Rear End Collisions
The National Safety Council reports that each year, there are over two and one half million rear end collisions in the United States. They are the most frequent type of motor vehicle accident. Rear end collisions occur for a multitude of reasons:
- Excessive Speed of the rear vehicle;
- Following too closely by the rear vehicle;
- Distracted driving, including passengers in the vehicle, adjusting the radio, or personal grooming;
- Texting while driving or hand held cell phone usage;
- Aggressive driving.
Occasionally, the fault for a rear end collision is that of the driver in front, when that vehicle stops short for no apparent reason, or has no tail lights, but that is the exception rather than the rule, and in a substantial majority of rear end cases which are litigated in Court, the rear driver will be found 100% responsible for the collision.
At the Bronx Law Office of Mark A. Siesel, we understand that our clients can suffer severe injuries even in what are known as “low speed impacts.” Manufacturing specifications for rear bumpers only require that they are able to withstand a 5 mile per hour collision without noticeable damage; for the most part, these bumpers are designed to protect vehicles, not the occupants of those vehicles.
In a rear end collision, the energy from the rear car is transferred to the car in front, causing a shock to the front car passengers who are frequently unaware that they are about to be struck. In the collision, the bodies of the occupant(s) in the front car are precipitated forward, at the same time that the head is whipped backward. When the front car stops moving after the impact, the passenger's head changes direction and is now thrown over their torso. These sudden, forceful and jarring motions cause an “acceleration/deceleration injury”, more commonly known as “whiplash.”
Auto insurance companies are notorious for minimizing the severity of injuries suffered in rear end collisions if there is little visible damage to the rear of the first car. However, the spine is much more delicate than steel and metal, and particularly in collisions in which the occupant had some preexisting injury to their spine, or has degenerative arthritis, even in a “low speed impact”, they are more susceptible and more likely to suffer significant and long term injury to their lumbar and cervical spine in a rear end collision than someone with no prior injuries.
If you are involved in a rear end collision, there are several things that you should do immediately:
- Contact 911 and report the accident immediately;
- Seek immediate medical treatment as many injuries such as concussions are often not readily apparent but require prompt attention;
- Have photographs taken of the rear of your vehicle, the front of the negligent driver’s car, the scene of the accident and any roadway debris to the extent possible;
- Report the accident to your insurance company to obtain a no-fault claim for medical and hospital treatment;
- Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company claim representatives;
- Do not give a recorded statement to anyone;
- Absolutely, 100% do not sign anything from the other driver’s insurance company without consulting with a lawyer first.
When you are in an automobile accident, truck or motorcycle crash, contact the Bronx Personal Injury Attorneys at the Law Office of Mark A. Siesel for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail with one of our experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable litigators.