Rear-end collisions are the most frequent type of accident according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). While these types of car accidents can occur for a variety of reasons, one thing they have in common is a strong likelihood of serious injury or death.
Common Types of Rear-end Collisions
Studies differ on the exact number of accidents that result from rear-end collisions, but most estimate the percentage at between 30 and 40 percent. That’s a lot of accidents, a lot of injuries – and even more insurance claims. Here’s a look at some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving has become an epidemic due to cell phone use, texting, Instagram and even the less tech-savvy distractions of eating, talking with passengers and drivers generally not paying attention to what’s happening around them.
- Speeding. Speeding limits a driver’s ability to stop when needed and, unfortunately, many drivers simply speed as a matter of course – without regard for the safety of other drivers and pedestrians.
- Tailgating. Following too closely is a sure way to end up in a rear-end collision. Keeping two car lengths between your car and the car in front of you is always the best policy, but remember – the driver behind you may not be being as cautious.
- Changing lanes unsafely. Many drivers change lanes without using their signals – making it difficult for the cars behind them to know what they’re doing.
- Weather conditions. Snow, rain, ice, and fog – or any combination of these – can make driving dangerous.
- Defective tires & brakes. A vehicle’s ability to stop depends on its tires and brakes. When either, or both, are defective or worn and in need of replacement, a driver’s ability to stop quickly can be undermined.
- Driving while under the influence. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal, dangerous and can absolutely lead to rear-end collisions with grave consequences.
These are only a few of the most common causes for rear-end collisions. While drivers should strive to be more conscious of their surroundings and anticipate what other drivers are doing, the bottom line is that accidents happen and rear-end collisions can result in serious injuries.
Rear-end Collision Injuries Can Be Serious
Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in rear-end collisions every year that can result in neck, back, head and other injuries. Here’s a look at some of the most common injuries:
- Neck injuries. Neck injuries are common in rear-end collisions, as the necks of those in the car hit tend to snap back and then forward – resulting in whiplash. While some whiplash injuries only last a few weeks, others can cause permanent damage.
- Back injuries. Back injuries involving herniated discs of the mid-back (thoracic) or lower-back (lumbar) areas of the spine can result in simple strains and sprains to serious and permanent injuries.
- Brain, head and face injuries. Brain, head and face injuries are common in rear-end collisions as heads snap forward and often make contact with steering wheels, dashboards and windshields. These can result in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), which can be life threatening and cause permanent damage.
- Seatbelt and airbag injuries. Seatbelts and airbags can cause lacerations, bruising and burns.
- Wrist, hand and shoulder injuries. Shoulder, wrist and hand injuries can occur due to being slammed into the steering wheel, the dashboard, the windshield and from getting caught in a defective seatbelt.
Injured victims don’t always know the extent of their injuries right away. While a simple case of whiplash may subside quickly, permanent disc injuries could also be present but undiagnosed. The key is to completely understand the extent of your injuries before accepting an insurance settlement.
Make Sure You Get Every Dime You Deserve
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, keep in mind that New York is a no-fault state, meaning that if you are seeking damages beyond financial compensation for your bills or damage to your vehicle, your injury must meet a certain threshold of serious injury. An experienced car accident lawyer can explain how the New York car accident legal process works.