Rear-End Collisions and Resulting Neck and Back Injuries
Everyone knows that driving a motor vehicle comes with a certain amount of risk. Cars and trucks are fast and powerful, capable of causing death and serious personal injury when they collide with one another. Diligent drivers take steps to protect themselves by wearing seatbelts, obeying traffic laws, and constantly scanning their surroundings to identify and avoid danger. Some individuals even take driver’s education courses to improve driving skills and increase safety.
But no matter how carefully we drive, others who drive poorly can create dangerous situations from which we cannot escape. This is especially true with rear-end collisions. One might be sitting still at a traffic signal or driving slowly due to traffic conditions when they are suddenly struck from behind without warning. In this article, we will talk about rear-end collisions and some of the resulting injuries they cause.
How Common Are Rear-End Collisions?
According to Carwise, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has determined that 40 percent of the 6,000,000-plus yearly traffic accidents in America involve rear-end crashes. While some organizations estimate lower numbers, everyone agrees that rear-end collisions are prevalent and problematic. According to the National Safety Commission, a rear-end collision occurs every 8 seconds.
Not surprisingly, many of these accidents are caused by distracted drivers who are paying attention to something else (often text or email on a smartphone) and don’t even realize that traffic has stopped moving. Of course, other problems can cause rear-end accidents, such as faulty brakes, worn tires, and poor decision-making.
Rear-End Collisions and Personal Injuries
Certainly, rear-end crashes can cause injuries to all parts of the body, or even death. In this article, we’re focusing on neck and back injuries and how they are caused.
The first cause of neck and back injuries is through direct contact with the car or an object in the car. Sometimes, a head can strike a fixed object such as a steering wheel, dash, window, or windshield (with the worst cases resulting in wrongful death). In other cases, painful neck and back injuries can occur.
Moreover, neck and back injuries can result even when there is no actual contact to the head, neck, or back. The body can be subjected to forces and unnatural motions in the car, such as twisting and rapid movements. These movements can also be affected by natural physical forces, along with interactions with seat backs, headrests, and seat belts. The head and neck can move while the torso is restrained, damaging ligaments, muscles, vertebrae, and other body parts.
Types of Neck and Back Injuries That Can Result from Rear-End Collisions
Below are some of the injuries that rear-end collisions can cause:
- Herniated or ruptured discs
- Vertebrae fractures and injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Soft tissue injuries
In some cases, back and neck injuries resulting from rear-end collisions will heal and the injured person can lead a normal life. However, in many other cases, the pain and limitations resulting from these crashes can unfortunately last for a lifetime.
Sometimes, the specific injury is not immediately easy to detect. Special diagnostic tools, such as MRIs and CT scans, may be needed to diagnose the true extent of an injury resulting from a rear-end collision. Moreover, the symptoms suggesting the injury may not appear immediately following the accident. It can take as little as a few hours, up to months, or even longer than that. Therefore, it’s important to get checked out by a doctor following an accident.
Call with Questions
Suffering personal injury as a result of a rear-end collision is particularly frustrating. No matter how carefully one drives, when a negligent driver strikes us from behind, it is completely out of our control. At Nelson McNeil Rayfield, we believe that the only way to protect everyone in Oregon’s motoring public is to hold these negligent drivers accountable for their actions. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, our experienced personal injury attorneys will be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please call us.