Rear-end collisions are often referred to as minor “fender-benders” but are one of the most commonly occurring types of car accidents in the U.S. Unfortunately, rear-end crashes, which occur when a stationary vehicle is struck by another vehicle from behind, are also notorious for resulting in severe injuries. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that rear-end crashes are responsible for as many as 30 percent of all serious car accident-related injuries. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, rear-end collisions result in around 1,700 fatalities each year. Another 500,000 people are injured every year. It is, however, possible for accident victims to recover compensation for their losses from the at-fault parties who caused their crash, so if you were hurt in a rear-end accident, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Miami personal injury lawyer for help with your claim.
Common Injuries Sustained in Rear-End Collisions
One of the most common injuries sustained by rear-end accident victims is whiplash, which occurs when a sudden impact causes the muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the neck, and upper back to violently stretch and contract. This motion can tear the tendons in the back and upper shoulders. It can also pinch nerves in the same areas. This type of injury is especially common amongst motorists who are struck from behind, with the head naturally jerking forward and backward upon impact. Although whiplash usually heals within a few weeks, in severe cases it can cause chronic neck pain and restricted range of motion for months or even years to come.
Common symptoms of whiplash typically develop within a few days of the accident and include a wide range of problems, such as:
- Neck stiffness
- Shoulder pain
- Loss of range of motion in the neck
- Headaches at the base of the skull
- Weakness or numbness in a limb
- Concentration problems
- Sleep impairment
It might take a day or two for symptoms to develop, so closely monitor how you feel after a rear-end crash.
Accident victims who recognize any of these symptoms after a rear-end accident should be sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as obtaining a prompt and accurate diagnosis can make all the difference in limiting the damage.
While most whiplash accident victims recover within a few weeks and don’t report lasting effects from their injuries, others may continue to experience pain for months or even years after the accident. It’s extremely difficult to predict how an accident victim with whiplash will recover, but individuals with certain characteristics may be more likely to suffer from chronic pain, including those whose first symptoms were intense, as well as individuals who have suffered from whiplash before, are elderly, have existing back or neck pain, or were involved in a high-speed collision.
In between your vertebrae are rubbery pads that provide cushion. With a rear-end collision, these discs can become displaced or rupture. The soft inner substance can extrude from the disc, pressing against the spinal cord or other nerves and leaving victims in constant pain. These injuries are often called “herniated discs.” For treatment, you might need surgery or physical rehabilitation.
A motorist can fracture the bones in his or her hands, arms, feet, or legs. Some very bad rear-end collisions can also lead to rib fractures, which can have devastating complications such as pneumonia. If the person was not wearing a seatbelt, then the injuries are usually much worse.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Any shaking motion can impair the way the brain functions. A concussion is a common injury in rear-end crashes. Concussions are a relatively mild form of TBI, but they can impair mobility, speech, mood, memory, and cognitive function. Motorists must take concussions seriously and go to the hospital. Usually, treatment is conservative and focuses on the symptoms. A mild concussion can clear in several weeks, but more serious ones could leave motorists permanently disabled.
Involved in a Rear-End Collision? We’ve Got Your Back
Neck and back injuries can be severe, leading to chronic pain and other long-lasting issues. If you were hurt in a rear-end collision through no fault of your own, please call the dedicated Miami personal injury lawyers at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum, LLP to learn more about your legal options. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to address your questions and concerns. Call our office at 305-371-2692, or send us an online message to set up an initial consultation today.