Rear-End Accidents are a Major Cause of Back and Neck Injuries
In the United States, 1.7 million rear-end collisions happen every year. To understand why these accidents are happening at such a high rate, the National Highway Transportation Safety researched driver behaviors that contribute to these collisions.
Older drivers sometimes have slower reflexes. Yet the research showed that as drivers age, they actually become less inclined to hit the cars ahead of them. The NHTSA discovered that younger drivers are more prone to rear-end accidents. This is especially true for teens under the age of 18. The NHTSA’s study also revealed that young male drivers cause more rear-end crashes than their female counterparts.
Distracted driving is a major culprit. It causes 85% of rear-end collisions. Drivers who are daydreaming, eating, using their cell phones, or otherwise multitasking simply aren’t paying enough attention to what is ahead of them.
Clear weather can be reassuring for drivers; the false sense of safety leads some to feel comfortable driving less cautiously. That could be why most rear-end collisions take place on days with good weather. Rear-end collisions are also more likely to happen when the car ahead is stopped at a traffic light or a stop sign.
How does a spine injury happen in a rear-end collision?
When a rear-end collision propels passengers forward, seat belts do their best to stop the motion. People’s heads and necks, however, are not restricted. Instead, they’re thrust around. The severity of spine injuries typically increases with the speed and impact of an accident.
Types of Neck and Back Injuries Caused by Rear-End Accidents
Whiplash happens when the neck is rapidly extended beyond the range of motion it can sustain. As one of the most common accident-related injuries, whiplash afflicts more than one million Americans every year. It can cause muscle spasms, headaches, stiffness in the neck, as well as fatigue. Extreme cases can impair eyesight. Unfortunately, whiplash is often not detected in MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays.
The chief side effect of a spinal fracture is back pain. Everyday movements like unloading groceries or bending down can trigger pain.
There are 33 bones in the spine, each separated by a disc. These discs give spines their flexibility. A rear-end accident can force those discs out of place, which can compress spinal nerves. This can result in numbness or pain all over the body.
Spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injuries can make the body’s nervous system go haywire. Involuntary spasms, loss of bowel control, and diminished or lost sense of touch are some of the symptoms associated with spinal cord injuries.
Delayed Neck and Back Injury Symptoms
The silver lining with injuries that are immediately painful is that affected passengers are more likely to seek quick medical attention. When symptoms are delayed, undetected injuries can do more damage.
Swelling of the spinal cord can happen gradually after a rear-end collision. Swelling puts pressure on the spinal cord. If not treated fast enough, it can cause paralysis.
Similarly, inflammation in the tissue of the neck may take a few days to surface. Headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, and blurred vision are other delayed symptoms that can be the result of various neck and back injuries. No ailment is too small to report. Seemingly small symptoms could help your doctor discover a serious underlying problem.
Blunt force trauma can cause blood clots. Blood clots impact up to 600,000 people in the United States on an annual basis. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost half of the people who get them don’t experience symptoms.
Some of these blood clots affect the spine. They can block arteries that deliver blood to the spinal cord, which can cause spinal strokes.
Who is at-fault for a rear-end collision in Florida?
It’s natural to assume that the driver of the car in the back is liable for hitting the vehicle ahead. That’s not always necessarily the case.
For instance, a driver who has jutted out too far at a light might decide to reverse. If this driver hits the car behind while doing this, he or she will likely be liable.
Likewise, a driver whose brake lights fail or engine stalls could be the at-fault party if the other driver doesn’t have adequate time to come to a stop.
As Florida is a no-fault state, each party’s insurance company pays their own client’s expenses. However, injured parties can sue for damages when their injuries and property damage exceed insurance limits.
Do I need an attorney for a rear-end car accident?
Even at low speeds, rear-end collisions can result in back injuries. Whether you were in a serious rear-end accident or a less traumatic collision, you have a right to be compensated for your injuries.
The seasoned attorneys of The Eberst Law Firm have overseen countless rear-end collision cases. If you’ve been injured in an accident, speak to one of our rear-end collision lawyers. We will thoroughly evaluate the specifics of your particular accident and help you recover as much compensation as possible. For a free consultation, contact us online or at (352) 269-0017.
About the Author of this Page: The above information was written or reviewed by one of the attorneys at The Eberst Law Firm who have extensive experience trying legal cases outside and inside courtrooms throughout Florida. This article was also extensively researched to ensure that all information is accurate and up to date. If you want to know more about the author of this page, view our our attorney bios here.