Being involved in a car accident is not something to take lightly. In fact, even minor collisions can result in serious injuries. Further, rear-end impact crashes are notorious for causing back and neck problems to drivers and passengers.

Depending on the type of insurance have, treatment for these injuries can get expensive. But, you should know that you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills if someone was to blame for the accident. You may also be entitled to payment for lost wages, damage to your vehicle, and any pain and suffering you endured.

About Rear-End Collisions

Now, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions are the most common type of car accident. These account for roughly 29% of all crashes, and typically involve the vehicle in front being either stopped or moving slowly.

The reason the vehicle might not be moving at full speed could be because there is traffic ahead or the driver may be preparing to turn. With that in mind, most accidents occur because the driver of the car in the back is distracted and fails to see the vehicle ahead slowing down or stopping.

Examples of the most common types of distracted driving that lead to accidents are:

  • Texting
  • Operating a GPS device
  • Looking to the side of the road
  • Eating
  • Drug or alcohol use, and
  • Fatigue.

Also, bear in mind that the vast majority of crashes result from a driver following too closely to another vehicle. For this reason, it’s always best to drive defensively and not tailgate.

Neck Injuries Following a Rear-End Collision

That said, 85% of neck injuries that are caused by car accidents are the result of rear-end collisions. This type of trauma can occur even in minor “fender benders,” where a vehicle is traveling at a relatively low speed at the time of impact.

Now, the most common car accident-related neck injury is whiplash. This is caused by a forceful back and forth movement of the neck, producing a range of symptoms including:

  • Neck pain
  • Stiffness
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Numbness and tingling in the arms
  • Fatigue, and
  • Dizziness.

Note that there also more serious symptoms associated with whiplash that include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty concentrating, and
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears).

Keep in mind that symptoms of whiplash may not show up right away, and can take 24 hours or more to manifest after the accident. Typically, these issues heal on their own in a few weeks with pain medication and proper exercise. However, some victims do suffer chronic neck pain and other long-term complications.

Likewise, certain types of people are more susceptible to complications related to whiplash. These include the elderly and those with prior neck or back injuries.

Back Injuries Following a Rear-End Collision

As you might imagine, back injuries are also common in rear-end collisions. This can result in minor to extreme pain and, in some cases, be debilitating and permanent. The types of back trauma that we typically see are:

Herniated disks or slipped disks: this occurs when discs that provide cushioning between the vertebrae shift out of place, causing pain and numbness.

Spinal fractures: this results in the vertebra being cracked. If the fracture shifts or places pressure on the spinal column it leads to spondylolisthesis. This condition can result in pain, numbness, loss of mobility, and other bodily issues like bladder control problems.

Spinal cord injuries: involves damage to the spinal cord or the system of nerves that run up the spinal column. In serious cases, the spinal cord is severed which may cause partial and/or permanent paralysis.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Back Injuries

Like neck injuries, the symptoms related to back trauma may not manifest immediately. However, these types of injuries are serious and require immediate diagnosis and treatment. Signs of a back injury that you should be are of include: back pain, numbness, headaches, and stiffness. Note that these symptoms can be either temporary or permanent.

Now, when you seek treatment from a medical provider, they will confirm your diagnosis with the use of x-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and bone scans. This is important because failing to receive the appropriate care can result in debilitating conditions.

Treatment for car accident-related back injuries often includes:

  • Wearing a brace
  • Undergoing physical therapy
  • Taking inflammatory medication, and/or
  • Receiving chiropractic care.

Pain management typically includes medication, heating pads, and ice packs. In serious cases, your condition may require surgery. It’s important to discuss your case with a lawyer. You might be able to hold someone responsible for these and other costs.