A rear-end collision occurs when a car or truck crashes into the vehicle in front of it. Rear-end collision accidents often happen because of driver inattention or distraction, tailgating, panic stops, bad brakes and reduced traction due to weather or worn pavement or tires.
A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of injury producing accidents.
For the purposes of insurance coverage, the car that does the rear-ending is almost always considered to be at-fault party, because they did not leave enough stopping room or distance between them and the car in front of them, or because they allowed themselves to become distracted which interfered with them stopping in time. One rare exception is when the struck vehicle actually was proceeding in reverse at the time of the accident. This can happen when a driver stops too far into the intersection, backs up to a correct position and forgets to put the car back in drive before stepping on the gas when the light turns green.
Sometimes an unexpected or sudden deceleration by the first car – the car that gets struck from behind – (for example, to avoid hitting someone in front of them who may have changed their mind about proceeding, slamming on the brakes) contributes to the accident. This sudden stopping shortens the amount of time that the following car has to brake and thus collides with the first car.
Sometimes a rear-end collision occurs because the following car accelerates more rapidly than the leading or struck car, and slams into the rear of the moving leading car. This sometimes happens at intersections when the following car misjudges the speed of the car in front of it and was following too closely.
Generally, in the case of a rear-end collision if the two vehicles have similar weights, crashing into another vehicle is equivalent to crashing into a fixed surface like a wall at half the speed. This means that rear-ending a stationary vehicle while traveling at 40 mph is equivalent, in terms of deceleration, to crashing into a wall at 20 mph. The same is true for the other vehicle; the one receiving the impact at the rear. Other factors come into play such as the relative weights of the two vehicles, whether or not the impacted vehicle was still with the driver “heavy on the brakes”, the strength of the bumpers, the relative location of the bumpers and the impact resistance of the vehicles.
A typical consequence of rear-end collision, even a moderate collision, is whiplash or other soft tissue injuries to the neck, spine, back and shoulders. In more severe cases where the impacting vehicle was traveling at high rate of speed or was a large mass vehicle like a truck, permanent injuries such as herniated discs in the spinal column may occur. The passengers located in the backs of vans, minivans and multiple or large capacity vehicles suffer from the shortened rear crumple zone; they are more likely to be injured or killed in a rear-end collision.
In rare circumstances, serious rear-end collisions can result in fires and explosions due to the fact that gas tanks are usually located in the rear of cars. The Ford Pinto became the focus of widespread concern when a design flaw caused fires after rear-end collisions.
If you or a loved one or family member has been injured in a rear-end collision or in any other type of car or truck accident, please call a personal injury attorney at The Law Offices of Adrian Crane or request a confidential no-obligation consultation by using the case evaluation form found on this website. We would be glad to answer any questions you have about liability, damages or the process that a lawyer goes through to handle and process your car or truck accident personal injury claim.