REAR-END COLLISION ACCIDENT
The most common form of collisions in the US is when one vehicle strikes another in the rear. Driver inattention, following too closely or adverse road conditions are some causes of these types of collisions. A rear-end collision is most likely to occur during a traffic jam with stop-and-go traffic because there is less space for drivers to maneuver and a greater chance that drivers will be distracted.
Regardless of the cause, all drivers have the responsibility to maintain a safe following distance between their vehicle and the vehicle they are behind. This is probably the most widely violated safety rule in America. The rule of thumb of one car length for every 10 mph speed is the recommended safe following distance. Under these conditions, it is not surprising that if a driver’s attention is diverted for less than a second, brake lights ahead can be missed. Without a safe stopping distance, disaster can result. A bigger problem exists when the following vehicle is a truck or SUV. With the emergence of texting only adding another additional distraction to drivers to already accompany cell phones, radios, and bad-hair-days, it’s easier than ever to become distracted from the road, lose focus and forget to brake.
Rear End Collision Laws in New Jersey
In the State of New Jersey, a driver who has struck the rear of another vehicle is always presumed to be at fault. When operating a motor vehicle, it is the responsibility of the driver to maintain control of their car at all times. And, as part of maintaining control, they must keep a safe stopping distance away from the vehicle in front of them. Neglecting to stop and rear-ending the car in front of you is indeed a failure to control one’s vehicle.
Accidents with Commercial Vehicles and Trucks
With all of the distractions inside of the car today, rear-end-collisions have become far too common. Nearly a third of all car accidents where someone was killed or injured in the United States involved a rear-end-collision. Commercial vehicles with professional drivers actually were involved in a disproportionate number of rear-end accidents. It may be due to the driver’s extended hours on the road or the nature of the vehicles that they drive, but commercial vehicles accounted for 40% of all rear-end hits, despite making up only 7% of all cars on the road.
A commercial driver in such a situation would be represented through their company’s insurance and have the ability to make a workers’ compensation claim with their employer after the accident. A civilian driver who got hit, of course, would not be able to take such a course of action and would need to obtain representation from a personal injury attorney to file a claim through their auto-insurance. With an attorney who is skilled in rear-end-collision cases, they can seek compensation for their injuries and any medical care needed, as well as pursue punitive damages if necessary.
Effect on the Body After Impact
On impact, the car that is struck is forced forward, the person inside is thrust backward from the force and then propelled forward when their body comes in contact with the seat. If the impact is severe enough, the seat sometimes breaks because of that contact. If the seat does not break, it propels the person forward. If that person is wearing a seat belt, and the seat belt functions properly, the seat belt will hold and force the person backward again. This violent back, front and back again movement is what causes injuries to the back and neck areas. Even with a seat belt, the person’s knees, hands or chest may strike the dashboard or steering wheel. Studies have shown that there is little correlation between the speed of the impact and the extent of injuries sustained. There are a number of factors involved such as the person’s age, physical condition and prior medical condition.
Rear-end collisions can result in severe injuries, including:
- Whiplash injuries:These can be extremely painful and can require many months of difficult recovery and rehabilitation.
- Neck and back injuries:These can often be caused by whiplash. It is not uncommon for the victim in a rear-end collision to suffer a herniated or ruptured disc.
- Broken bones: When the victim is thrown into hard surfaces on the interior of the car, he or she can suffer broken bones, fractures, and strains, particularly in the legs and arms.
- Brain trauma:Rear-end collisions can cause a traumatic blow to the victim’s head, leading to dangerous and scary closed head injuries.
- Airbag injuries:Although airbags typically reduce the risk of injury in a car crash, airbags can actually cause injuries because they deploy with explosive force.
If you had been involved in a rear-end collision, call the police so a police report can be filed about the accident. It is also common for many to not feel anything abnormal following the collision, only to find that they have been injured subsequently as pain sets in over the days following the accident.
Contact our New Jersey Rear End Collision Accident Lawyers today at the offices of O’Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble. Or simply Contact us online or call 1-908-928-9200 or 1-800-586-5817 for a free no obligation consultation.