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A rear end from behind car crash

Rear-End Collision Lawsuit – Fault and Damages

Jeff Martin April 21, 2022

One of the most troubling concerns many drivers have when getting behind the wheel of their car is worrying about getting into a car accident. Car accidents can happen in several ways, from a small fender bender to a multiple car pileup, and many different scenarios can play out once you’re on the open road. Of all the ways that you can get into a car accident, the most common accident type is a rear-end car accident.

If you’re ever involved in a rear-end car accident, it’s important to know why they are so common, what causes them, who will legally be determined to be at fault, who pays for damages, and what kind of accident-related injuries, like rear-end whiplash, to expect.

Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents

The majority of rear-end accidents happen when the leading vehicle, or the vehicle in front, is either stopped completely or going at a slower speed. The following vehicle is almost always following too closely to be considered safe, which is also called tailgating.

Distracted driving is also to blame for rear-end accidents. Things like eating, texting, fiddling with the radio or GPS system, fatigue, talking on the phone, or daydreaming can cause drivers to become distracted and fail to notice when a car in front of them slows or stops.

Speed can also be a factor and usually leads to more serious rear-end car accidents. If you’re going fast, it’ll take longer for your car to slow or stop, which can lead to an accident.

Hazardous road conditions — like rain, snow, ice, and fog — also can contribute to rear-end car accidents. While we can’t control the weather, we can control how safely we drive to avoid causing an accident.

Who’s at Fault in Rear-End Car Accidents?

Determining fault, or negligence, in a rear-end car accident is important for a few reasons. First, for legal purposes, the driver at fault is usually ticketed. For the sake of insurance and personal injury lawsuits, the fault must also be determined so that damages can be paid to the injured by the negligent party, their insurance company, or both.

In rear-end car accidents, the rear driver — that is, the driver who is behind and following — is almost always at fault for the accident. This is because every driver has a duty to allow for a safe distance between themselves and the car in front of them.

There are rare instances when the front, or lead, vehicle can be at fault for the rear-end accident. Those circumstances usually happen when:

  • The lead driver is in reverse and backs into another car.

  • A driver merges into traffic without allowing enough space and cuts off the rear driver.

  • The lead driver comes to an abrupt stop for no apparent reason.

Common Rear-End Injuries

When involved in a rear-end car accident, both parties can sustain injuries. The most common injuries experienced after a rear-end accident are:

Rear-end whiplash 

Whiplash occurs when your head and neck are snapped forward by a sudden impact. The muscles and ligaments in your head, neck, and shoulders stretch beyond their normal range and can tear or be pulled.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) 

A TBI, or a concussion, is the result of a violent and sudden blow to your head. TBIs can occur during whiplash, when your brain slams into your skull, or if you hit your head on something in your car during the collision.

Back and spine injuries 

Herniated discs are common rear-end injuries because the force of the impact from the collision compresses your spine, which can lead to herniation or bulging. Spine injuries are serious and stay with you for your entire life.

Arm and wrist injuries

Arms and wrists can be injured in rear-end car accidents when your hands are on the wheel and your torso shoots forward, compressing your arms and hands against the wheel.

Rear-end car accidents can occur anywhere at any time, which is why it’s important to always be alert, follow the speed limit, and drive safely and defensively. If you’ve been rear-ended in an accident, you should call the police, exchange information with the other driver, take lots of photos of both cars, call both insurance companies, and contact the Law Office of Jeff Martin and Associates.

If you were in a collision and find yourself saying, “I rear-ended someone with little damage” and you don’t know what to do next, follow the steps above and give us a call. Even with little apparent damage, you and the other driver will need to make sure you haven’t sustained any rear-end injuries.