Getting into a car accident is stressful. If it’s a serious crash, you’ll worry about your health or the health of an injured loved one. On top of that, there are damages to your car, absence from work, and lawsuits to consider.
If the accident is a relatively minor one, you’ll probably still have to deal with cosmetic repairs to your car, soreness, chronic pain, or regular trips to the chiropractor. But not all car accidents are created equal. Getting T-boned is not the same as getting rear-ended or being involved in a head-on collision. The types of injuries sustained can vary greatly, as well as the presumption of who is responsible for the accident.
Rear End Collision Injuries
First, let’s start with the basics: Florida law requires all drivers to keep a safe distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them. To be fair, what you think is a safe distance may vary from what someone else deems to be a safe distance. However, you know when someone is tailgating you or when you’re doing it to another driver. Florida statutes simply define a safe distance to mean a span that is reasonable and prudent.
The term “reasonable and prudent” means that a driver must leave enough distance to allow time to react if the car in front of them significantly reduces their speed or slams on the brakes. If a driver fails to leave enough space between vehicles and rear-ends the car in front of them, there is a rebuttable presumption that the person who rear-ended the other vehicle is at fault for the accident.
Common Injuries from Rear-End Collisions
Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, there are several types of injuries that are common in rear-end collisions. These include:
- Whiplash. Whiplash is a neck injury that occurs when the head suddenly moves backward, then forward, as is the case in rear-end collisions. The abrupt force can cause muscles and tendons around the neck and shoulders to stretch or tear, resulting in pain, tenderness, stiffness, decreased range of motion, and headaches.
- Concussion. When a person is exposed to forceful trauma, the brain can move back and forth inside the skull. This can cause chemical imbalances in the brain, as well as nerve, cell, and tissue damage. Depending on the severity of the accident, the person may feel dizzy, confused, or lose consciousness immediately after the incident. However, sometimes, symptoms can take days to appear. They include headaches, blurred vision, slurred speech, behavioral changes, and nausea, among others.
- Spine injuries. The first few vertebrae at the top of the spine are called cervical vertebrae. They are responsible for head movement and often become misaligned when a person experiences whiplash. This results in back and shoulder pain.
- Herniated discs. Between each vertebra, there are jelly-like discs that serve as cushions between these bones. Getting rear-ended can cause some of these discs to slide out of place or rupture. Either scenario places undue stress on the spinal cord, resulting in back pain.
- Paralysis. This is, by far, the most serious common injury associated with rear-end collisions. The reason it occurs often in this type of car accident is because most injuries are typically directed to the spine or spinal cord. Paralysis can be partial or full, and it can be temporary or permanent. Regardless of the circumstances, it significantly impacts a person’s quality of life, both physically and psychologically.
Average Settlement for a Rear End Collision
There are many factors considered when determining a fair settlement for a rear-end collision accident. Some of these are:
- Current medical bills of the injured party or parties
- Future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Car repairs
- Property damage
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
In addition, while there is a rebuttable presumption that the driver who rear-ended the other motorist was at fault, such presumption can be rebutted by presenting evidence that the front driver may have been partially negligent too. This is called comparative negligence. In such an event, the percentage of negligence of the driver of the rear-ended car will be deducted from the amount of money to be awarded from the party who hit their vehicle from behind.
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Disclaimer: This blog is for informational purposes only and does not create an attorney/client relationship.