Odds are that you’ve been in a rear-end vehicle collision or will be at some point in your life. According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), these incidents make up 28% of all crashes and are the most frequently-occurring type of collision.
There are plenty of misconceptions and generalities out there when it comes to rear-end accidents. Below, we discuss three things you should know about them.
1. The Driver in the Back Is Usually At Fault, But Not Always.
It is every driver’s responsibility to leave a safe distance between themselves and the cars in front of them. Under California law, there is a presumption that if your vehicle is hit from behind, then that driver is responsible for the accident. However, there is an exception to this law that is known as a “rebuttable presumption.”
Essentially, this means that there has a debatable reason as to why it may not be the fault of the driver who was driving behind and hit the vehicle in front of them. For instance, if the driver in front slams their brakes for no reason at all in the middle of a busy road, it may not be the fault of the driver behind. However, if a driver brakes because of a car wreck or a road hazard, it is the other person’s fault for failing to leave enough room between the vehicles.
2. Distracted Driving Is the Leading Cause of Rear-End Collisions.
Here’s a pretty crazy statistic: nearly all of the 1.7 million rear-end collisions that occur on U.S. roads each year are completely avoidable. Distracted driving, be it from using a cell phone, changing a CD, talking to another passenger, or daydreaming, is the leading cause of rear-end collisions.
Traffic can literally change in the time it takes to look down at a cellphone and read a single sentence. By the time a driver looks up from reading a text, it’s oftentimes too late to break. Other causes of rear-end collisions include:
Drunk or impaired driving
Aggressive driving, such as tailgating
Hazardous road or weather conditions
3. Rear-End Accidents Can Lead to Serious Injuries.
While rear-end collisions are typically viewed as minor crashes, surprisingly severe or even fatal injuries can result. Rear-end crashes are notorious for causing injuries that take months or years to recover from. Some common injuries sustained in these collisions include:
Sprains or strains
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, it’s important that you see a doctor after the accident to get a proper diagnosis. You may very well be injury-free, but there’s also a good chance that your injuries have late-onset symptoms. If you fail to seek medical attention immediately and find out months later than you have back problems, the insurance company may deny your claim by stating there is insufficient evidence linking your injuries to the accident.
Whatever the situation of your car accident, please know that our legal team is here for you. At Fowler Helsel Vogt, our Fresno injury attorneys have been advocating on behalf of the injured since we opened our doors in 2010. We will review your case for free to determine the best course of legal action and fight on your behalf for maximum compensation.
Contact Fowler Helsel Vogt at (559) 900-1280 to get with a free, no-obligation consultation.