Rear-End Collisions: Common Injuries and Steps to Take
You don’t need to be speeding along the highway to wind up in a dangerous car accident that can leave you injured and your car wrecked. In fact, you don’t need to be moving at all. Rear-end collisions account for about 40% of all car accidents, making them the most common type of auto collision. Many of them occur while the driver who is rear-ended is at a dead stop.
Even more alarming is the fact that a vast majority of these accidents are completely preventable.
Among the leading causes of rear-end collisions are:
- Texting and driving
- Drowsy driving
- Driving recklessly
All of these are well within the control of the driver who causes the crash, but there’s only so much the other driver can do to avoid being rear-ended. Sure, they can keep an eye on their rear and side view mirrors for incoming collisions, but once they’ve spotted that car barreling towards them, it’s likely that all they can do is brace for impact.
Rear-End Collision Injuries Explained
There is a wide range of injuries that you can sustain from a rear-end collision. Some of them are obvious and superficial, like bumps, scrapes, and bruises, while others are harder to identify and a lot more dangerous.
Here are just a few of the most common and most concerning injuries from rear-end collisions:
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries caused by rear-end collisions. To understand what it is, just think of somebody cracking a whip. They cast it out and then pull it back with great force to create that loud snapping sound. That’s essentially what happens to your spine when you get whiplash.
Whiplash can result in a laundry list of issues, including:
- Stiff neck
- Muscle damage
- Tendon and ligament injuries
- Chronic headaches
- Nerve pain
- Shoulder and back pain, and more.
Some victims of whiplash have even reported insomnia, fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating, and memory loss.
What’s odd about whiplash is that sometimes symptoms only begin to show themselves days, weeks, or even months after the rear-end collision. You may walk away fine from the incident only to find that you’ve sustained injuries that can cause chronic pain for years to come.
What’s even more unsettling is that many of the car crashes that lead to whiplash injuries occur at less than 12 miles per hour. That’s why it’s incredibly important to see a doctor as soon as possible after any rear-end collision.
The sudden impact of a rear-end collision won’t just whip your spine…it can also rattle your whole head, potentially causing serious damage to your brain. With your head whipping forward and coming to a sudden stop, your brain can sustain injuries that may result in a concussion.
Studies in recent years have shown just how devastating concussions can be. Long-term effects of concussions include memory loss, depression, and changes in personality.
Back and Spinal Cord Injuries
If you’ve ever hurt your back before, you know just how debilitating it can be. Your spine is the center of all of your movement, and once that’s damaged, there are implications throughout the rest of your entire body. The sudden impact of a rear-end collision can cause cracked vertebrae, slipped discs, and other kinds of serious damage to your spine.
Injuries to the spine are another issue that you may not notice immediately following a rear-end collision, but that does not mean that they are not present. Get yourself checked out as soon as you can or you may wind up with chronic back issues down the road.
What Should You Do if You’re Involved in a Rear-End Collision?
The first thing you should do anytime you’re involved in an auto accident is to make sure that everyone is okay. If anyone is seriously injured, call the police and request an ambulance immediately. If everyone appears to be okay, you should still call the police so that you can file an incident report.
The purpose of reporting the accident to the police is to make sure that you have official documentation of exactly what happened. If you simply exchange information with whoever crashed into you, that person could give you false information, change their story to make it appear as if you were the one that caused the accident, or simply disappear. Don’t let that happen…file a police report.
Take Pictures of Everything
Get photographic evidence of the entire incident. Focus on any scratches, dents, dings, scuffs, or cracks on your car and theirs, as well as any loose debris, any other damaged property around you, and make sure to get a picture of both of your license plates. The more photos you take, the better. You never know what could help to prove your case should the incident bring you to court.
If there were any outside factors that may have caused or contributed to the accident, such as a broken traffic light or a missing street sign, be sure to document that photographically, as well.
You need documented proof of the other driver’s identity, insurance information, license number, home address, phone number, and email. Take pictures of the things that you can and have the other party write down everything else. Make sure to give them your information, as well.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to collect their information, too.
Go to a Doctor
You may feel just fine after being rear-ended, but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been hurt. Adrenaline is likely to be pumping through your body after a car accident, which can make your injuries feel less significant than they are. Some injuries won’t present themselves until weeks or even months after the incident. Your best bet is to see a doctor as soon as possible, no matter how minor the collision might have been.
Consult an Attorney
If you were injured in a rear-end collision, whether you were the driver or a passenger, you may be entitled to compensation. The only way to secure the money you are owed, however, is by consulting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced injury lawyer knows how to assess your injuries, both physical and psychological, calculate your expenses, gather evidence, and help to determine the extent of the other driver’s liability in order to help you get the money that you’re owed.
The longer you wait, the harder it becomes to obtain your compensation. Don’t hesitate…contact an attorney as soon as you can.