Almost 40% of all car accidents involve getting hit in the rear. The National Highway Traffic Safety Board believes that more than 2 1/2 million rear-end car wrecks happen in the United States each year.
In Houston, traffic congestion has exacerbated the problem of rear-end car accidents. Additionally, cell phones have proven a significant factor in many Houston car accidents and across the state of Texas. Police officers now will inquire as to cell phone use in the routine investigation of an automobile accident.
Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Generally, a rear-end car accident merely occurs because the driver in the rear was not paying sufficient attention to the traffic ahead. Other common causes of crashes in the back include:
• Distracted driving
• failure to maintain an assured clear distance
• heavy traffic conditions and tailgating
• poor weather
• fatigued driving
• drunk driving
Technology Can Help
New technology is available on some new cars and trucks that automatically applied the brakes if a crash is going to happen. The forward collision avoidance systems are highly recommended and advocated by the national transportation safety board. The board found that the deployment of “forward collision avoidance systems” into passenger vehicles and even tractor-trailers would considerably reduce the frequency and severity of rear-end crashes.
Common Injuries from Rear-End Crashes
By far, a neck injury is the most common injury suffered after getting hit from the rear. The impact forces the head and neck forward and then backward in a fraction of a second. The whipping of the head and neck can damage not only the tissues holding the spine in place but also more severe injuries such as a herniated disc.
The extent of a neck injury often is not known immediately after the accident. Typically, at the emergency room, only x-rays are obtained. X-rays are used by the emergency rooms to determine whether or not a fracture occurred.
Most of the neck injuries from car accidents are known as soft tissue injuries where the muscles and tissues are damaged. Tissue injury includes physical therapy that can be administered by either a chiropractor or a therapy clinic.
The more serious disc issues are usually not diagnosed immediately but are discovered only upon obtaining a test such as a CT scan or an MRI. Doctors and hospitals are reluctant to order these more expensive tests unless the symptoms do not start to abate after a few weeks.
Car accidents that happen at high speeds can lead to fractures of various parts of the body. The higher the disparity of speed at impact, the more likely there are going to be broken bones. The most common car wreck fractures are:
• Hands and feet
• spinal cord
Closed head injury often happens after a rewritten car accident. A head injury can be a severe and even fatal condition, and anyone suspecting a head injury should seek medical attention.
Indications of a head injury after an accident includes:
• loss of consciousness
• dizziness or unsteadiness
• memory lapse
• speech issues
• changes in personality
Typically, neurologists treat head injury victims.
Steps to Take if You are in a Rear-End Crash
People ask “what should I do after a rear-end collision“? First and foremost, you should seek prompt medical attention for injury in an accident. We also recommend that you call the police to investigate the crash. See our article Rear-end crashes in Houston, what you need to know.
If possible take photographs of the vehicles in their resting positions. Also, obtaining the contact information of any witnesses to the accident can be helpful. Many people rely on the police to obtain this information, and somehow it does not get recorded in the official report.
Contact your own insurance company to let them know about the accident and find out if you have coverage that may be helpful such as personal injury protection or UIM coverage.
After you have sought medical treatment at the emergency room, you may wish to locate an attorney by googling an auto accident attorney near me. Although we recommend you research the attorney you are considering before you hire that attorney. Generally, the more severe your injuries, the more important your choice of lawyer.