Car Accident Lawyer Breakdown: Rear-End Crashes

Rear-End Crashes

Too many of us are familiar with that completely helpless feeling of horror that accompanies the sight of a vehicle coming from behind us at a high rate of speed.  There is generally nothing that we can do but brace ourselves and hope for the best.  Too many other people never see a vehicle approaching from the rear and are hit without having any time to prepare for impact.  Rear-end crashes are an enormous problem on roads across the country.  Every San Diego car accident lawyer has represented someone who was wrongfully injured in this type of a crash.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, 40 percent of all car accidents in the United States are classified as rear-end crashes.  That comes to 2.5 million collisions overall.  Below you’ll find an overview of this issue in terms of how it affects motorists in San Diego County.

San Diego County Rear-End Crash Statistics

According to data provided by UC-Berkeley, more than 4,400 rear-end crashes occurred in San Diego County in 2015 alone.  That comes to more than 12 every day or one approximately every two hours.  24 of these accidents, or two per month, led to at least one fatality.  More than 100 rear-end crashes led to at least one severe injury.  788 rear-end collisions led to at least one visible injury.  All told, 17 rear-end crashes occurred every week in San Diego County during 2015 that led to a visible injury, a severe injury or a fatality.

No other type of collision occurred nearly as often as rear-end crashes in 2015, and their prevalence and overall number have remained largely consistent in recent years across the county.  In 2013, 4,334 rear-end crashes occurred in the county, leading to dozens of fatalities and thousands of injuries of varying severity.  In 2014, 4,552 rear-end crashes took place.  These accidents also led to dozens of fatalities and thousands of differing injuries.  Clearly, rear-end crashes are one of the biggest threats to safety on the roads both in San Diego County and across the United States.

San Diego County Rear-End Crashes – Primary Collision Factors

The biggest factor in rear-end crashes, regardless of where they occur, is speed.  Digging deeper into the San Diego car accident statistics relating to rear-end crashes, it becomes clear that this notion held true in 2015.  Below you’ll find the most common primary collision factors that were recorded in conjunction with these accidents:

  1. Unsafe speed – 68.9 percent of rear-end crashes
  2. Following too closely – 9.6 percent of rear-end crashes
  3. Driving under the influence of alcohol – 5.9 percent of rear-end crashes
  4. Improper turning – 5.6 percent of rear-end crashes
  5. Unsafe starting or backing – 3.4 percent of rear-end crashes

When people speed, it reduces their margin of error.  Motorists do not have as much time to make decisions or to take evasive measures when necessary.  Following too closely has the same effect on motorists in terms of avoiding rear-end crashes.  Not to mention, losing focus on the road for even a second or two can lead to an accident when paying attention would have avoided such a situation.

San Diego County Rear-End Crashes – Other Modes of Travel

No form of travel is immune from rear-end crashes.  According to the UC-Berkeley data, a large number of rear-end crashes in San Diego County in 2015 involved people traveling in something other than a passenger vehicle.  The statistics appear below:

  • Pedestrian collisions – 17
  • Bicycle collisions – 54
  • Truck collisions – 118
  • Motorcycle collisions – 258

Overall, that comes to 447 rear-end crashes involving someone traveling in some different way, or more than 8 every day.

Common Injuries Resulting from Rear-End Crashes

People can suffer a large number of different injuries after being involved in a rear-end car accident.  However, by far the most commonly associated injury with this type of collision is whiplash.  Whiplash is a severe injury even though it largely remains a mystery for many people.  That’s because the onset of the symptoms can take days, weeks or in some cases even longer.  The actual whiplash injury does not generally show up on X-rays or MRI scans.  The symptoms can vary both in terms of their specificity and their severity.

Whiplash occurs when the neck is thrust violently in one direction.  This often occurs when someone is hit from behind by another motorist.  The head is not only jerked backward, but it also recoils forward violently, thereby inflicting trauma on the neck.  Whiplash can also affect the back and even lead to problems in the arms and other parts of the body.  While whiplash is the most common injury that results from rear-end crashes, there are others that are possible.  Examples of these injuries include:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Severe contusions

While seatbelts and airbags save lives, they can also inflict injuries on vehicle occupants in different ways, especially if those vehicle occupants did not know that a collision was imminent.

Rear-End Crashes and Potential Legal Liability

While it’s not always how things play out, the vast majority of rear-end crashes are the fault of the person who hit the other vehicle from behind.  The reason for this notion almost directly parallels the mistakes mentioned above regarding the primary collision factors for rear-end crashes.  The most common reasons that trailing drivers are found liable for these accidents include:

  • Following the lead vehicle too closely
  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or some other intoxicant

There are situations where the lead driver will be at fault for a rear-end collision or at least share fault with the other motorist, but these situations are relatively rare.

How a San Diego Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

People who are injured in rear-end crashes often need help in understanding their legal rights and recovery options.  Clearly, based on the statistics, this situation is forced upon thousands of people in the area every year.  If you or someone you love faces this difficult scenario, contact a San Diego car accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible for a free case evaluation.


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