According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 6.2 million crashes in 2015. Of those 6 million crashes, approximately 28 percent of them are rear-end collisions.
Frequent Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Whether it’s people on their smartphone, texting teenagers or parents checking on children in the back, driver distraction is a huge contributor to rear-end accidents.
When a person is drunk, they are severely compromised in their ability to think quickly and avoid accidents. A drunk person can’t judge distances correctly either.
In traffic, the driver should leave a safe distance between his or her car and the car in front. When a driver tailgates, they can’t stop quickly enough when the car in front stops.
There can be defects in the road itself, in the traffic signals or stop signs that can contribute to a rear-end collision.
The driver can’t stop when there’s rain, snow or slushy roadways. Fog can obscure a driver’s vision too.
Sudden stops can be a problem in construction zones when a flag-wielding worker halts traffic.
Pedestrians, Children or Animals
Major collisions can result from children chasing balls in the road, animals crossing suddenly or pedestrians walking in the street.
Accidents in the Road
Other accidents can cause sudden stops and collisions in the road.
Cars or trucks on the side of the road might cause a collision. This is especially true when the broken-down truck isn’t safely off the roadway.
Faulty Brake Lights
If the driver in the second vehicle can’t see the driver’s intention to stop, there can be a rear-end collision.
Injuries That Can Result
Face, Head and Neck Injuries
While many accidents can happen at low speeds in the city, the airbag will be deployed over 20 miles per hour. At lower speeds, a person’s face can smack into the steering wheel. This can cause a broken nose, cheek or eye socket fracture.
Accidents Can Result in Whiplash
This is a common injury from a rear-end collision. The person’s head and neck will snap back and forward that is beyond the normal range of movement. This can cause tearing and ripped muscles and tendons in the neck. Pain and soreness might last more than a week in some cases.
Finger, Hand and Wrist Injuries
With a hard impact, the person’s hand can slip from the steering wheel and slam into the dashboard or the window.
Injuries from the Seat Belt
While it can save a life, the seat belt can cause injuries like bruising and cuts along the torso, hip and chest area.
Who is at Fault in the Accident?
All drivers have a responsibility to drive safely on the roads. They must be on the lookout for potential problems in the roadway like defects or pedestrians crossing. Many accidents occur because the driver wasn’t responsible.
While many people believe that being rear-ended means that the responsibility and liability for the accident is on the driver who hit the first car, but that might not always be the case.
As the injured party, it’s up to you to meet the burden of proof for the accident. The majority of the evidence has to point to the other driver being to blame for the accident. When the car hits yours, it’s usually because the other driver was distracted or took his eyes off the road. They are the actions of a negligent driver, and you’re entitled to compensation for the damage to your vehicle and your injuries.
There are times when the driver who hit you might not be at fault. For example, if you have a broken tail light, the person following might not have been able to stop in time because there were no lights to show your intention to stop. This would make you partially at fault.
In a comparative fault state, the driver who was hit can still recover some damages and compensation for your injuries. The court might have to decide what percentage was your fault versus the other driver. If you contributed more to the crash than the other driver, you can be held liable for the accident as well as the other parties damages.
If the other party was more than 50 percent at fault, you’ll be able to receive some compensation for your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. If you are found liable, the court may rule that you’re not entitled to compensation, but must pay damages to the other driver.
In some accidents, there’s a third car that rear-ends the second car and pushes them into you. With that kind of accident, you’d have to go after the third party in the accident.
It can be quite confusing after an accident, but an experienced lawyer will be able to assess your accident to find out whether you can be held liable for the other driver’s damages.