Rear-end collisions frequently happen at slow speeds, and they get the nickname “fender-benders” due to the relatively minor property damage that sometimes results. However, not all so-called fender-benders are minor crashes, as vehicle occupants can still suffer serious injuries. Do not let common misconceptions about lower speed rear-end accidents prevent you from seeking the medical treatment and compensation you deserve.
Just because there is not extensive property damage in a rear-end crash does not mean that the impact did not cause injuries. When someone hits the back of your car, you might not know the impact is coming, and it can send a jolt through your body. We have also seen situations where our clients anticipated the collision, tensing up prior to impact, causing injuries. In many cases, the airbag might deploy, or you might even then be sent crashing into the vehicle in front of you. All of this can cause a range of injuries, and the following are common in rear-end crashes.
Whiplash – Whiplash occurs when a sudden jolt of your head – forward and back – stretches the soft tissue in your neck. This can result in strains, sprains, or tears that can be extremely painful. Whiplash injuries can cause a restricted range of motion of your head and pain in your shoulders and arms, as well as in the neck itself. Whiplash should be properly diagnosed and generally requires a course of physical therapy to heal.
Concussion – A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), and it can be caused by either direct trauma to the head or a jolt of the head that effectively “rattles” your brain. In a rear-end accident, you might hit your head on the steering wheel, the back of your seat, or other interior parts of the car. The impact itself can also jolt you hard enough to result in a concussion. Concussions have a variety of symptoms, such as:
Often, many people mistake concussion symptoms for “normal” shock or disorientation after an accident. If you are feeling out of the ordinary after a crash, you should always get checked out by a medical professional in case you have a concussion. Concussions often require a period of physical and mental rest while they heal, which means you might need to miss work.
Back injuries – The impact of a rear-end collision can also affect your back and spine. Many people sustain soft tissue injuries or disc injuries that can lead to long-term problems. A healthy back is essential to conducting everyday tasks and movement, and back injuries can keep you out of work while you finish your physical therapy.
Contusions, abrasions, and lacerations – When you are hit from behind, the safety features of your vehicle might actually cause you harm. Seatbelts often dig into a person’s chest or neck, causing serious bruising or lacerations. The deployment of an airbag is forceful, and can cause injuries to your arms, neck, and face. These injuries should not be discounted.
Injuries can result in many losses, including medical bills, lost income from missed work, pain and suffering, and more. After a fender-bender, can you recover for these losses? The answer depends on what caused the crash to occur. If another driver caused the accident, you can file a claim with their insurance to seek compensation for your losses.
The rear driver is generally presumed to be at fault in this type of crash. The law requires drivers to follow at a safe distance that will allow them to stop in time to prevent a collision. When a driver cannot stop, they are presumed to have been following too closely. If another factor or driver caused the crash, the rear driver will need to provide proof of that cause.
If you were the front driver – or another driver caused you to hit a car – you should speak to an experienced Tulsa car accident attorney right away.
The legal team at Wandres Law, P.C., represents clients injured in all types of traffic accidents, including “fender-benders.” If you suffered injuries, you should not hesitate to discuss your rights with our team. Contact us online or call (918) 641-4044 for more information about your options.