Rear-End Automobile Collisions
Rear-End Auto Crashes in Mississippi Can Have Serious Consequences
There are approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions on U.S. roadways every year, killing about 1,700 people and injuring another 500,000. While the majority of rear-end accidents are the fault of the driver in the rear, there are exceptions. The front driver may have unexpectedly slammed on the brakes to avoid hitting another vehicle, or even braked in a road rage situation. In some instances, drivers may be “hesitant” at intersections, braking before the light even turns yellow, and causing the driver behind to collide.
Depending on the level of traffic, one rear-end accident can result in a chain reaction of collisions, particularly in heavy freeway traffic. Or, two cars may be sitting at a red light, when a third car hits the second, pushing it into the first, and potentially even pushing the first car into the intersection of oncoming traffic. Multiple-car rear-end collisions can be the most complex, as the police attempt to unravel exactly who is at fault.
Can I be found to have been partially at-fault for my injuries caused by an accident?
Preventing Rear-End Auto Collisions
Rear-end accidents can be prevented if drivers take care to leave sufficient space between vehicles and refrain from tailgating. While few adults probably remember their driver’s education classes, there exists a rule of driving known as the “assured clear distance” rule. This rule requires drivers to maintain an assured clear distance between their vehicle and the vehicle in front.
Generally speaking, drivers should maintain one car length of distance for each ten miles per hour of speed. This means if a driver is traveling at 60 mph, there should be at least six car lengths between his or her car and the car directly in front. Bad weather or poor roadway conditions dictate an even longer distance between the car in front.
In September 2013, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released findings of a test program which would use sensors to detect—and provide a warning—when another vehicle gets too close. Many of these systems would automatically brake the vehicle if the driver does not. This type of technology could potentially prevent thousands of rear-end auto collisions.
Finally, avoiding distracted driving behaviors can ensure a driver doesn’t accidentally slam into another at an intersection. Cell phone use and texting should never occur while driving—even while stopped at an intersection. Eating while driving, looking at a GPS device, changing radio stations, turning around to see what the children are doing in the back seat, looking at something happening on the side of the road and even daydreaming can result in a serious rear-end accident.
A State Farm study released in late 2012 found that among drivers age 18-29, nearly half accessed the Internet from their phone while driving, and a bit more than a third read social media networks while driving. Nearly half of the drivers in this age group checked their e-mail while driving. Among other age groups, these behaviors still existed, but a bit less frequently.
Injuries Received from Mississippi Rear-End Auto Collisions
While the majority of rear-end auto accidents occur at lower speeds, the person who is rear-ended can receive very serious injuries. Despite the stigma attached to whiplash injuries, they are very real. The impact of a rear-end collision, even at low speeds, jolts the body forward, while the head stays stationary, then is “whipped” backwards, then forwards as the car comes to a stop. This violent motion and resulting injury to the neck and spine is known as whiplash.
Back and neck injuries of the soft tissue are common when a person is rear-ended and, in many cases, these injuries can cause serious, chronic pain, and even partial disability to the injured person. At least 5,000 cases of whiplash result each year from rear-end collisions. Even in less serious crashes, neck pain, sensory disturbances, shoulder pain, chronic headaches, vertigo, anxiety and depress can result.
Treatment for minor whiplash injuries may include physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs for the pain. In more serious rear-end accidents at higher rates of speed, fractures, brain trauma, facial disfigurement and even paralysis can result. Unfortunately, when it comes time for the injured victim to seek a settlement, the insurance companies may attempt to minimize the injuries associated with a rear-end collision, particularly whiplash injuries and other soft tissue injuries.
Whether you believe you have been seriously injured or not, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately, following a rear-end accident. In many instances, symptoms from a rear-end collision can manifest days or even weeks following the accident. Many people think they are fine because their system is flooded with adrenaline. When the adrenaline wears off, the injuries and pain may become apparent, so the best bet is to always be checked out at the ER or by a personal physician.
Who is at Fault in a Rear-End Crash?
As noted, driving while distracted is the number one cause of auto accidents overall, and in rear-end collisions as well. We are a nation of multi-taskers who go to great lengths to do more than drive when we are behind the wheel. Any distraction from the task at hand—driving—can result in an accident which happens in the blink of an eye. In most cases, rear-end collisions are the fault of the driver in the rear, however there are some cases in which a rear bumper is not constructed as safely as it should be in order to protect the passengers in the car which is struck from behind. Government standards for rear bumpers require only that they be able to absorb a low-speed collision without obvious damage.
As a result of these very weak standards, car manufacturers have largely designed rear bumpers for looks rather than safety, and this lack of safety precautions can lead to additional injuries. It is very important that you not admit fault at the scene of the accident, even to the point of refraining from saying “I’m sorry,” which can sound like an admission of fault. Let the police decide who was at fault, and when you speak to your insurance company or the insurance company of the other driver, state only the basics of the accident details until you have spoken to an experienced Mississippi auto accident attorney.
Legal Help for Those Injured in a Mississippi Rear-End Auto Collision
The attorneys from Stroud, Flechas & Dalton have compassion for those injured in a rear-end car collision. With our extensive auto accident experience and the impeccable reputation of our attorneys, we have the necessary knowledge to ensure our clients receive a fair settlement. We understand you have medical expenses, possibly lost wages, and pain and suffering as a result of your accident, and we will work aggressively on your behalf to help you recoup those losses. We will take care of the legal details while you heal from your injuries. Call Stroud, Flechas & Dalton today at (662) 536-5656 for a comprehensive evaluation of your rear-end collision accident.