Whether they happen on busy town streets or rural roads, rear-end crashes are unfortunately all too common. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, they’re the leading cause of accidents involving more than one vehicle, accounting for 32.5 percent of crashes. And while they are not the leading cause of fatal accidents (angle and head-on strikes account for more deaths), there are still thousands injured each year in rear-end crashes.
So why are these types of crashes so common, and what should you do if you’re rear-ended by another driver?
Common causes of rear-end accidents
From a negligence perspective, rear-end crashes are often fairly cut and dried, unless there are multiple vehicles involved. The rear driver is almost always considered at fault. Common reasons for rear-end crashes include:
- Distracted driving: The rear driver texts or checks social media, switches focus to the GPS or navigation console, eats or even simply talks to other passengers. Whatever the reason, the driver shifts attention from the road onto something else, failing to react when the lead car stops or slows.
- Following too closely: If the rear driver is tailgating, there may not be enough time to stop. A safe following distance becomes harder to judge when it’s dark or raining.
- Speeding: Again, if the rear driver is traveling at unsafe speeds, it may be impossible to slow down in time to avoid striking the lead driver.
It is rare for the lead driver to be considered at fault. Typically this would result from the lead driver backing into the car behind them or some other extremely abnormal action by the lead driver.
In a chain reaction crash, several cars will be involved in rear-end collisions. Some may be able to brake in time to avoid a crash only to be hit and pushed into the car in front of them. Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, it’s possible in some cases to be held partly at fault and still seek damages from the other at-fault drivers.
What should you do after a rear-end accident?
While fault may be simpler to determine in some rear-end accidents than in other types of crashes, insurance companies often push back on claims or contest the seriousness of injuries.
That’s because it is often hard to quickly judge the severity of common rear-end accident injuries, including whiplash, back injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Often, they take weeks or months of physical therapy to either heal or determine if surgery is appropriate.
After a crash, it’s critical to see a doctor as soon as possible. Many people with neck or back discomfort put off this step, hoping the pain will go away on its own after a few days. Instead, the injury only worsens. With soft tissue injuries, it’s often necessary to see a specialist, not just visit the emergency room. Patients often need complex imaging from professionals with a thorough understanding of the neck and back.
Aside from the medical necessity of seeking treatment, it will also increase the likelihood of a successful claim. Insurance companies look for delays in treatment, trying to argue that the injury wasn’t really that bad, or that the person was injured after the crash. Medical records from a specialist will help demonstrate the extent of the injuries and their cause.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney at The King Firm
If you’ve been rear-ended, we can help you get the compensation you deserve. At The King Firm, our team has the experience and knowledge necessary to pursue the best possible results for your case. Contact us today at 229-515-8585 for a free case consultation.