Have you ever been involved in a rear-end collision? If so, you know how these accidents can be frightening, stressful, and expensive. But what causes rear-end collisions, who’s liable for the damages, and how can you protect yourself if one happens in the future?
In this article, we’ll cover all the essentials of rear-end crashes that you need to know. We’ll explain the common causes of these accidents and discuss the many types of injuries that result from them. Most importantly, we’ll review your legal options for securing compensation after a rear-end collision. Let’s get started!
What are The Leading Causes of Rear-End Collisions?
Rear-end collisions can happen in seconds, but the impacts can last a lifetime. That’s why it’s important to understand what causes these accidents so you can stay ahead of them.
The leading causes of rear-end collisions are distracted driving, following too closely, speeding, and driver fatigue. Distracted driving refers to any activity that takes your attention from the road. This could be using your phone or other electronic device, eating or drinking while behind the wheel, or simply conversing with passengers unrelated to driving.
Following too closely is another common cause of rear-end collisions. When drivers fail to maintain an appropriate distance from the vehicle in front of them, they may not have enough time to react to sudden stops, likely resulting in an accident.
Speeding is also a major risk factor for rear-end collisions; when drivers travel at higher speeds, they often take longer to slow down and stop safely than if they were traveling at the speed limit. Finally, driver fatigue can significantly impair a person’s ability to stay focused on the road and lead them to become more easily distracted or forgetful while behind the wheel.
The Most Common Injuries in Rear-End Crashes
Rear-end collisions can lead to serious injury, given the sudden and forceful contact of one vehicle into another. Common injuries in rear-end collisions range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious, even life-threatening conditions.
The injury’s severity depends on various factors, including the size of the vehicle that rear-ended, the speed at impact, and whether passengers were wearing their seatbelts. Some of the most common injuries in rear-end collisions include:
- Whiplash – Whiplash is an injury to the neck that occurs when your head moves forward and back violently. It often does not arise until days after a crash.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries – A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused when your brain is injured due to an impact or a sudden jolt to your head or body. Symptoms can range from mild concussions to more severe damage.
- Soft Tissue Injuries – Soft tissue injuries affect the body’s muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They occur when these tissues are stretched beyond their normal range of motion resulting in tears or sprains, which can cause severe pain, swelling, or bruising.
- Spinal Cord Injuries – When a car is rear-ended at speed, it has been known to cause spinal cord injuries such as paralysis or loss of feeling below the point of impact due to nerve damage.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision and are suffering from any of these conditions, it’s important you seek medical treatment right away—and consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help with your case.
Shared Fault in Rear-End Accidents
Often, both drivers in a rear-end collision can be at fault. This is a shared fault, meaning that each driver is partially responsible. This can make it difficult to determine who was at fault and to what degree, directly affecting the compensation you might be awarded if you file a claim.
In some cases, one party could be more liable than the other, depending on the circumstances of the incident. Some common factors that contribute to rear-end collisions include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for the conditions
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone or other electronic device
- Failing to obey traffic signs or signals
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Poor weather conditions such as heavy rain or fog
- Vehicle issues such as faulty brakes, tires, headlights, and taillights
- Driver fatigue resulting from drowsy driving
It’s important to remember that even when two drivers are considered equally at fault for an accident, one may still have legal grounds for claiming another driver – this all depends on your state’s negligence laws.
Understanding Comparative Negligence
When trying to understand who is liable for a rear-end collision, you may want to understand the concept of comparative negligence. Comparative negligence is a system used in some states which assigns blame for a rear-end collision relative to each driver.
The state will look at evidence from the accident scene to determine liability and fault, such as witness statements and police reports. From there, several factors will be taken into account:
- Vehicle speed
- Stopping distance
- Weather conditions
- Distracted driving
- Road conditions
- Vehicle maintenance and age
- The following distance
- Traffic signals
Based on these factors, the state will assign a percentage of fault or blame to each driver based on their degree of comparative negligence or recklessness on the road before an accident occurs—with this system, even if one driver is found to be more at fault than another (for instance, 90% at fault versus 10% at fault), they can still both recover damages based on their proportion of the blame in the collision.
Who Is Liable for Rear-End Collisions?
If you’ve been rear-ended, you’re probably wondering who is at fault and what the implications are.
It’s not always a given that the person in the back is at fault—there are some scenarios where both parties can be considered negligent, and your lawyer can help you understand your legal rights.
But for most cases, the liability falls on the driver of the rear vehicle:
- The driver in the back was not paying enough attention to stop in time or left too little braking room between the two vehicles.
- The leading driver made sudden stops or slammed on their brakes unexpectedly.
- The leading vehicle started moving from a stopped position, and someone followed too closely behind them.
- The leading driver went through a red light, and someone rear-ended them while they were in motion.
- The leading driver made an improper lane change too quickly, and someone behind them had to swerve or stop abruptly to avoid an accident.
- Someone failed to use turn signals when necessary or did so too late, and someone else could not react quickly enough to avoid hitting them from behind.
- Poor weather conditions such as heavy rain or snow, fog, or ice may blank out that liability onto whoever rear-ended their car first (unless they can prove they had no control over their situation).
In any of these scenarios, either party might be responsible for damages, depending on who is liable for causing the crash in court—which is why it’s important to seek legal advice after such an incident happens to make sure you know all of your rights!
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer Serving Coral Springs
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end collision, taking the right steps to protect yourself is important. One of the most important things you can do is contact an experienced car accident lawyer serving Coral Springs as soon as possible. The attorneys at Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers can help you understand your rights and help you get the compensation you deserve for any injuries or losses resulting from your rear-end collision.
At Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, our car accident lawyers serving Coral Springs understand what causes rear-end collisions and how these types of accidents can affect your life. Our team can investigate your collision and determine who was at fault so that we can hold them legally responsible for their actions. We’re dedicated to ensuring you’re taken care of and get the compensation you deserve.
Call Frankl Kominsky Injury Lawyers, car accident lawyers serving Coral Springs, Florida, today at (561) 800-8000 and let us help!