A rear-end collision occurs when the front of one car crashes into the back of another. These car accidents are commonly caused by driver mistakes such as distracted driving, speeding and following too closely. The unique dynamics of a rear-end collision can result in similar types of injuries, often involving the neck, back and head.
Whiplash injuries are frequently associated with rear-end collisions. Whiplash is a neck injury that affects the tendons, ligaments, muscles and other soft tissues located in the neck and upper back (cervical spine). Whiplash can cause neck pain and stiffness, headache, lost range of motion in the neck, and pain or tingling in the arms and shoulders.
When a rear-end collision takes place, the force of the crash may “whip” the front driver’s head and neck rapidly forward and backward. This abrupt and violent motion can tear, stretch or damage the soft tissues of the neck. Recovering from whiplash can take weeks to months of physical therapy and other treatments. More severe neck injuries, such as neck fractures and herniated disks in the cervical spine, can also occur.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The inertia of a rear-end collision may send a driver’s head or skull into the steering wheel, windshield, side window or other elements inside the vehicle. Blunt-force trauma to the head can result in skull fractures and traumatic brain injuries, such as concussions, brain bleeds (hemorrhage) and swelling (edema).
Traumatic brain injuries can affect a victim’s life by inflicting long-term brain damage. Common symptoms of brain injuries include headache, cognitive problems, memory loss, trouble communicating, sleep changes, mood and behavioral changes, and motor function disorders.
When a vehicle gets struck from behind, it could be pushed into another vehicle or moving traffic. This can result in broken glass and crash debris that may cause facial injuries, such as lacerations or eye injuries. If the victim’s face comes in contact with the steering wheel or another object inside the vehicle, this can also cause facial or dental injuries. Facial injuries may require surgery to repair and can cause permanent scarring or disfigurement. Eye injuries can permanently affect the victim’s sight.
Back and Spine Injuries
The middle of a vehicle occupant’s back may move quickly backward and forward with the sudden violent motion of a rear-end collision. This can cause a range of injuries to the back or spinal cord, including slipped disks, ruptured or herniated disks, nerve damage, spinal fractures, spinal concussion, and permanent paralysis.
Bone fractures are a common injury reported in rear-end car accidents. A victim may break a bone anywhere in the body, but common examples include the clavicle, ribs, hands and fingers, and lower extremities. In severe cases, a broken rib could puncture a lung, resulting in serious internal injuries. Broken bones may require surgery to repair and can result in long-term disability.
Seat Belt and Airbag Injuries
While seat belts and airbags can help protect a victim from severe injuries, they may also cause injuries in rear-end collisions. When a seat belt halts a victim’s forward motion, the impact against the belt can cause bruising and other injuries to the neck, shoulder and torso. The deployment of an airbag can occur with enough force to injure the victim’s face and head, such as causing a broken nose.
If you or a loved one suffered any type of injury in a rear-end accident in Arizona, contact the car accident attorneys at the Law Offices of John Phebus for a free injury consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation.