Back and Neck Injuries from Rear-End Collisions

Florida has numerous roadway accidents annually. In fact, during the first nine months of 2018, 175,000 serious injuries were recorded according to Florida's Integrated Report Exchange System (FIRES). There is very little data providing definitive information pertaining only to rear-end collisions. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated in 2015, slightly more than one-third of roadway accidents were rear-end collisions.

It is Difficult to Avoid a Rear-End Collision

While none of us are expecting to be involved in a car accident, we are less prepared for a rear-end collision. If you see a vehicle approaching an intersection that you suspect may strike your car from the front or side, you have a few seconds to brace yourself. Typically, this is not the case in a rear-end collision. Chances are, you are not anticipating much, if any, activity from behind you, regardless of how carefully you are watching what is happening.

Rear-end collisions sometimes occur when you come to a stop at an intersection and the person behind you fails to stop. They may also occur when another driver fails to properly control their vehicle on wet roadways or when they are simply distracted and fail to keep a proper distance behind you. Regardless of the reason, you seldom have a chance to get out of the way of this type of an accident meaning your body is going to suffer as a result.

Rear End Collisions the Impact on Your Body 

  • Whiplash — common in rear-end collisions, whiplash occurs generally when your head is forced forward unexpectedly. In most cases, symptoms arise within 24 hours of an accident. According to Mayo Clinic, the symptoms are wide-ranging and may have long-lasting side effects.
  • Spinal Trauma — in more serious cases, a victim who has suffered a spinal trauma after a rear-end collision could need permanent, long-term care. John Hopkins Medicine estimates there are 12,000 new cases of spinal trauma annually, some of them resulting from auto accidents.
  • Head Injury — can range from a mild concussion to traumatic brain injury and can be debilitating. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, nearly 40 percent of all traumatic brain injuries are the result of a roadway accident.

Rear End Collisions and Fault

In nearly all cases, a rear end collision is the fault of the driver who struck you. This is because one must maintain complete control over their vehicle when they are on the roadways. Whether you stop quickly because a person unexpectedly entered the roadway, or you are one in a line of people impacted because an accident occurred behind you resulting in a chain accident, chances are the person who struck you will be responsible.

Since not every driver exercises proper caution on Florida roadways, the driver behind you may be distracted by a cell phone, GPS or other electronic device meaning they are not paying attention to your signals. This means you could be struck when changing lanes or approaching an intersection intending to make a turn.

Damage to Vehicle, Medical Bills, Time Lost From Work

Any accident on the roadway can lead to unexpected financial burdens. After any car accident you should be thoroughly examined by a physician to ensure you have not suffered a serious injury. Because your body suffered a trauma, your system will be flooded with adrenaline which can mask symptoms. In some instances, symptoms will not appear for 24 – 48 hours, and in some cases, could appear later.

For accidents which result in minor injuries, you may only have to see the doctor one or two times after an accident. However, in more serious rear-end collisions, you could suffer a long-term injury which may result in the need for rehabilitation, skilled nursing care, or surgical procedures.

In addition to the medical bills, you may also lose time from work. This can be costly and could lead to a financial hardship for your family. The person responsible for your injuries may be held liable for your financial damages. Keep in mind, the more serious your injury, the longer you may be unable to work. In some cases, such as in the case of a traumatic brain injury, you may not be able to return to work at all.

Finally, the damage to your vehicle after a rear-end collision may be minor, or your car may not be repairable. This means an added expense you are not expecting. You should not have to bear this burden.

Rear End Collisions and Florida's No Fault Insurance

Keep in mind, while Florida's no-fault insurance rules mean you should file a claim with your own insurance company, there are instances when you may be able to file a claim against the at-fault driver. This means your insurance company may pay your claim, but if your expenses exceed your upper coverage limits, you may file a personal injury lawsuit to recover additional damages.

There may also be other damages which you may be entitled to collect from the driver responsible for your injuries. In addition to your actual costs, they may be required to pay punitive damages, ongoing costs of medical care, and non-monetary damages such as for pain and suffering. The only way to determine if you can recover financially from a rear-end collision is to work with an attorney who has experience handling these types of accidents. You want someone who will review your case, understand the facts surrounding the accident, and inform you of your options.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

Many accident victims are unaware of their legal rights after an accident. Therefore, it is important to speak with an attorney who has experience with rear-end collisions as soon as practical after an accident. Working with a lawyer can help preserve your rights and ensure you are treated fairly. The right attorney will review your case and help you determine if a personal injury lawsuit may result in your getting compensation for your financial losses and other eligible damages.