Rear-end collisions are all too common. They’re so common, in fact, that we sometimes ignore certain factors. Crashes that occur at low speeds might seem innocuous, but those same accidents might result in long-term injuries. Certain injuries take time to fully manifest, especially those that occur internally. For this reason, many people skip the immediate doctor’s appointment and pay for it down the road. With the guidance of an attorney, you can avoid these pitfalls. A skilled auto accident lawyer can help guide you through the process of obtaining proper remuneration for your injuries and damage.
As it turns out, rear-end collisions account for nearly 1.7 million crashes every single year. And those crashes cause almost 17,000 fatalities to occur. That’s in addition to the 500,000 injuries incurred as a result of the collisions. These numbers reflect a lack of certain precautions, according to some experts. In 2015, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) posited that most accidents could be avoided if vehicles were given collision avoidance systems. According to Christopher A. Hart, then-Chairman of the NTSB, “You don’t pay extra for your seat belt […] [a]nd you shouldn’t have to pay extra for technology that can help prevent a collision altogether.”
A Second’s Notice
Hart and his colleagues may have been on to something, as nearly 87 percent of rear-end collisions occur simply because the rear driver wasn’t paying attention. And, according to the NTSB, about 80 percent of these collisions could be prevented by employing the proper systems. Such systems, which already exist in certain cars, apply breaks early if the car ahead suddenly stops. And since 90 percent of rear-end collisions caused by delayed recognition could be prevented if the driver were aware one second earlier, avoidance systems could be the heads-up drivers need. Remember, one second can be as much as 88 feet of driving distance.
As mentioned, injuries incurred by rear-end collisions are insidious and therefore can go unnoticed for several days or longer. For instance, you might experience a headache the week following your accident and you may think nothing of it. However, this kind of pain can indicate severe injuries, such as neck issues, brain trauma or blood clotting. Similarly, whiplash can occur at speeds as low as 14 miles per hour. The pain associated with whiplash may not be apparent for several days. Eventually, you may need to get an X-ray or CT scan, which of course can cost money. Without a doctor’s note saying the injury was the result of a car accident, you may find yourself up the proverbial creek without a paddle – meaning, it will be difficult if not impossible to recover funds for medical treatment without proof that the injuries are directly related to the collision. And according to the Back and Neck Pain Center, “Low back pain is found in more than half of rear impact-collisions in which injury was reported, and almost three-quarters of all side-impact crashes.” The bottom line is this: don’t take any unnecessary risks by skipping a doctor’s appointment right after the collision.
Generally speaking, the rear driver is to blame in rear-end collisions. Very often, that driver may have been guilty of one of the following behaviors:
- Distracted Driving
- Driving improperly under hazardous road conditions
Every now and then, however, the front driver is the cause of the accident. For instance, the front driver might be to blame if the driver changed lanes too quickly, and without warning; if his tail lights weren’t operable at the time of the crash; or if the driver was parked in the middle of traffic without any warning signals.
Determining blame will also depend on your state’s laws. In Florida, for example, there are ways of rebutting the presumption of guilt placed on the rear driver. A skilled motor vehicle accident attorney with experience in automobile collisions can assist you in navigating the relevant statutes as you attempt to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.