Rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident in the United States. In fact, there are over 1 million rear end collision cases every year, many of which cause injury. And an unfortunate number of them are fatal. Anyone who spends time on the road would benefit greatly from not only knowing what to do if they get in a rear-end collision but also how to avoid one in the first place. One of the most important things to realize as a driver is that no matter how careful you are, you can’t control how careful other drivers are. And you especially don’t have much control when you get hit from behind if you’re the vehicle in front. If you or a loved one have been involved in a rear-end car accident it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced car accident attorney.
What are the Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents?
There are a number of reasons why people get into car accidents. Here are some of the common reasons that people are involved in rear-end accidents.
- Tailgating is perhaps the most common cause of rear-end auto accidents. Tailgating is when one car follows another too closely. Vehicles should always maintain a safe distance for this reason.
As stated above, tailgating is the most common cause of rear-ending. You should never do it. Many drivers, when they get cut off, will tailgate as a way to express anger. You should never let your emotions get the better of you like this on the road. A move like this can quickly and easily result in a dangerous rear-end collision. Instead, whenever someone cuts you off, you must either slow down to keep the two-second rule or safely merge into another lane.
- Driving Under the Influence is another common cause for rear-end collisions. When a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, his/her reflexes and response times are slowed, making successful short stops much less likely. Intoxicated drivers can very well fall asleep behind the wheel as well.
- Distracted driving is, unfortunately, becoming increasingly common thanks to cell phones and texting. Other reasons for distracted driving include putting on makeup, ashing a cigarette, changing the radio, loud passengers and children, looking away from the road, and eating.
- Weather is often something that people don’t take into consideration when they hit the road. However, fog, rain, snow, sleet, ice, and high winds can all affect someone’s control of the vehicle regardless of the posted speed limit.
- Sudden stops happen a lot on the road. This combined with any of the other common causes listed above is a recipe for disaster. This can often happen when drivers are going too fast when approaching a red light.
What Are Common Injuries Due to a Rear-End Accident?
Like all traffic accidents, rear-end collisions can result in wrongful death. With that said, many times they end in people being hurt from soft-tissue injuries which sometimes require physical therapy, lost wages and medical bills.
- Back Injuries – This type of injury makes sense considering you’re being hit from behind. Here, even at low speeds, the force of impact can end up compressing your spine as well as the disks in your lower back area. This can lead to bulging or herniated disks.
- Whiplash – is when you feel stiffness and pain in your shoulder and neck area after your spine, shoulders, and neck are violently and suddenly moved. It is also referred to as hyperflexion and hyperextension.
- Face and Head Injuries – These kinds of painful injuries can happen when you’re in an accident and your airbags don’t deploy, your head can bang into the steering wheel in front of you. The power of this impact can fracture your jawbone and cheek, break your nose, and even tear your retina. You can also end up bruising and cutting your face. Also, if your airbags do deploy, their force can lead to abrasions of the scalp and face.
What to Do if You Are Involved in a Rear-End Accident?
First, you should turn on your hazards and stop when it’s safe to do so. NEVER drive away from the scene. Texas has hit-and-run laws and you will be fined and or jailed.
Next, make sure that everyone is okay. If anyone is seriously injured, call an ambulance. It’s alright to communicate with the other parties to check that they are okay but otherwise it’s best to keep the chit-chat to a minimum. And NEVER apologize as this implies liability.
Then, call the police. Most jurisdiction requires that the police be called if anyone is at all injured or if there is damage to a vehicle or property. You might also need to file a police report with your insurance company when you are seeking a claim.
While waiting for the police, without endangering yourself, take photos. Take photos of any and all damage. Take photos of where the accident took place. And take photos of any injuries or cuts you might have sustained.
Contact an experienced car accident attorney as they will be able to help you deal with difficult insurance companies and also help you maximize your claim.
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