Rear-end collisions are everyday occurrences on busy streets and highways. They may be mere fender benders. And the frequency with which these accidents occur can desensitize us to their potential impacts. Insurance companies and at-fault parties push this idea—that a rear-end crash is just a minor incident. But, in reality, many victims of these crashes suffer serious injuries that can have prolonged impacts on their lives. If you suffered an injury in a rear-end collision, you could be entitled to compensation.
The Hidden Dangers of Rear-End Collisions
With more congestion on the roads and the prevalence of distracted drivers, it is not surprising that rear-end crashes remain one of the most common types of car accidents. Many people will be involved in multiple fender benders throughout their lifetime. People may regard a rear-end crash as a less serious accident that does not cause major injuries, but this could not be farther from the truth.
Not all injuries in a car accident are visible. In fact, many of the most serious injuries may not appear in the moments after a collision. The adrenaline of a car crash, followed by the chaos and confusion at the scene, can mask injury symptoms and give individuals the false impression that they are fine.
Unlike a crash that happens in the flow of traffic, most rear-end accidents involve one car at a standstill or moving at a slower speed and another faster-moving vehicle. In either case, the disparity in the velocity of the vehicles can result in a significant impact on the rear-ended vehicle.
Common Rear-End Accident Injuries
Occupants of a rear-ended vehicle rarely notice or realize that a crash is about to happen. They have no time to brace for impact, and the driver has no chance to avoid the impact. In most cases, when the vehicle is hit from behind, the relaxed bodies of those in the crash are thrown violently and suddenly forward and then slammed back into the direction of their seats. This quick and abrupt chain reaction on the body can wreak havoc on muscles, the brain, and the spine.
In many cases, the higher the speed of the rear vehicle, the more severe the injuries are. However, even a rear-end collision at a lower speed can cause severe injuries and pain, depending on age, health, body position, and even the safety rating of the vehicle.
The injuries from a rear-end crash typically have a significant impact on a victim’s health, wellbeing, and finances. Medical expenses for care and physical therapy can add up quickly, while chronic pain, discomfort, and other challenges from injuries can hinder a victim’s ability to work and enjoy their life.
Common injuries in a rear-end collision include:
- Brain Injuries – Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions are common in a rear-end crash. These injuries can happen as your brain is shaken violently inside the skull from the whiplash, or if your head strikes the wheel, roof, or other people or objects in the vehicle.
- Neck and Back Injuries = Injuries to the spine may happen because of the momentum of the crash and force behind the rear end strike to your vehicle. As your body is thrust forward and back, your spine can be fractured, suffer herniated discs, or sustain other injuries that result in painful and difficult recovery.
- Seatbelt Related Injuries – The purpose of a seatbelt is to prevent severe injuries in a crash. But the device itself can result in injuries to your body, as it suddenly locks to prevent your body from launching out of your seat. Shoulder injuries and internal injuries to the chest and abdomen are common in a rear-end accident.
- Fractures or Dislocations – Beyond the risk of broken bones in your skull or neck, your hands and arms are also at increased risk of breaks or dislocations.
- Cuts and Lacerations – If you strike your body against any object from the impact your skin may be cut or broken. Injuries can include minor bumps and bruises from impacts from the internal elements of your vehicle to severe lacerations from broken glass or flying debris.
Do You Need to See a Doctor After a Rear-end Crash?
If you have any pain or visible injuries after a motor vehicle rear-end crash, you of course should seek a medical evaluation immediately. Whether emergency medical services or a loved one takes you to your local emergency room, you must seek care for your injuries as soon as possible.
Even if you feel as though the accident merely shook you up and did not injure you, see a medical professional for a full evaluation after an accident. The heat of the moment after an accident can suppress pain. You may have suffered an injury that has not fully developed. Injuries such as whiplash, internal bleeding, or soft tissue injuries to ligaments, muscles, or tendons can slowly worsen as they go untreated.
If at any time after a rear-end accident you feel unwell or have a general feeling that something is not right, you must seek medical attention immediately. The sooner you can get the medical care you need, the higher your chances for a full recovery or limited impacts from your injuries. Even if your injuries don’t appear at the accident scene, you may seek compensation against the at-fault party.