence that you share from the accident. In 90% of cases, the vehicle that strikes from behind is liable for the injuries and damages. The other 10% account for just a few cases, such as:
- The driver in front was being reckless and dangerous in a way that made it impossible for the driver behind him to avoid him
- The driver in front made a sudden stop without warning or notice
- The weather conditions made it impossible for the driver behind to stop, or
- A third driver struck the back of the rear vehicle pushing him into the front vehicle.
In some states, the law allows drivers to share negligence, while in others the laws prohibit such an action. Ultimately, depending on the severity of the accident and the mitigating factors involved, it may be worth getting a lawyer involved, even if only for a consultation. Our network of experienced accident attorneys can assist you. Call us at: 855-272-6990.