Rear-end accidents are quite common, although many of them are harmless “fender-benders.” In fact, with today’s modern bumpers, minor rear-end accidents often result in no damage to either vehicle occupants or their vehicles. However, when a serious rear-end accident occurs, the results can be disastrous.
The typical rear-end accident injury, of course, is whiplash. In fact, it has almost become a comic cliché in television shows, for example, for unscrupulous swindlers to turn the minor fender-bender into a whiplash-inducing rear-end accident. And while there are con artists out there who may attempt to scam insurance companies by setting up or taking advantage of such collisions, for people who have truly experienced a serious rear-end accident, whiplash injuries are far from superficial—or humorous.
When a vehicle gets struck from the rear, it is suddenly accelerated forward. This causes the seat to push against the occupant’s body and send it forward. Because of the joints in the neck, the occupant’s head does not move with the torso, but instead falls back until the neck reaches the limit of its flexibility. At that point, the head suddenly “whips” forward at the neck. This unnatural motion can cause serious injury. Strangely, whiplash can occur even when the impact to the vehicle itself does not seem serious. The severity of the whiplash is entirely dependent upon the head and neck movement with respect to the body, not how hard a vehicle is hit.
Whiplash symptoms—such as neck pain, shoulder pain, spasms, headache, swelling, stiffness, or shooting pains down the arms and neck—may show up immediately after a rear-end accident, or may show up even hours later. This is why it is so important that drivers and passengers who have been hit in rear-end accidents should seek a medical exam immediately following the accident, even if they think they may be all right. As a general rule, however, the sooner any symptoms show up, the more likely it is that the injury is serious. In those cases, whiplash injuries may cause dizziness, arm pain, or even weakness or loss of function of the lower limbs.
Severe whiplash injuries are less likely to occur in late-model vehicles, because of headrest design standards. Many people think that vehicle headrests are comfort features, but headrests are actually head restraints, specifically designed to move the head forward with the torso in the event of a rear-end collision, and to take the strain of rear-end impacts off of the neck. However, not all drivers and passengers adjust their headrests optimally to serve this protective function. As in most things, conscientious drivers can greatly reduce the risk of injury to themselves and their passengers simply by paying attention to using their automobile’s safety features properly, including head restraints, seat belts, and mirrors.
However, even the most conscientious driver may not be able to avoid every accident, particularly from other drivers who are not so conscientious or even reckless, such as drivers who are intoxicated, and drivers who are, for whatever reason, not paying sufficient attention to the traffic in front of them. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a rear-end accident in the South Florida area, the Flaxman Law Group can help. Obviously, rear-end accidents can result in numerous other types of injuries besides whiplash, just as in any serious car accident, and, sadly, many rear-end accidents can result in death. But whatever the injury or damage, our experienced team of attorneys can assist you. We can help you sift through the confusing array of insurance issues, medical issues, and income problems that can result from your accident to find out what remedies may be available to you.
With a simple toll-free phone call, the Flaxman Law Group is prepared to offer you an immediate no-charge, no-obligation consultation. One of our South Florida rear end accident attorneys can meet you at your hospital room, your home, or your office, or you can speak to an attorney any time over the phone. We will answer your questions and give you the information you need so that you can evaluate the options available to you and make an informed decision. Even more, if we agree to represent you, there are no hidden costs, and you will not pay a cent unless we win your case or obtain an out-of-court settlement for you. In the South Florida area, call the Flaxman Law Group at 1 866 Flaxman. (1 866 352 9626).