According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear end car crashes are one of the most frequently occurring types of collisions. Furthermore, the majority of these accidents involved a lead vehicle that was stopped or traveling slowly immediately before the crash. These statistics are significant as some of the most painful and serious injuries sustained by car crash victims occur as a result of being rear ended. Fortunately, injured parties can and should collect compensation from the responsible individual, so if you or a loved one were recently involved in a car crash and were rear ended, it is vital to retain the services of an experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer who can help explain your legal options.
Causing an Accident
Certain behaviors, especially ones that require a driver to take his or her eyes off of the road, are particularly likely to result in rear end car crashes. Most rear end collisions involve at least one of the drivers participating in the following activities:
- Distracted driving, such as texting, adjusting in-car technologies, and eating;
- Tailgating or driving aggressively;
- Driving in poor weather conditions, such as snow, which can prevent a driver from stopping his or her car in time to avoid a crash;
- Driving under the influence; and
- Driver fatigue.
These actions can have devastating consequences for other drivers who may not even realize that they are about to be hit.
Some of the most common injuries sustained by those involved in rear end collisions are neck and spine injuries. This is in large part the result of the force of an impact snapping the head forward, which can tear ligaments, damage the spine, and pull muscles. The position of the headrest can also play a role in either worsening an injury to the neck or protecting it from trauma. For example, when the neck is hyperextended over the headrest, it can result in cervical ligament injury. To avoid this, drivers should attempt to keep their headrests positioned so as to support the mid posterior part of the skull.
Drivers who are hit from behind may also experience serious chest injuries from forceful impacts with the steering wheel. One study even compared an impact with the steering wheel at 30 miles per hour to standing against a wall and being hit in the chest with a telephone pole. As a result of this significant trauma, organs with ligament attachments, such as the liver, aorta, and spleen are especially vulnerable to injury in these types of collisions. Both drivers and passengers are also susceptible to pelvic fractures and dislocation from the femur striking the dashboard.
Facial injuries, including fractures, bruising, and lacerations caused by impact with an airbag are also not uncommon in rear end crashes. Some drivers also sustain wrist fractures and sprains from bracing against the steering wheel prior to the crash.
The severity of a party’s injury will also depend on a number of other factors, including:
- The age and general health of the victim;
- The number of cars involved in the crash;
- The speed at which the cars were traveling at the time of the accident; and
- The size of the vehicles.
Some injuries manifest immediately, while others may take days or even weeks to show themselves. Symptoms also vary depending on the primary area of injury. There are, however, some symptoms that are commonly experienced by many victims of rear end crashes, including:
- Weakness and loss of feeling in the limbs;
- Muscle spasms;
- Breathing difficulties;
- Blood pressure problems;
- Abnormal sweating;
- Loss of muscle control;
- Pain; and
- Limited movement in the injured areas.
Ignoring these types of symptoms can have serious consequences down the road, so it is important for anyone who was involved in a serious rear end collision to receive an examination from a doctor as soon as possible if they experience any pain.
Treating injuries sustained in rear end collisions can be extremely expensive as it may require paying for the following expenses:
- X-rays and diagnostic tests;
- Physical therapy;
- Emergency treatment;
- Hospital stays; and
- Assisted living care.
Victims who sustain chest and neck injuries are often required to stay immobilized for weeks or even months at a time in order to allow their bones to heal. This in turn, means that some injured parties are unable to return to work after the accident and so cannot contribute a salary to help support their household. This on top of medical bills can quickly overwhelm a family’s finances, especially if an injured party must hire a nurse or aide to help with daily tasks, such as shopping, bathing, dressing, and meal preparation.
In most rear end collisions, the driver who collides with the other car will be considered the negligent party because presumably he or she should have been driving far enough behind the other car to stop in time to avoid a crash. However, this is not always the case. For example, a driver may fail to have working brake lights. In these rare situations, an injured party may not be able to recover from the other driver. This is because North Carolina adheres to the legal theory of contributory negligence, which means that if a plaintiff contributes in any way to an accident, he or she cannot collect compensation.
In most situations, the at-fault driver’s insurance will cover an injured party’s costs and any extra expenses can be collected through a personal injury lawsuit or settlement.
Contact an Experienced Charlotte Car Accident Attorney Today
All car crashes are frightening and potentially dangerous. However, rear end crashes can be especially devastating to a person’s health and safety and are usually indicative of a driver’s negligence. Fortunately, the costs associated with treating injuries caused by another person can be recovered, so if you were recently rear ended in the Charlotte area, please contact the law firm of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. by completing and submitting one of our contact forms and we will help you schedule a free consultation with an skilled car accident attorney in Charlotte, NC.