According to the Mayo Clinic, neck and whiplash injuries are injuries that can result from a rear-end collision. Typically, occupants of the rear-ended vehicle experience a rapid back and forth motion of the head during impact, causing injury to the muscles and nerves in the neck.
Other possible injuries from being rear-ended include traumatic brain injuries (including concussions), fractured ribs, bruised lungs, and other conditions. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the United States.
Car Accident Injuries and How They Affect You
While a whiplash injury from a minor accident may merely cause a few weeks of neck stiffness and discomfort, serious whiplash can result in life-changing consequences for an accident victim. However, while whiplash is common, accident victims can also experience other painful injuries in rear-end collisions. Some other injuries in such crashes can include:
- Slipped discs and other back injuries
- Brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve injuries
- Internal organ injuries
- Internal hemorrhage
- Muscle and tendon injuries
The amount of pain you feel, the limitations on your physical activities, and the length of time it takes to recover vary from case to case and even from person to person. For example:
Whiplash Injury from a Rear-End Collision
Whiplash happens because the neck suddenly gets forcefully snapped forward then backward, like a whip cracking.
If you have a whiplash injury, you probably have a headache, and your neck is stiff and sore. Depending on the severity of the injury, you might experience significant pain. Most people start to see improvement within a few weeks or months after treatment for whiplash. Some people develop long-term neck pain and other problems.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Including Concussion from Accidents
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) affirms that motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). When a blow to the head interferes with the brain’s ability to perform its tasks, the person has suffered a TBI.
A TBI can range from mild to severe to fatal. A concussion is an example of a mild TBI. A severe TBI can cause loss of consciousness for days or longer and long-term impairment.
A Rear-End Collision Can Cause Fractured Ribs and Bruised Lungs
A rear-end collision can throw the driver into the steering wheel or the front seat passenger into the dashboard. The impact can cause broken ribs and pulmonary contusion (bruised lung).
The patient might need oxygen therapy and a ventilator to help them breathe while the lung heals, according to Merck Manual. Severe lung bruising can be fatal. Fractured ribs and lung injury can lead to:
- A collapsed lung
- Acute respiratory distress syndrome
People can sustain spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other injuries from being rear-ended. These accident injuries can lead to paralysis, disfigurement, and other impairments.
Rear-End Collisions Can Worsen Pre-Existing Health Conditions
The force of impact in a rear-end collision can exacerbate previously mild health conditions. For instance, a collision can turn a small twinge in your back into a debilitating condition. A bone that you broke years ago could break again.
Florida allows you to seek compensation if a collision caused your health to get worse. This is possible under the “eggshell” doctrine. Basically, if a collision caused you to get hurt, the other party must take you as they find you. This could make another party liable for injuries that another person might not have suffered.
No matter what type of injuries you sustained, you should not be financially responsible for them if someone else caused your accident.
Are Rear-End Accident Injuries Fatal?
As with any other type of car crash, rear-end collisions may be fatal for some, especially if:
- The accident occurred at a high rate of speed
- The vehicle that hit you was considerably larger and heavier than your own, causing more significant damage than a smaller vehicle would have
- The victim was elderly, in ill health, or otherwise vulnerable
If your loved one passed away as a result of their injury, a car accident lawyer can still help you recover compensation from the liable party. This may involve seeking a settlement from an insurance company or filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party.
Your Best Steps After a Rear-End Accident
Accidents are confusing and frightening events, so it is understandable if you are not quite sure what to do with yourself in the aftermath. Here are some steps that can help keep you safe and make it easier to recover compensation following a rear-end accident.
You Should Talk to the Police
Generally, it is best practice to call the police immediately after an accident and stay at the scene until they arrive to take statements. However, if you were seriously injured and need emergency medical care, it is okay to leave the scene and make an official statement once you are stabilized.
Filing a timely police report can help you if you decide to seek compensation for your injuries. It:
- Establishes that you were involved in the accident
- Connects your injuries with the accident, making it harder for an insurance company to blame another event for the injuries
- Is a source of evidence for your lawyer, who can use it to identify possible witnesses
- Makes it easier for the police to investigate the crash and hold the liable party accountable for their actions (if the liable party broke any laws)
You Should Seek Medical Help
You can’t truly know what injuries you suffered in a rear-end collision without visiting a healthcare provider. Through a physical examination and lab tests, you can learn more about your diagnosis and prognosis.
Your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Medications, such as painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy
- Bone-setting procedures
- Chiropractic care
- Immobilization techniques
- Diagnostic tests
- Follow-up care
If your condition is especially serious, your doctor may also recommend surgery.
It is important to note that injuries resulting from a rear-end collision are not always obvious right after the crash. When we suffer from shock in a car accident, our bodies may produce a large amount of adrenaline, reducing our ability to feel pain.
Therefore, you may not feel a thing immediately after an accident, only to wake up in agony a few days later. Some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury and whiplash, can take days to show any symptoms.
You Should Follow Through With Your Treatment Plan
Seeking medical attention is just one thing you should do following your rear-end collision. You should also adhere to your treatment plan. Not only does this better your condition, but it shows the insurance company that you’re committed to your recovery.
Do not be shy about going to see a doctor multiple times if you feel something is amiss. If you experience new and unusual symptoms in the days after a rear-end crash, make sure to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your doctor can rule out any serious conditions.
In addition, getting a medical report listing all your injuries from the rear-end crash can also provide you with excellent evidence of damages, should you later decide to hold an at-fault driver to account for any damages. Our lawyers can explain more about the benefits of post-accident medical care during your free case review.
You Should Consider Your Legal Options
Your next best step after seeking medical help can be to consult with a car accident lawyer. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), negligent or careless drivers cause most accidents. If this has happened to you, you could potentially sue the at-fault driver and receive compensation for your injuries and expenses.
Understanding the law and confronting a liable party on your own can cause you undue stress. A car accident lawyer would be happy to set you on the right path and fight hard for the compensation you need.
Compensation Available in Rear-End Collisions
The physical pain and emotional distress after suffering major injuries in a car accident can overshadow everything. However, the financial impact that typically follows can shock accident victims, particularly if they suffered from significant injuries that require hospitalization and comprehensive medical treatments. If another driver’s negligence caused your accident, they should compensate you for your injuries. A car accident lawyer can help clarify your legal options and help you file a lawsuit.
Depending on your specific claim, you could recover compensation for:
- Medical expenses for the ambulance, emergency room, hospital, diagnostic testing, surgery, doctors, and physical therapy
- Lost wages if you miss time from work without pay because of the accident and your injuries
- Diminished earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from making as much money as before
- Long-term care if you need daily assistance with medical treatments and personal tasks because of severe injuries
- Property damage to your car, to include the cost of repair, replacement, car rentals, and/or public transit
- Pain and suffering for the physical discomfort and emotional distress of the accident and the harm you suffered
- Total or partial disabilities if the injuries will never heal enough to allow you to regain the full range of motion and abilities you once had
- Other intangible losses like disfigurement and loss of enjoyment of life
In wrongful death cases, the victim’s surviving relatives can seek any or all of the above types of damages, if the deceased never recovered compensation on their own behalf. Survivors may also be eligible for:
- End-of-life expenses related to burying the deceased, planning a proper funeral, or settling the deceased’s estate
- Loss of financial support if you are having trouble making ends meet without the deceased’s income
- Loss of companionship if the deceased was an invaluable, irreplaceable source of advice and affection for you and their other surviving loved ones
We know that getting rear-ended can turn your life upside down. We want to help you rebuild your life.
Do not wait too long to start the claims process—there are time restrictions for personal injury lawsuits in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine are waiting to offer you a free consultation.
You Have a Limited Time to Pursue Damages via a Lawsuit
After getting hurt in a rear-end collision, you have multiple avenues for seeking compensation. You could file an insurance claim with the liable provider. However, if the insurance company refuses to acknowledge the full extent of your losses, you can file a lawsuit.
In this situation, you generally have four years from the date of your accident to file, per Florida Statutes § 95.11(3)(a). However, some circumstances could alter your filing deadline. For instance, if you didn’t discover your injuries until a later date, this could give you more time to file.
A lawsuit lets you recover things not generally covered by insurance claims, such as pain and suffering. Yet, if you don’t file your case within the allotted timeframe, you could lose the right to seek damages altogether.
You Can Partner With a Car Accident Lawyer Following Your Rear-End Collision
If you or a loved one suffered harm in a rear-end collision, you can partner with a lawyer to recover compensation. A car accident lawyer from our firm can pursue the funds you deserve by:
- Gathering evidence
- Consulting field specialists
- Calculating your losses
- Determining fault and liability
- Filing your insurance claim and other paperwork
- Managing all communications with all involved parties
- Negotiating with the insurance company
- Litigating your case
- Reviewing any settlement offers with you before you agree to anything
Your lawyer can do everything possible to resolve your rear-end collision case. As such, they may employ other measures than those listed here. They can also make themselves available to answer your questions about the case at all times.
Begin Your Free Case Review With the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine
If you or a loved one have sustained injuries from being rear-ended, call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today. We offer a free initial consultation, and there is no obligation. We go the extra mile for our clients.
We Can Help.