Southern California is renowned for its beautiful views. From the Los Angeles skyline to the beaches and shorelines, there’s always something to look at. Yet, too much looking around can put drivers at serious risk for one of the most common types of car accidents – rear-end collisions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 6.3 million police-reported crashes happen every year. The National Safety Commission estimates 40% of those crashes are rear-end collisions, making it the most common type of accident on today’s roads. Because these collisions are so common, and due to the serious injury risk they pose, the team at Neale & Fhima wants Southern California drivers to understand the facts about rear-end collisions.

What Causes Rear-End Collisions?

Rear-end collisions typically occur because a driver is following too closely behind the driver in front of them, which is also known as “tailgating.” However, this is just one cause. Some additional causes may include:

  • Distracted driving – If a driver is distracted by passengers, cell phone use or other activities, and the car in front stops suddenly, the driver is likely to miss the brake lights and hit the other vehicle.
  • Driving under the influence – Drugs and alcohol compromise a driver’s reflexes, making it difficult for a driver to stop on time or judge distances appropriately.
  • Visibility issues – Fog, bent signs or even hanging foliage can cause a driver to fail to see a stopped vehicle.
  • Sudden stops – Sometimes the driver that is hit is the one that contributes to the problem. Suddenly stopping for an animal or person crossing the road or because of construction work or an accident on the road can contribute to a rear-end collision.
  • Faulty brake lights – If the vehicle in front doesn’t have brake lights that work properly, then the driver behind has no way of knowing that the driver is slowing to stop until it’s too late.

What Injuries Can Rear-End Collisions Cause?

Rear-end collisions can cause several injuries. While occupants of both vehicles can sustain injuries, problems are more common for the vehicle at the front of the crash, because the driver and passengers don’t have the ability to prepare for the crash. Sometimes, additional cars are also affected, as the first vehicle struck is pushed into the vehicles in front of it, causing a multi-car accident. Regardless of the number of vehicles impacted, some of the most common injuries include:

Whiplash

When a vehicle is struck from the rear, it can cause significant trauma to passengers and the driver. A rear-end collision propels the vehicle forward quickly, but seat belts prevent the occupants from flying through the windshield with this sudden force. While this is good, because it prevents catastrophic injury, it can also cause the head to move forward violently, then snap back. This is whiplash, a condition that causes the neck and shoulders to become stiff. If left untreated, chronic neck pain and headaches are common.

Back Injuries

In addition to trauma to the head and neck, a rear-end collision can cause trauma to the spine. Stress on the spine and the disks during a crash leads to disk herniation. The ongoing pain and soreness can significantly impact quality of life and an individual’s ability to work after a crash.

Injuries to the Head and Face

If the crash causes the airbags to deploy, the vehicle’s occupants may experience injury to their face and head. While airbags can significantly reduce the risk of serious brain trauma and even death, they deploy at speeds of around 20 miles per hour, and this force can hurt your face, even breaking bones. If the windshield is damaged, flying debris also puts you at risk.

Arm and Hand Injuries

Drivers in rear-end collisions are at high risk of injury to their hands, wrists or fingers when the arms jerk forward onto the steering wheel or dash. Passengers can also experience similar injuries. Air bags that deploy can contribute to arm and hand injuries as well.

Determining Fault

In California, drivers have a legal duty to drive as safely as possible, with their attention on the road and the other vehicles. In the case of rear-end collisions, the fault is often with the driver who fails to pay attention and hits someone as a result. However, there are times when the driver in the front of the crash is at fault. That’s why it’s important to partner with a personal injury attorney who has experience with rear-end collisions when seeking compensation for your injuries.

At Neale & Fhima, we want to help make Orange County roads safer, and that means holding accountable those who are not paying attention as they should on the roads. Our attorneys are here to help you prove negligence in your case, so the at-fault driver is held accountable and you are justly compensated for your injuries.

Rear-end collisions are far too common, but we are here to help. To speak with one of our rear-end collision liability attorneys, call Neale & Fhima at 888-506-0899, or fill out the contact form below.