Across the U.S., police responded to more than 6.4 million car accidents in 2017, and state data shows nearly 157,000 crashes occurred in Alabama. While these accidents were the result of a variety of influences and factors, yearly reports indicate that about one-third of two vehicle crashes are the result of a rear-end collision. These accidents, while not known for being as dangerous as other types of crashes, can result in injury and death.
Common Causes of Rear-end Crashes
Drivers are taught to leave ample distance between themselves and the car in front of them; however, when this doesn’t happen, the trailing driver will often cause a crash with the vehicle it’s following. This lack of space can be dangerous when coupled with other common factors, including:
- Speeding. According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, speeding is the number one contributing factor in fatal crashes. Drivers traveling too fast simply cannot stop or slow down fast enough to avoid an accident.
- Aggressive driving. A common behavior of aggressive driving is tailgating, which can increase the risk of a rear-end crash.
- Distracted driving. Drivers who are texting, talking on a cell phone, changing the radio, or adjusting a navigation system may not pay enough attention to traffic to stop appropriately.
- Impaired driving. Like distracted drivers, impaired drivers are not able to focus properly on the task of driving, often misjudging distances or simply failing to respond to traffic conditions.
- Bad weather. In poor weather, drivers should take care to travel more slowly and leave more distance than usual. When these adjustments are not made, a crash is more likely to occur.
Common Rear-end Car Accident Injuries
Although many rear-end crashes occur at low speeds, this doesn’t mean they are without risk. Drivers and passengers can suffer serious, long-lasting injuries, including:
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when a person experiences a sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement in the neck. The Mayo Clinic states that this injury is most commonly the result of a rear-end collision.
- Lacerations. Cuts from broken window glass can fall onto those inside and cause deep, painful injuries. Bleeding can also be life-threatening depending on the location and nature of the laceration.
- Broken bones. The impact of a crash can force the body against the steering wheel or other objects inside the car, resulting in a broken bone. In some cases, broken bones may require surgery or extensive care.
- Contusions. A contusion is a deep bruise that most commonly is caused by the seatbelt, as it applies pressure to keep drivers and passengers inside the vehicle during a crash. Unsecured objects can also strike those inside the car.
Determining Fault in a Rear-end Collision
It’s easy to assume that the trailing driver is at fault for a rear-end crash, and this is often the case. However, there are times when the lead car may be responsible for causing the accident. A driver with a broken taillight or brake light, for example, could bear some of the blame for a rear-end crash. It’s important to never assume anything about fault and take care to protect your rights at an accident scene. Those involved should:
- Call authorities to ensure there is an official record and report of the accident.
- Take photos of the damage to all vehicles involved.
- Take photos of the entire accident scene.
- Gather and retain information from the other driver, passengers, and witnesses.
Alabama is especially strict when it comes to fault after an accident. Under the state’s contributory negligence rules, a victim cannot recover any damages if he was even 1 percent responsible for a crash. So, the determination of fault is incredibly important. Damages in a personal injury claim can provide vital compensation for:
- Medical care
- Lost wages
- Future medical care
- Future lost wages
- Property damage/loss
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
An Experienced Alabama Injury Attorney Can Help
Ultimately, fault will be determined by a number of parties—the police, the insurance company, and even the court should a claim go to trial. The evidence gathered can be crucial in helping victims obtain the medical care and compensation they deserve. At Lattof & Lattof, PC, our legal team has helped hundreds of injury victims investigate and prepare a strong claim to obtain all the compensation available. Our lawyers know that a car accident, even a seemingly minor one, can leave victims and their families facing a painful and challenging time, and we are here to provide the compassion and legal knowledge you need. Call our Mobile office today, or take a moment to fill out the contact form on this page to get in touch with a member of our team. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we may be able to help.