According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than two-million rear-end collisions occur across the United States each year. This includes over 555,000 crashes that result in injuries and about 2,200 fatal crashes. Rear-end collisions account for almost one-third of all traffic collisions, making them the most common type of car accident.They are also preventable in almost every situation. Victims can suffer life-changing injuries in serious rear-end collisions, some which might require lifelong treatment or care. Below you can learn about the conditions that often surround rear-end collisions, how to prevent them, who to call after you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, and finally, a discussion about liability in rear-end collisions.
Facts About Rear-End Collisions
The NHTSA has devoted resources to studying rear-end collisions because of how often they occur. Some information and statistics that have emerged from their research include findings about driver attributes and conditions that surround rear-end crashes. Consider the following:
- Young drivers under the age of 18 are the most likely to strike another vehicle. As driver age increases, the likelihood that a driver strikes another car decreases.
- Young male drivers are more likely to cause a rear-end collision than females of any age.
- Distracted driving accounts for over 85 percent of rear-end collisions. According to the NHTSA, the most common distractions associated with rear-end crashes are eating, daydreaming, and using cell phones while driving.
- Most people assume that all rear-end collisions are the result of tailgating or following another vehicle too closely. NHTSA research surprisingly reveals that in the majority of rear-end crashes, the second vehicle was maintaining a safe following distance.
- The majority of rear-end collisions occur when the lead vehicle is stopped in traffic.
- The majority of rear-end collisions occur during clear weather conditions.
What Should You Do After a Rear-End Collision?
Whether or not you’ve already been involved in a rear-end collision, you should be prepared and know the immediate steps that you need to take following such an accident:
- Call 911. If your rear-end collision is more than a minor fender-bender, you need to get emergency response teams to the scene of the accident as soon as possible. You should request police assistance even in minor accidents.
- Get evaluated by a doctor. In some cases, you might not have a choice to deny medical treatment if you are unconscious or severely injured after a rear-end crash. In accidents where your body and/or head sustained a minor impact, you might not feel injured. However, you should still seek medical treatment. Some injuries, such as whiplash and traumatic brain injuries, don’t show symptoms for hours, days, or longer. Your health should be a top priority, and any diagnosis will support an insurance claim and/or lawsuit.
- Gather information from the other driver. You should gather the make, model, license plate, name, address, phone, and insurance information from the driver who struck your vehicle. The official police report will also have this information, but you should still gather information if you are physically able. This ensures accurate information in the event the police arrive late to the scene or make a mistake.
- Photograph the scene. Use your cell phone to take a video or photos of all property damage at the scene of the accident. Make sure to get a picture of the rear of your vehicle and the front end of the car that struck you. You should also take photos of any visible injury. Photo evidence is valuable to support your case against the at-fault driver.
- Hire an experienced personal injury attorney. If another person’s actions caused you harm in a rear-end collision, you should seek compensation for losses and injuries related to your accident. A skilled personal injury attorney can handle the details of your case and help you recover damages, while you focus on healing.
- Don’t speak about your accident. Well-meaning friends and family might want to know the details of your accident and your case, but it’s in your best interest to avoid speaking about your accident. Insurance companies and other parties investigating the accident might use anything you say to devalue your claim. This also applies to social media; avoid posting anything on social media until your claim is settled.
Liability in Rear-End Collisions in Nevada
Determining liability in traffic accidents is often a difficult endeavor for insurance companies, investigators, and other interested parties; however, liability is much more clear in rear-end collision cases. In the vast majority of these accidents, the tailing driver in the rear vehicle is liable for damages related to the accident. Yet, expect the defense to challenge this automatic assumption. Defendants may use several different legal strategies to reduce their liability. Some examples include:
- Claiming you made erratic or reckless movements, which led to the collision
- Claiming you were driving while distracted
- Claiming you intentionally hit your brakes to cause a collision
- Claiming you disobeyed traffic regulations, which led to the collision
- Claiming you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Claiming you had a preexisting injury
- Outright denial of any involvement in the accident
Even if the court determines that you are partially responsible for the crash, you can still recover damages under Nevada law.
Rear-end collisions often involve severe, life-changing injuries. If you or a loved one suffered harm after another vehicle struck you from behind, consult a personal injury attorney to determine the best course of action for your individual circumstances. You should seek compensation for the emotional and financial consequences that accompany an injury that you sustained due to another party’s actions.