The Injuries They Cause and Your Legal Recourse
It can happen in an instant. One minute you are sitting at a stoplight, and the next thing you know, you see another vehicle speeding towards you in your rear-view mirror. Rear-end collisions are horrific, serious life-changing accidents that can impact not only the victim but their whole family by completely turning their lives upside down.
Rear-end crashes are one of the most common types of accidents that occur on the roads today. They typically involve a stationary car and another vehicle that crashes into it at high speed. Due to the nature of this collision, victims rarely have an opportunity to brace themselves for the impact or take any actions to prevent it. Consequently, they end up suffering devastating injuries.
However, victims of this type of accident should not have to be held responsible for the expensive medical bills, lost wages, and destroyed property they had to endure. They deserve justice and compensation for their losses and the injuries they sustained.
That is why to better help you understand the gravity of these rear-end collisions, we have prepared this blog post. In it, we will discuss some of the more common rear-end collision injuries that can occur and what you need to do to ensure you obtain the money you need after this horrifying accident.
The Most Common Rear-End Collision Injuries
The damages following a rear-end collision can include several issues and problems that are all dependent on the circumstances of the crash. However, some of the more frequent injuries that occur following a rear-end accident include:
Whiplash (Neck Injuries)
Whiplash is a neck injury resulting from a rapid, forceful back-and-forth movement of the neck commonly caused by a rear-end motor vehicle accident. Generally, symptoms of this injury include a loss of range of motion in the neck, pain and stiffness, tenderness in the shoulders, headaches, fatigue, and upper back or arm pain.
Most people that suffer from this injury get better within a few weeks by following a treatment plan that includes light exercise and pain medication. However, for some, this injury may never fully heal and can lead to long-term complications and chronic neck pain.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are serious injuries that can stay with an individual for the rest of their life. Typically, the impact and force from being rear-ended can cause the spine to compress, put pressure on the vertebrae, and bruise the lower back muscles and ligaments.
In most instances, the spinal cord does not have to be severed for a loss of function to occur. In fact, the cord may be intact, but the damage done to it can result in a loss of function and paralysis.
Another common issue we often hear an individual experiencing from a rear-end collision is herniated and bulging discs. These discs sit between the bony vertebrae in the spine and act as cushions and shock absorbers, also helping to hold the spine together.
However, when an individual is involved in a rear-end crash, the force of this accident can push the discs out of position or cause them to leak when they are torn open. Consequently, it puts painful pressure on the spinal cord and can cause symptoms of tingling, numbness, and pain in the back and other body parts.
Head and Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries usually result from a jolt or a violent blow to the head or body. A mild traumatic brain injury usually affects the brain cells temporarily. In contrast, a more severe brain injury can result in torn tissue, bruising, bleeding, and other physical damage to the brain. As a result, these injuries can frequently lead to long-term complications and even death.
The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may include:
- Chronic fatigue
- A loss of consciousness
- Impaired speech
- An abnormal change in behavior
- A reduced cognitive performance
- Sensitivity to light and sound
Arm and Wrist Injuries
A motorist involved in a rear-end collision often has their hands on the steering wheel at the time of the crash. These drivers may even notice the car approaching them in their rear-view mirror and instinctively brace their arms for the collision. Consequently, when an individual stiffens their wrists, shoulders, arms, and hands, it can cause them to suffer multiple types of injuries in a crash, including wrist sprains, stress fractures, broken wrists, dislocated joints and shoulders, and tendon damage.
Fractured Ribs and Broken Bones
It is very likely that when an individual is involved in a rear-end collision, the crash can cause the airbags to deploy, resulting in the bag punching the motorist straight in the chest and leading to broken ribs and bones. Additionally, these fractured ribs may also occur from the seatbelt pulling taut or when the person’s body strikes against any part of the vehicle.
However, it may not always be apparent that ribs or other bones are broken. In some instances, the individual may feel a deep and intense pain or a sharp shooting ache. But, if the pain is not immediately felt, other signs of broken bones can include stiffness, swelling, bruising, dizziness, feeling chilly or weak, or having problems using the body part affected by the broken bone.
Facial trauma and disfigurement are quite common but serious side effects of a rear-end collision. Generally, when a person’s face strikes an object in the car during the crash, or their face encounters shattered glass, they can be looking at long-term medical issues, extensive surgeries, and other types of complicated medical treatments.
Facial injuries often include cuts, lacerations, bruising, broken nose, dental issues, broken jaws and cheekbones, and detached retinas. Many times this facial trauma can lead to severe deformities or scarring that can also necessitate counseling.
In severe rear-end crashes that involve motor vehicles being totaled or crumpled, it is common for victims to have their limbs severed or crushed. In some instances, victims may also end up in the hospital with their limbs amputated because of the damage done to them.
These crushed limbs and amputations are life-altering injuries that often require hospitalization, numerous surgeries and can decrease a person’s quality of life.
Generally, the damage related to a crush injury includes:
- Bruising and bleeding
- Compartment syndrome (increased pressure in the leg or arm that causes severe nerve, muscle, tissue, and blood vessel damage)
- Broken bones
- Open wounds
- Nerve damage
- Infections that result from bacteria entering the body through the open wound
Seat Belt Injuries
When you are involved in a car accident, a seat belt can save your life. However, for some people that have been involved in a rear-end motor vehicle crash, these seat belts have also been known to cause some devastating injuries.
Usually, when a vehicle is hit from behind, it can cause the seat belt to tighten immediately so that the body is held firmly in place to prevent it from striking the dashboard, windshield, and steering wheel. However, as this seat belt tightens, it can cut the skin when the body thrusts forward, and can lead to bruising and lacerations to the neck, chest, and torso.
For many, the emotional aftermath of a rear-end car collision can also be quite substantial. These car accident victims and their families will often have to deal with extensive medical bills, time off work, an incredible amount of stress and anxiety, and nightmares that can leave the individual feeling distressed and overwhelmed.
See a Medical Professional Promptly After a Rear-End Collision
One of the most common issues that victims face after a rear-end collision is the crash can cause injuries that are not readily apparent. For instance, head and brain trauma can take days to even weeks to manifest. Yet, the longer the victim waits to get medical treatment, the more deadly these injuries can become. That is why it is recommended that you get examined by a doctor promptly after a rear-end collision, even if you believe your injuries are minor.
In addition, getting prompt medical treatment can also be vital for your injury case. Insurance companies are looking for any opportunity to deny your claim. When you do not see a doctor after your accident, these companies will argue that your injuries are not that serious or resulted from a subsequent event.
Fortunately, when you get checked over by a doctor after your accident, these medical professionals can jot down details regarding your injuries and the accident in their medical report and provide you with evidence of a direct link between your injuries and the car crash.
Who Is at Fault for a Rear-End Crash?
Generally, to determine fault, the specific facts of the crash need to be examined. However, a person’s liability is often dependent on negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise a duty of care. If a victim can show that a motorist was negligent in a rear-end collision, the victim can be entitled to compensation for their injuries.
Yet, to obtain this money, the victim needs to prove certain elements to establish that the at-fault party was responsible for their accident and injuries.
These elements include:
- A duty of care: The liable party owed the victim a duty of care or an obligation to act in such a way that did not cause them any harm and ensured their safety.
- A breach of duty: The liable party breached this duty of care by not acting in a reasonably cautious manner.
- Causation: The liable party’s breach of duty was the proximate or direct cause of the victim’s injuries.
- Damages: The victim suffered measurable damages because of the liable party’s negligent actions.
Unfortunately, proving each of these elements is a complicated, difficult, and tedious task. Often requiring a thorough understanding of the state’s laws and having the resources needed to obtain the evidence that can prove these elements and show the liable party was responsible for the harm.
Fortunately, when you work with an experienced rear-end car accident lawyer, they can handle this complex process for you by investigating your accident, gathering the evidence needed to prove what happened and who was at fault for the crash, and fighting for the maximum financial recovery you deserve.
An Experienced Rear-End Car Accident Attorney Can Help
If you have been harmed in a rear-end collision, you need legal help. This is the best way to ensure that you minimize your out-of-pocket expenses and increase your chance of obtaining the recovery you deserve.
- Going over your case in detail, answering any questions you may have, and figuring out which legal options you can pursue.
- Investigating your rear-end car crash and securing the evidence needed to prove what happened and who was at fault.
- Preparing the strongest legal case on your behalf and holding all those responsible for your injuries accountable.
- Bringing in the experts such as doctors, accident reconstructionists, engineers, and economists to substantiate your claim.
- Handling all the negotiations and discussions with the insurance company and fighting for a fair settlement.
- Taking your case to trial, if needed, and going after maximum compensation.
Do not wait any longer to get the help you need after a rear-end car accident injury disrupts your life.