The most common type of car accident, rear-end collisions are responsible for hundreds of thousands of injuries each year. Rear-end accidents aren’t always just mere “fender-benders,” especially when large vehicles like tractor-trailers are involved. They can cause very serious injuries that have a significant impact on the lives of victims and their families. At Moore Law Firm, our car accident attorneys understand the nuances of Alabama traffic law and how liability is determined in rear-end accidents. We fight to help injured victims collect maximum compensation for their damages.
Causes Of Rear-End Collisions
Although drivers are supposed to maintain a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of them, rear-end collisions happen all too often. In fact, they make up about 40% of all traffic accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Some common causes of rear-end accidents include:
Tailgating – Driving too close to the car in front of you is tailgating. Ideally, drivers should follow the two-second rule, which means they should stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle that is directly in front of them. When driving in heavy traffic, inclement weather or construction zones, maintaining an even greater distance from the vehicle in front of you can help prevent rear-end accidents.
Distracted driving – Taking your eyes away from the road for just a few seconds can lead to serious rear-end collisions. Texting while driving, fiddling with controls or GPS, talking on the phone, and dealing with kids or pets in the back seat are all forms of distracted driving.
Driver fatigue – Drowsy driving can cause a motorist to fall asleep at the wheel and easily crash into any cars or other objects in their path.
Driving under the influence – Alcohol and drugs slow a driver’s reaction time and interfere with their visual perception. Drunk drivers may not realize how close a vehicle is to them, especially when speeding.
Speeding – Excessive speeding puts everyone on the road in danger. Traffic can stop at any time for all kinds of reasons, and drivers who speed may not have time to stop before hitting the vehicle in front of them.
Sudden stops – Vehicles may suddenly come to a halt due to congested traffic, trucks entering the road in a construction zone, or a host of other reasons. Although most sudden stops aren’t intentional, if someone deliberately slams on their brakes in front of you they may be liable for any injuries caused in an accident resulting from their actions.
Mechanical failure – Damaged or bad brakes sometimes fail, causing not only rear-end collisions but catastrophic multi-car pileups.
Injuries Sustained In Rear-End Accidents
Neck injuries – Whiplash is one of the most common injuries sustained in rear-end collisions. The sudden movement caused by the impact of a rear-end crash causes the head and neck to whip forward and snapback. Even at slow speeds, the soft tissues, tendons, muscles, and ligaments of the neck and upper back can become strained, sprained, or torn. These types of injuries can cause chronic pain and significantly reduce your range of motion. Whiplash injuries can take months or even years to heal.
Back and spine injuries – When a rear-end accident occurs unexpectedly, occupants of a vehicle don’t have time to brace themselves. The force of impact can compress the spine, causing herniated discs, low back pain, and other injuries. In some crashes, the impact is so violent that the spine may be severed and a victim may become paralyzed.
Head and brain injuries – A rear-end crash doesn’t have to occur at high speed to cause serious head injuries like skull fracture, concussion, or traumatic brain injury. If the head strikes the windshield, windows or other hard surfaces in the vehicle, swelling of the brain and bleeding may occur. The severity of a brain injury may not be apparent for days or weeks to come.
Broken ribs – Airbags sometimes deploy with such force that they cause severely bruised or broken ribs. Ribs can also be cracked by the seatbelt or from being struck by something in the car.
Wrist, arm, and leg injuries – Often, when a driver or passenger realizes they’re going to be rear-ended, they may brace for impact with their arms and legs. Bracing your hands on the steering wheel or dashboard can cause serious wrist, arm, and shoulder injuries. The same goes for bracing your feet on the back of a seat or even on the floor in the front.
Facial lacerations, scarring, and disfigurement – Even when airbags deploy, occupants of a vehicle may hit the dashboard, windshield, or be struck by objects in the car. Broken facial bones and lacerations may be so severe they require reconstructive surgery. Dental injuries such as knocked-out teeth are traumatic, painful, and costly to treat. The psychological, emotional, and social effects of scarring and disfigurement can be life-changing.
Psychological injuries – Being involved in a serious rear-end collision can also have a lasting emotional and psychological impact. Injured victims may suffer from nightmares, insomnia, PTSD, anxiety, depression, or fear of driving or riding in a car. Although these types of injuries aren’t visible with the naked eye, they often diminish a person’s quality of life. These conditions may require long-term psychotherapy and in some cases, medication.
Recovering Compensation After A Rear-End Accident
Being hurt in a rear-end collision that could have been avoided can leave you feeling high and dry. You may wonder how you’ll pay your medical bills and feel frustrated about the physical and emotional pain you may be experiencing. Our car accident attorneys understand the devastating impact that a crash can have on families. We stand by your side every step of the way and provide the compassionate legal support you need to move on and heal. You may be entitled to recover compensation for:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Past and future medical and health care expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Future earning capacity
- Loss of enjoyment
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
- Wrongful death
Alabama Personal Injury Law
Alabama has a two-year deadline for filing a personal injury claim, so it’s vital to take action immediately following an injury. Alabama law also applies the contributory negligence rule, which means that if you were responsible for the accident in any way, you may not be entitled to any damages at all. If you have lost a loved one in a rear-end collision, you may be able to file a lawsuit for punitive damages. However, only the personal representative of your loved one’s estate can file this type of claim. Our car accident can help you understand your rights and aggressively fight to protect your interests.
Determining Liability In Rear-End Collision Claims
In most cases, liability for rear-end collisions is straightforward, but there are exceptions. If a motorist is hit from behind, there are some situations in which they may share some responsibility, including:
- The driver was “brake-checking” (slamming on the brakes for no reason)
- Suddenly putting a car in reverse
- Driving with a flat tire or mechanical problem instead of pulling over
- Failing to use hazard lights when your car is disabled on the road
- Broken or burned-out brake lights
Rear-end accidents must be thoroughly investigated to determine how the crash occurred and who was at fault. Our team at Moore Law Firm is well-versed in building strong rear-end collision cases that get results for our clients. The collection of our attorney fees is contingent upon whether we recover compensation in your case. This means that we don’t get paid unless or until you do.
Contact Our Mobile Car Accident Lawyers
Our team has helped thousands of injured victims in Alabama recover maximum compensation for injuries sustained in rear-end accidents. Contact us online or call Moore Law Firm at 251-445-7602 to schedule a consultation.