In 2017, over 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes according to the National Safety Council. While that number accounts for a 1% decrease from 2016, unfortunately, it is not an indicator of progress but more of a leveling off of the highest two-year increase in motor vehicle-related deaths in over 50 years.
Most car accidents are rear-end crashes; they account for roughly 30 percent of all crashes that occur in the country every year. While any type of car accident is dangerous, the reality is that most rear-end incidents result in minimal damage to your vehicle. While the damage to your vehicle may be minor, rear-end crashes can still cause major injuries, some of which aren’t visible and may not present in severe ways. Even a 30 mile-per-hour rear-end crash can cause serious injury. An accident at that speed is equal to over 1 and a half tons of force on a 160-pound person wearing a seatbelt. Without a seatbelt, the amount of force generated by the crash goes up to 12 tons. That type of force can have potentially devastating results on the body.
Two Most Common Types of Injuries Sustained in a Rear-End Crash
Soft Tissue Injuries
When a car unexpectedly rams into the rear of your car, even at low speeds, the sudden snapping of your head forward and back, and extreme jolting of the body (commonly referred to as whiplash) can place unusual pressure on your spine. This can cause extension injuries to the soft tissue of the spine.
Because of the adrenaline rushing through your body immediately after a car accident, you may not experience symptoms right away. In fact, some victims don’t realize they have this injury for weeks following an accident. Once you are calm again you may start to experience pain between the shoulder blades or neck, headaches, dizziness, and sometimes even vision impairment. Because these injuries can cause very painful symptoms, experts recommend seeking medical help as soon as symptoms begin.
Herniation occurs when the outer fiber surrounding a disk becomes torn, usually due to trauma. In serious cases, an accident victim may experience severe back pain, numbness, tingling, and, in some cases, paralysis. If the injury is less severe, the accident victim may experience little to no symptoms. Sometimes symptoms can be misidentified, with the car accident victim experiencing pain in their knees, legs and even feet not realizing they are back-related.
Most Common Causes of Rear-End Car Crashes
- Distracted driving (mostly attributed to cell phone use)
- Inclement Weather Conditions (snow, black ice, heavy rain)
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Road rage
- Heavy traffic
- Mechanical failure
- Driving Drowsy
Distracted driving is now being described as an epidemic. Data shows that 96% of all drivers used their phones at least once over a 30 day period while operating their vehicles. For every 11 miles driven, the average driver is on the phone for 0.4 miles. While we are more distracted than ever, our vehicles are becoming safer every year. Automakers are constantly developing and implementing new technologies to reduce collisions and bolster safety. More vehicles on the road have Advanced Safety Systems. These systems include:
- Automatic Emergency Braking
- Back Up Cameras
- Auto Steering
- Lane Departure Warnings
- LED Headlights
If you’ve been rear-ended, follow these important steps:
- Move to a safe area
- Stop your vehicle and get out
- Check on others involved
- Call the police
- Gather and exchange the following information with all parties involved:
- Driver and passenger names
- License plate numbers
- Insurance info
- Makes and models of all vehicles involved
- Contact info for any eyewitnesses
- Location of the accident
- The name and badge number of any responding police officers
If you have a smartphone with a camera, snap some photos of the accident scene. They’ll come in handy during the claim process. It’s also a good idea to write down the road and weather conditions.
Note that you must never leave the scene of an accident until you have properly identified yourself and provided your registration information. Leaving the scene of an accident is against the law and carries potential criminal penalties.
Chelsea, Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers Here To Help You
With offices in Chelsea and Salem, MA, Spada Law Group provides Boston quality legal representation without the commute into the city with free on-premises or validated parking. We are here to answer any questions you may have. Call Spada Law Group today at 617-889-5000 to discuss your situation. The consultation is free and there is absolutely no obligation to hire us. We are open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm.