What is a Rear-End Collision? A rear-end collision happens when one vehicle runs into the vehicle in front of it. While rear-end accidents can range from a simple fender bender to a dangerous collision, they happen for several reasons. The rear driver is driving too close to the front driver. The rear driver is driving distracted, for example, by texting, and isn’t paying enough attention to traffic. Inexperienced drivers, badly paved roads, and wet weather can also be responsible for rear-end collisions. An accident attorney experienced in rear-end collisions can fight to make sure you are treated fairly.
According to the Ohio Department of Transportation, rear-end collisions are in the top five most common types of automobile accidents. There were 609 rear-end collisions reported in Ohio in 2020, with 80 fatalities and 654 serious injuries.
When two vehicles collide unexpectedly, the momentum from the vehicle passes on to the passengers of the car in front. Regardless of the speed, the passengers are snapped forward and backward very quickly. The weight of the vehicle combined with its speed determines how much force the front car will be hit with, meaning the higher the speed and bigger the vehicle, the more forceful the impact. This can cause serious injuries to your neck, back, and spine.
The most common injury caused by a rear-end collision is whiplash. Whiplash is a serious neck injury caused by a powerful and swift back-and-forth motion of the neck. Whiplash is often referred to as a neck sprain or a neck strain, even though this does not describe the entirety of the injury. Whiplash injuries can range from a few days or weeks of discomfort to chronic neck pain.
According to the Mayo Clinic, whiplash symptoms that appear within a few days of the injury include:
Other symptoms that may appear instantly or over time include:
Whiplash is not a simple injury to diagnose. A doctor will ask you what has caused the discomfort in your neck and how well you are functioning on a daily basis. A doctor will perform an examination by monitoring the movement in your neck, shoulders, and back, looking for tenderness and checking your reflexes. Imaging tests, like x-rays, CT (computerized tomography) scans, or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may be ordered to rule out other injuries or conditions.
Once your injury has been ruled as whiplash, the goal of treatment is to get you back to your everyday activities by keeping your pain manageable and making sure your neck can return to its original range of motions. To manage pain, a doctor may recommend one or several treatments including rest, placing heat or ice on your neck every few hours, or over-the-counter pain medications. For more severe whiplash, you may need prescription medications, muscle relaxants to loosen up tight muscles, or even injections of a numbing medicine. Doctors will most likely also recommend certain stretches for any severity of whiplash and add physical therapy for more serious cases. In certain situations, it might also be beneficial to wear foam collars.
Regardless of where your car was hit in a rear-end collision, your car may be seriously damaged. Bumpers may fall off. The vehicle may sustain alignment issues, suspension or electrical problems, or even engine damage. These damages should be looked at and fixed as soon as possible to prevent further damages and injuries.
Over the past few years, new technology has decreased the amount of rear-end collisions nationwide. This technology has steadily been introduced throughout the automobile industry.
These helpful technologies include automatic emergency braking systems. Automatic emergency braking symptoms detect other vehicles within a close vicinity, and sometimes even pedestrians and cyclists. They work automatically and cause the car to brake or slow down from an impending collision. Backup cameras also prevent rear end collisions. They work by allowing you to see what is coming behind you. FCS (forward collision systems) use radar to keep your car within a safe distance between you and the vehicle directly in front of you. Having these systems available in your car could prevent you from being in a rear-end accident.
The rear driver is generally liable for rear-end collisions. According to Ohio law, no person shall operate a vehicle in and upon any street or highway at a great speed than will permit the person to bring it to a stop within the assured clear distance ahead. This means that that the rear driver has the responsibility to make sure there is enough room between their car and the car in front of them at all times. Rear drivers, like all drivers, should not drive distracted or tailgate the car in front of them.
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.21
If you have been injured because of a rear-end collision and are not liable, you are owed financial compensation. For pain and suffering, damages can generally be three times the amount of economic loss. Economic loss and compensatory damages include lost wages, medical expenses, and car reparations. If the damage from the injury is permanent, compensation can be even greater.
Rear-end accidents are common. If you have been involved in a rear-end car accident, first make sure that you are physically okay. If you are experiencing pain, call 911 and seek medical care immediately. Look at the car, noting and taking pictures of what has been hit and where. Get the other driver’s insurance information and call the police so they can file a report. This will be important when getting the appropriate compensation for damages for you and your car. Next, call a personal injury lawyer that can help get you the compensation you deserve.
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