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June 25, 2015

Rear-end Collisions Can Cause Surprisingly Serious Injuries

rear-end-collision

Rear-end collisions occur when the front bumper of one motor vehicle collides with the back end of another motor vehicle. This type of accident is often referred to as a “fender bender” and is generally considered to be a relatively minor type of auto collision. However, while many rear-end collisions do happen at low speeds and cause little damage, others can be surprisingly serious.

For instance, if two cars are traveling at highway speeds of 55 miles per hour or more and one car suddenly slams on its brakes, the rear car may not have time to brake at all before it crashes into the front car. This means that a vehicle driving at fast speeds may hit a completely or nearly stopped car with almost no warning. You can likely imagine the extent of the damage and injury this may cause to occupants of both vehicles.

Rear-end collisions are often caused by negligence

Most rear-end collisions happen because one or both drivers acted negligently in some manner. Some examples of negligence that commonly leads to rear-end accidents include:

  • Distracted driving, most often involving visual distractions such as texting, reading, or looking in the backseat
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Driving while overly fatigued to the point where a driver completely loses focus or actually falls asleep behind the wheel.
  • Aggressive driving including speeding, following much too closely, and cutting other drivers off
  • Trying to speed through a yellow light at an intersection without paying attention to what the vehicle in front is doing

Rear-end collisions and commercial trucks

Rear-end accidents only become more severe if a commercial truck is involved. If a commercial truck collides into the back of a small passenger vehicle, the 80,000-pound truck often has enough weight to simply drive over and crush the small car. This is commonly referred to as an override accident and is usually deadly. In addition, if a small car collides with the back of a commercial truck, it can often actually get stuck under the back of the trailer. This is referred to as an underride accident and can instantly kill any motorists in the front of the car if the windshield collides directly with the back of the truck. Though trucks are required to have under ride guards[3] to prevent this type of accidents, many of these guards are not effective enough at keeping cars from driving under the trailer.

Rear-end accidents on bicycles and motorcycles

Rear-end collisions can also be particularly serious when they involve a bicycle or motorcycle. Whether the car hits the back of the cycle or vice versa, the rider is more often than not flipped forward off of their bike. After being thrown from the bike, the rider often hits the car or other objects before usually landing hard on the ground. These multiple impacts usually happen with little to no protection on their bodies except for a helmet, which can crack be damaged on impact and may not provide adequate head protection either. For these reasons and more, bicyclists and motorcyclists are at risk for catastrophic injuries in rear-end collisions.

Types of injuries that may occur

Some examples of the injuries that may occur to motorists, bicyclists, or motorcyclists in a rear-end accident include as follows:

  • Fractured facial bones
  • Broken jawbone
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Damage to or destruction of teeth
  • Whiplash
  • Other neck and back injuries
  • Crushed limbs
  • Broken bones
  • Internal organ damage and bleeding
  • Deep bruising or contusions
  • Road rash and serious burns
  • Spinal cord injury (SCI)

Most of these injuries can result in astronomical medical bills due to emergency trauma care, hospitalization, medical equipment, surgical procedures, medications, home health care, assisted living, rehabilitation, and any other treatment deemed necessary. Furthermore, most victims of serious rear-end accidents must miss work while they are recuperating and they therefore lose income that they rely on to pay bills and support their household. If a victim suffers permanent disability due to an SCI, TBI, or another catastrophic injury, they may never be able to work or return to normal life again. Victims may also experienced severe pain and suffering as well as emotional distress due to their injuries.

Anyone injured in a rear-end accident caused by negligence deserves to fully recover and should discuss a legal claim with The Levin Firm at 877-825-8542 as soon as possible.

References:

1http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html
2http://www.legis.state.pa.us/WU01/LI/LI/CT/HTM/75/00.038.002.000..HTM
3https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2004/11/05/04-24737/federal-motor-vehicle-safety-standards-rear-impact-guards

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