Common Types of Injuries Experienced After A Rear-End Car Accident in Austin, TX
A study from the U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2019 found the most common injury-causing car accident involves a rear-end collision. Even low-speed rear-end collisions can cause injuries because of the violent motion that can cause various types of serious, long-term health issues.
Don’t let your rear-end collision injuries go untreated or uncompensated. Here is what you need to know about the common types of injuries experienced after a rear-end car accident in Austin, TX, and how you could receive significant compensation for those injuries and losses.
What Happens in a Rear-End Collision?
A rear-end collision is a car accident where a vehicle strikes another vehicle from behind. Almost all rear-end collisions occur when the trailing vehicle collides with the lead vehicle as it decelerates or stops. Some common causes of rear-end collisions include:
- Distracted driving: Failing to give the road full attention can slow down a driver’s recognition time. This can slow a driver’s reaction to another car’s brake lights.
- Aggressive driving: Risky maneuvers like cutting another driver off or following too closely can lead to rear-end collisions.
- Poor driving conditions: Slick roads and low visibility can reduce a driver’s ability to brake in time before causing an accident.
- Vehicle malfunction: A vehicle with bad brakes or bald tires might malfunction at the wrong time, leading to a rear-end collision.
- Impaired driving: Any time the person behind the wheel has had alcohol, medication, or another condition that impacts their ability to focus, there is an increased chance of an accident.
In most of these situations, the front vehicle cannot escape the collision because it is trapped by other vehicles, stop signs, or traffic lights.
Common Injuries in a Rear-End Collision
The impact of a rear-end collision pushes your body forward violently. Your head snaps backward before snapping forward as your vehicle comes to a stop after the crash.
Unfortunately, this means that airbags and seat belts are unable to protect you from injuries the way they would during a front-end crash. As a result, rear-end collisions can lead to injuries such as:
A common injury resulting from rear-end collisions is neck strain, also known as whiplash. This injury is characterized by neck pain, headaches, and stiffness or weakness in the neck. Severe whiplash can cause nerve injuries that cause pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms and shoulders.
The impact of a rear-end collision can place enormous stress on your back. These forces can fracture vertebrae, compress intervertebral discs, and strain back muscles. Broken bones and ruptured or herniated discs can cause back pain. Worse yet, they can create pressure on the spinal cord, leading to pain, weakness, numbness, or even paralysis in the torso and lower limbs.
Concussions occur when the brain strikes the inside of the skull. These injuries can lead to impaired brain function. Symptoms tend to include confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, and drowsiness. Concussion symptoms can last for weeks. Post-concussion syndrome can lead to long-term physical, behavioral, and mental changes.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Rear-End Collision Injuries
You should seek medical attention after a rear-end collision. Many of the injuries caused by rear-end collisions result in symptoms that can manifest long after the accident. For example, the full extent of injuries to the spinal cord or brain might not be felt for weeks or months. But an immediate diagnosis of your injuries can help you receive the treatment you need.
Doctors use a variety of tools to diagnose injuries resulting from vehicle accidents. X-rays can identify fractured vertebrae and other broken bones. CT scans can identify injuries to spinal discs and the brain.
However, doctors have very few tools to definitively diagnose injuries to the spinal cord and nerves. Instead, doctors often diagnose these injuries based on the symptoms presented.
Muscle strain, like whiplash, can often be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy to help the body heal itself. Other injuries, particularly neurological injuries, might never heal. As a result, a rear-end collision might produce lifelong symptoms and disabilities.
Liability for Rear-End Collisions
To receive compensation for any auto accident in Texas, you must prove who was at fault— also referred to as who was negligent—in causing the crash that resulted in your injuries.
To prove negligence requires you and your car accident lawyer to prove that:
- The driver acted irresponsibly and failed to uphold driving safety.
- The driver’s irresponsibility led to the rear-end collision.
- The rear-end collision caused your injuries.
For rear-end collisions, the driver in the rear vehicle is usually found to be negligent. If the driver of the trailing vehicle drove too fast, followed too closely, or failed to pay proper attention, the driver was probably negligent.
Negligence in Texas
Texas law recognizes a doctrine called “negligence per se.” Under this doctrine, a driver who broke a traffic law while causing an auto accident has acted negligently. This relieves the injured person of proving negligence. As a result, the injured person can establish liability by providing evidence of the injury and proving that the traffic violation caused it.
For example, suppose the driver in the trailing car is arrested for drunk driving. Everyone injured in the accident can use the negligence per se doctrine to generate a presumption that the driver was negligent. Under the doctrine, the plaintiffs would be pointing out that the driver was intoxicated in violation of Texas state law and, in turn, was negligent. Then it would be up to the tailing driver to disprove that to avoid liability for the crash.
On the other hand, rear-end collisions are occasionally caused by the driver in the leading car. For example, if a driver swerves into another vehicle’s lane without cause, that driver might have been responsible for causing the accident.
Compensation for a Rear-End Collision
Drivers and passengers injured in a rear-end collision can recover compensation for bodily injuries and property damage to their vehicles.
Some of the types of damages recoverable in a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished earning capacity
Drivers in Texas are required to maintain liability insurance, which means the at-fault driver’s insurance company will handle your claim. In most cases, you should consider hiring a personal injury attorney to document your claim, negotiate with the insurance company to try to settle the case, and file a lawsuit if a settlement is not possible.
Your Best Chance at Compensation with Lorenz & Lorenz, PLLC.
Regardless of the type of injuries you have suffered, how your accident happened, or what treatment you have received, you have a right to seek compensation if you were in a rear-end collision that someone else caused. Seeking that compensation isn’t always as easy as it seems, and you may find yourself looking for help.
Our team at Lorenz & Lorenz, PLLC is here to help the injured drivers of Texas get the legal support they need. When you work with a trusted, experienced car accident lawyer, you have your best chance at getting the settlement you deserve. Give us a call or fill out our online form to get started with a case review that is free and has no obligation. We’re on top of it!