According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), rear-end accidents account for about 29 percent of all accidents in the United States. Unfortunately, most of these crashes (a staggering 87 percent, according to the NHTSA) occur because of distracted driving.
For accident victims, the consequences of these accidents can be devastating, resulting in injuries, disability, and even death. The costs associated with these damages and the pain and suffering they often come with can be a substantial burden for victims.
The types of injuries generally seen in rear-end accidents – including neck, back, head and brain, and facial injuries – can require intensive, long-term treatment. In some cases, these injuries can permanently impact a victim’s life.
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, it is important to speak to a car accident attorney as soon as possible. Contact Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop if you or a loved one sustained any of the following injuries when you were rear-ended:
One of the most dangerous factors in rear-end collisions is that the driver in front usually does not expect to be hit. They have no opportunity to brace themselves against the impact.
As a result, even if a collision does not occur at a high speed, the driver can be thrown forward and then pulled back by their seatbelt. This can result in whiplash, as well as a host of other, more serious injuries to the neck.
Neck pain after a rear-end accident – whether immediately after the crash or in the subsequent days – should always be taken seriously. Disc injuries and cervical fractures can lead to chronic pain and neurological impairments.
Back injuries are also common in rear-end accidents, and they can be devastating. Some back injuries, such as disc herniation, can result in immense pain. Healing from a herniated disc may require ongoing therapy and/or surgical repair.
Even worse are spinal cord injuries, which occur when nerves in the spine are damaged or severed. Victims of spinal cord injuries may experience chronic pain, mobility difficulties, and loss of sensation. In serious cases, a spinal cord injury can result in paralysis.
Head and Brain Injuries
The backward-and-forward motion drivers experience when they are rear-ended can injure the brain. Trauma to the brain may also occur as a result of the head striking the steering wheel or another object in the course of the accident.
Regardless of how they occur, traumatic brain injuries are serious. Even mild cases (i.e., a concussion) can result in symptoms such as:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Problems with speech
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious
Possible symptoms in more serious brain injury cases include:
- Convulsions or seizures
- Loss of coordination
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Slurred speech
Brain injuries require specialized medical treatment. Patients must often undergo years of therapy and rehabilitation before they can regain a semblance of their prior life. Unfortunately, in many cases traumatic brain injuries result in permanent physical and cognitive impairments.
Facial injuries, including lacerations and broken bones in the face, may not directly affect your brain, but they can cause a great deal of pain and require extensive medical treatment to repair. They can also lead to scarring and disfigurement.
Injuries to the face have a strong psychological component. Victims may feel shame, embarrassment, and humiliation, all of which can negatively affect quality of life.
While airbags and seat belts are crucial safety devices that save lives, they can also cause injuries in the process. Airbags expand quickly and with a great deal of force. When this force is directed at your face or chest, it can break bones.
A seatbelt can also break bones in your chest, especially when you are forcefully hit from behind. The collision briefly forces your body forward while the seatbelt’s job is to keep you in place. This tension, unfortunately, is often absorbed by the driver, who may suffer multiple fractures from the impact.
Contact a Lawyer If You Were Rear-Ended
What many of these injuries have in common is that they are expensive and often difficult to treat. They can take months or years to heal, and full recovery is not always possible. Victims are often forced to endure enormous pain and suffering both in the immediate aftermath of the accident and in the course of their recovery.
Generally, the driver in the back of a rear-end accident is at fault for the crash. However, this does not mean that fair compensation is guaranteed.
The car accident lawyers at Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop can help you protect your rights after a rear-end accident. Our attorneys have more than 233 years of combined experience representing accident victims. We can build a strong claim on your behalf, negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company, and – if necessary – take your case to court.
Please call Hauptman, O’Brien, Wolf & Lathrop at (402) 241-5020 today for a free consultation. Our accident lawyers serve clients in Omaha, Sarpy County, and all of Nebraska and Iowa.