According to a report from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, rear-end crashes are the most frequently occurring type of collision. About 29 percent of all crashes are rear-end collisions. These crashes result in a substantial number of injuries and fatalities each year.
In fact, roughly annually take place in the United States, in which about 1,700 people die and another 500,000 are injured. These numbers constitute a significant portion of highway accidents, injuries, and fatalities.
Paying Attention to the Road Is Key
A report from the National Transportation Safety Board found that 87 percent of rear-end collisions happened because the driver of the car was not paying adequate attention to the road. Driver distraction is by far the leading cause of this type of crash, as a driver does not notice the vehicle in front of her in time to slow down or stop to avoid a collision. Distractions can include texting, eating, adjusting the vehicle’s radio, climate control or other in-car technologies (for example, the radio, GPS navigation system or a CD or MP3 player), rubbernecking at accidents, or interacting with passengers.
Other common causes of rear-end accidents include:
- Aggressive driving: This can include tailgating, speeding, following too closely, cutting in front of another vehicle too closely, or stopping suddenly.
- Hazardous weather conditions: Snow, icy roadways, heavy rain, and standing water can all interfere with safe driving when a driver does not properly account for them.
- Drunk driving: Obviously, driving under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants can affect the ability to drive safely, including the ability to avoid rear-end collisions.
- Driver fatigue: Driving while fatigued can contribute to failures in judgment and inattention that can result in rear-end collisions.
All of these factors can play into a rear-end collision, whether you are on the receiving or delivering end. It is important to be aware of these factors to ensure that you are not subject to any of these conditions, or any other conditions that might cause you to be involved in a rear-end accident.
While there is little you can do to avoid being rear-ended, you can take steps to avoid rear-ending another vehicle. Follow the rules of the road, avoid driving while tired, exercise caution during inclement weather, minimize distractions by setting radio, CD or GPS settings before your vehicle is in motion, and don’t tailgate or engage in other aggressive driving tactics.
Common Injuries from Rear-end Crashes
While rear-end accidents are viewed as being relatively minor occurrences, surprisingly severe injuries can result from this type of crash. Many people involved in rear-end accidents feel the effects of the crash for months or years afterward. The following are only some examples of injuries that can plague you after a rear-end crash:
Neck injuries: The injury perhaps most commonly associated with rear-end accidents is whiplash. This can involve several types of injuries to the soft tissue in the neck, including straining of the tendons or ligaments. Soft tissue can also be sprained or torn. Rear-end accidents can cause a person’s head to move violently, which often results in injuries that cause pain, stiffness, and limited neck movement. Many neck injuries require physical therapy and time away from usual activities or work.
Back injuries: The back consists of many easily injured parts, including muscles, joints, and soft tissue. Because almost every type of movement involves the back, both upper and lower back injuries can be debilitating. People with serious back injuries often must take a significant amount of time off work and engage in ongoing treatments program to slowly recover. If physical therapy is not enough to resolve the pain and restrictions, back surgery may be needed.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Rear-end accident victims often hit their heads on different objects. Even if an airbag prevents head trauma from a steering wheel or windshield, people can hit their heads on the window or seat back. In addition, just a sharp jolt of the head can cause damage to the brain—even with no direct contact. Many rear-end accidents result in some degree of concussion or more serious TBIs, which can have lasting cognitive and physical effects.
Spinal cord injury (SCI): The spinal cord is a vital part of the body that helps to facilitate movement, sensory capabilities, and organ functioning. The spinal tissue is delicate and can easily be damaged if any discs are compressed or otherwise out of place. In many cases, spinal cord injuries can cause temporary or permanent paralysis and may require hospitalization to stabilize and monitor the patient. Many spinal cord injury victims will live with disabilities the rest of their lives.
Broken bones: Many different bones can fracture in a rear-end accident. An airbag can break bones in the face, hands, or arms—especially for a driver. Legs and knees can also break from impact with the dashboard. While some broken bones heal with only a few medical appointments and the passage of time, others require extensive treatments and leave lasting effects. For example, some compound fractures can require multiple surgeries and long rest and recovery periods. Even with significant treatment, some victims of compound fractures never regain their usual ranges of motion or remain pain-free.
Contact the Car Accident Attorneys of Abels & Annes if You Have Been in a Rear-End Accident in the Chicago Area
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, whether you are the driver who rear-ended another vehicle or you are the driver of a rear-ended vehicle, you should consult a Chicago car accident lawyer to determine what your rights are under the circumstances of your accident.