Far and away, rear-end collisions are the most common type of accident on the road, with injured parties calling car accident lawyers about them more than anything else.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly 50 percent of all two-vehicle accidents between 2012 and 2014 were rear-end accidents. Obviously, there’s a problem. But day after day, these accidents continue to happen. And while rear-end accidents don’t get the type of attention that t-bone or head-on collisions receive, they can still lead to serious injuries. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that rear-end accidents accounted for nearly 7 percent of all traffic fatalities in just one year. If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, an experienced car accident attorney can help.
Common Injuries After a Rear-End Accident
It’s easy to think of rear-end collisions as minor accidents, but even low-speed collisions can cause serious injuries. Collisions involving high speeds or commercial vehicles carry an even greater risk of serious injury. Some of the most common injuries after a rear-end accident include:
- Whiplash: Whiplash and rear-end accidents often go hand-in-hand. When another car hits yours from behind, the force of the impact it causes your head to brace back and then jolt forward. Depending on the speed of the accident, this whipping motion can strain the muscles and tendons that support your neck and back. This may cause small tears that will lead to inflammation and pain. Whiplash usually presents with intense neck and back pain shortly after the accident. The pain will typically go away on its own within a few weeks, but massage or chiropractic treatment can sometimes help speed up recovery.
- Traumatic brain injuries: Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) happen when the head is hit with such force that it injures the brain. When you are hit from behind, your head may slam into the headrest or steering wheel. This can result in a minor concussion or could lead to loss of consciousness and more serious issues. It’s important to understand that TBI symptoms may not present until a few days after the accident. If you experience headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, or other unusual symptoms, seek medical treatment right away.
- Broken bones: Again, the likelihood of a serious injury increases as speed increases. This also increases the likelihood that your airbag will engage. When the airbag inflates, it can cause fractures to the face, ribs, and even arms. If you see the collision coming and brace for impact, the force of impact can cause stress on your arms and legs.
- Facial lacerations or other injuries: Depending on the speed involved in the accident, the force of the collision can cause your head to slam against the steering wheel or other objects in the car. This can cause cuts, bruises, swelling, or in some cases facial fractures. Damage to the nose, mouth, or neck can also affect your air passageways and ability to breathe.
Factors That Can Affect the Severity of Your Injury
You can’t always prevent an accident. But there are steps that you can take to make sure that you are protected in the event of an accident. In some cases, you may not even realize that your actions may put you at risk. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Watch the height of your headrest: When you get in the car, adjusting your headrest may not be the first thing you think about. Unless it’s uncomfortable, you probably get in your car and don’t give the headrest a second thought. But a properly adjusted headrest can help prevent neck sprain or whiplash. When you adjust your headrest, you want the top of the headrest to line up somewhere between the top of your ears and the top of your head. The space between your head and the headrest should be no greater than four inches.
- Buckle-up: You should always buckle up when you get in the car. But do you know how to wear your seat belt properly? The strap should sit firmly across your chest and the belt should rest across your hips. Do not put the strap under your arm or behind your back. This can reduce the usefulness of your seatbelt in an accident, and can even injure you.
- Sit up in your seat: Drivers commonly sit with their seats slightly reclined or passengers slouch in their seats. These positions can put you in danger if you are in an accident. The proper sitting position is one in which the seat is upright and your feet rest on the floorboard.
Seeking Treatment for Your Injuries
After an accident, the number one priority is your safety. If you have been injured, then seek medical care as soon as possible. If there are life-threatening injuries, call 911 right away. Nevada does not require drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance that covers their own injuries in an accident, but if you carry this type of insurance then be sure to use it to pay for medical care after an accident. If you don’t have PIP insurance, you will likely need to rely on your own private health insurance to help pay for your medical care.
In either case, speak with an attorney after you have received appropriate medical treatment for your car accident injuries. You may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim that can help you recover damages and pay for the costs of your care. Common costs included in a personal injury claim include:
- Medical bills, including doctor visits, hospital stays, medication and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages for any time missed from work as a result of the accident
- Pain and suffering, including, but not limited to physical pain, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues.
Get the Help You Deserve
Rear-end car accident injuries can inflict physical, emotional, and financial pain. A personal injury claim can help you recover the costs associated with your injury. If you have questions about a recent rear-end accident, an experienced Las Vegas car accident lawyer can provide more information about your legal rights.