The most common type of accident is the rear end collision, according to the National Safety Council. There are more than 2.5 million rear end crashes on United States roads and highways every year. Of that number, an estimated 20% get whiplash, an injury to the cervical spine that can take a long time to hear and cause temporary disability. There are a lot of misconceptions about rear end accidents. Many people believe that the car in the back, the one that actually strikes the car in the front is the one at fault, under Arkansas law, this may not always be the case. It is good to have an understanding of the intricacies of the laws surrounding this type of accident and what you should do if you are involved in one.
What Causes Rear End Accidents?
There are many reasons why one vehicle might rear end another, but there are three primary reasons that make up much of causes for rear end accidents.
- Distracted Drivers – Texting while driving, talking to passengers, fiddling with the radio, and eating while driving are all examples of distracted driving. This is a growing, very serious problem in Arkansas. Experts say that the minimum amount of time that a driver takes their eyes off the road to read a text is 5 seconds. If they are traveling at 55 mph, they will travel the length of a football field in that 5 seconds. A lot can happen in that time.
- Weather – Arkansas has the typical southern weather – unpredictable. With sudden showers, ice, heavy rains, high winds, and snow, it can make the roads slick and visibility limited. Even a car traveling at a safe distance could slide and strike the car in front of it, or a driver with limited visibility such as bright sun or heavy rain, may not see the car in front of it stop.
- Following too Close – Drivers should keep a safe distance between them and the car in front of them. When follow too close, or “tailgate,” they don’t have adequate time to stop if the lead car stops suddenly. Following too close is cited by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as causing a third of all rear end accidents.
Sometimes mechanical failure may be a factor, such as the brakes failing, but that is actually quite rare. Most of the time, the cause is attributed to one or more of the primary factors. Each one can result in a different outcome.
Who is Liable in a Rear End Accident?
Many times, the driver of the rear vehicle, the one that struck the other vehicle, is the one at fault. Sometimes, though, the driver in the forward vehicle may be found at least partially at fault. If the driver in the first car was not operating it in a sound and safe manner, he or she could be cited for causing the accident or contributing to it. In the case where a car strikes another car and pushed it into a third car, causing a three-vehicle accident, the driver of the third car could be cited for causing the accident.
Types of Injuries Sustained in a Real End Collision
One of the most common injuries in a rear end collision is whiplash. Also known as neck strain or neck sprain, it is a soft tissue injury that occurs in the muscles and ligaments supporting the cervical spine. About two-thirds of people in car crashes get whiplash. It can even happen with low speed injuries. Other injuries associated with rear end collisions include seat belt burns or injuries, head injury, and injury to the knees and ankles. However, more severe injuries can occur, especially if the person is not wearing a seat belt.
Is it Important to Seek Medical Attention After a Rear End Crash?
After a rear end collision, it is important to seek medical attention. This both helps any potential legal case and helps identify any injuries that may not be readily apparent. Anyone in an accident, especially if they were stopped when hit from behind or hit at a high speed, should see a doctor but also remain watchful and report any unusual or troubling symptoms to their physician immediately.
If you have been involved in a rear end accident, you probably have a lot of questions. The experienced, knowledgeable attorneys at The Law Offices of Alan Levar can answer them. We will help you navigate the complex legal system so that you are fairly represented and you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 888-220-7068 or visit our website to learn more. Don’t wait; call today.