Injuries After a Rear-End Collision
A rear-end collision can be a jarring and even terrifying experience. While some accidents may only result in minor injuries, others can result in serious health problems and even death. No matter the nature of the crash, it is important to understand the types of injuries you may have sustained from a rear-end collision. Although some injuries may be obvious and immediate, others may take time to show up.
Injuries resulting from a car collision can often be overlooked or ignored. Even if you do not see immediate signs of injury, you should seek professional medical advice and care. An accident may not seem severe, but even low-speed collisions can cause serious injuries. Assessing your injuries is important not only for your health; it can also be key in determining any damages you may be owed if you intend to submit a claim with your insurance company or file a personal injury lawsuit. Below are types of injuries that may result from a rear-end collision.
One of the most common injuries occurring from a rear-end collision is whiplash. Whiplash is caused by the rapid movement of the neck back and forth, resulting in a muscle strain or sprain. Although symptoms of whiplash will usually subside within weeks, you may also experience chronic neck pain and other long-term complications.
Symptoms of whiplash should develop rather quickly but could take days after your accident to show up. They include pain or stiffness in the neck, headache, dizziness, fatigue, and even mental complications such as difficulty concentrating or retaining memories. If you experience severe neck pain, a limited range of motion, or numbness and tingling in your arms, you may be at risk for chronic pain. Additionally, if your crash happened at a very high speed, or you already had existing back or neck pain, you are more likely to experience long-lasting symptoms.
Spinal cord injuries
A spinal cord injury can produce different symptoms depending on the part of the spine affected as well as the severity of the injury. Some spinal cord injuries can have symptoms that initially feel like whiplash. While some spinal cord injuries lead to a loss of range of movement, others can cause conditions as serious as paralysis. Overall, you may experience a loss of sensation, loss of control over reflexes, spasms, sharp pain around the area of injury, and difficulty breathing. Spinal cord injuries are broken up into two categories: complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries cause paralysis below the affected point on the spine, whereas incomplete injuries include varying levels of movement and sensation. Other spinal cord injuries, such as herniated discs and bulging discs, result from damage to the rubbery discs between your vertebrae. When one of these discs slips out of place, it can touch a nearby nerve, causing numbness and pain.
It is important to note that certain spinal cord injury symptoms are more urgent than others. Emergency symptoms may include:
- Extreme pain in your back or neck
- Numbness or tingling in your limbs
- Loss of sensation and coordination
- Difficulty walking
- Trouble breathing
No matter the severity of your injury, it is important to seek medical care. Symptoms can take days or weeks to emerge, and if left untreated, can increase the gravity of your condition.
Broken or fractured bones
Your body may go through trauma during a rear-end collision that could lead to broken or fractured bones. Airbags, seatbelts, and other objects in your vehicle may collide with your body, causing a bone to break.
While some fractures may be obvious and cause immediate pain, others may fly under the radar. Be sure to pay attention to bruising, swelling, or sharp pain, all of which may indicate a broken bone. If not cared for properly, fractured bones can cause permanent damage to your body and reduce your mobility, so be sure to seek counselling from a medical professional.
Traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition which usually occurs from a harsh blow to the head. Depending on the severity of the crash, a traumatic brain injury could result from a rear-end accident. Airbags, head rests, and outside objects that penetrate brain tissue could all potentially lead to a brain injury.
Different symptoms may arise depending on the severity of a TBI. Symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of taste or smell
- Blurred vision
- Speech difficulties
- Changes in mood or depression
Symptoms of a moderate traumatic brain injury may include the symptoms listed above, as well as the following complications:
- Prolonged unconsciousness
- Convulsions or seizures
- Loss of coordination
- Fluid draining from nose or ears
- Inability to wake up from sleep
Even if you do not immediately experience the above symptoms, you may want to see a medical professional, as symptoms can sometimes take weeks to become evident.
Unfortunately, the worst rear-end accidents can sometimes be fatal to drivers and passengers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end crashes made up 7.1% of total car crash fatalities in 2019. Death may result immediately due to blunt force trauma or other fatal events during the crash. However, injuries such as a traumatic brain injury or a spinal cord injury could lead to a death in the days or weeks following an accident. Be sure to keep an eye on your symptoms following a rear-end collision, as it may save your life.
Psychological and emotional damages
A rear-end collision can be damaging to both your body and your mind. After your accident, you may be feeling scared and shaken, or experience a change in your mood. As previously mentioned, a traumatic brain injury can lead to mood changes or depression, so it is important to keep an eye on these symptoms.
Emotional turmoil may not always be caused by a physical injury, but rather by psychological damage. An accident is traumatizing enough, but on top of that, you may be dealing with costs to repair your vehicle, medical bills, or even the loss of a loved one.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, having an experienced and caring legal team on your side will make the process of obtaining financial support easier. Understand your legal rights by speaking with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. The team at Block O’Toole & Murphy is here to help; our attorneys offer free legal consultations to accident victims in New York and New Jersey. Dial 212-736-5300 or fill out our Contact Form to speak with a qualified rear-end collision attorney today.
Covering the Costs of a Rear-End Collision
Many people automatically think that the driver of the rear vehicle in a rear-end crash is the one at fault; however, there are actually multiple parties who could be liable. For example, if a driver reversed into the rear car or the driver in the foremost car was intoxicated when the crash occurred, the driver in the first car could be considered at fault. Additionally, if a commercial or municipal vehicle was involved in the rear-end crash, there are more parties who could be at fault aside from the driver, such as the company that owns the commercial vehicle, the company that maintains the vehicle, the government entity that owns the vehicle, or the company that manufactured it.
New York has a no-fault law which requires all New York motorists to have no-fault insurance coverage. This insurance covers the cost of expenses like lost wages and medical costs that often need to be paid for soon after the accident, and it will cover these costs regardless of who was at fault for the accident. This allows the injured victim to begin their recovery as soon as possible, as no-fault insurance will cover up to $50,000 of economic damages. Then, if the injured victim is able to file a personal injury lawsuit, the liable party may be responsible for compensating the injured victim for other damages, such as pain and suffering or loss of quality of life.
If you have been involved in a particularly serious rear-end collision, you may want to pursue legal action. Because New York is a no-fault state, insurance will cover up to $50,000 in personal injury damages no matter who is at fault in the accident. However, if you have experienced significant medical complications resulting from a rear-end collision, such as paralysis, disfigurement, or broken bones, pursuing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver may be in your best interest.
Skilled Litigation in Rear-End Accident Lawsuits
The lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy are known for winning some of the largest settlements for personal injury cases in New York and New Jersey, many of which are motor vehicle accidents. Our qualified attorneys fight to the end to ensure you receive the compensation you are legally owed after a car accident. Some of our most notable rear-end collision verdicts and settlements include:
- $9,263,326 verdict for a client involved in a multi-vehicle rear-end collision, leading to several injuries to his spine
- $8,000,000 jury verdict for a celebrity musician who sustained serious knee injuries, among others, in a rear-end collision
- $4,250,000 settlement for a technician who experienced severe pain in his back and leg, to the point where he could not continue working
- $4,100,000 verdict for client who suffered multiple herniated discs after being rear-ended in a multi-car accident
- $2,400,000 settlement for driver who was rear-ended by a commercial truck resulting in a herniated disc and other serious injuries
- $2,270,000 verdict for a passenger on a bus which rear-ended a tanker truck, resulting in injuries to both of her knees, her cervical spine, and lumbar spine
- $2,000,000 recovery for a security guard who sustained a herniated disc and severe back pain after being struck from behind by another vehicle
- $1,750,000 settlement for a client rear-ended at low speed by a school bus
- $1,500,000 settlement for a client who was rear-ended and suffered from a herniated disc in the lumbar spine and four other bulging discs
- $1,500,000 settlement for a taxi driver who experienced injuries to both his lumbar and cervical spine after a rear-end collision
- $1,410,000 settlement for a couple who was rear-ended and sustained multiple spinal cord injuries
- $1,350,000 settlement for a driver rear-ended by a truck, suffering multiple herniated discs