Rear-end collisions can occur anywhere out on the road. However, they may occur more easily at intersections when one driver slows or comes to a stop, and the driver behind him fails to allow enough room to safely complete that maneuver. Understanding the facts about rear-end collision accident injuries in Clearwater can make it easier for Clearwater drivers to understand their next steps, including how to best move forward with a comprehensive injury claim after a rear-end collision.
How Do Rear-End Collisions Occur in Clearwater?
According to the NHTSA, rear-end collisions consist of 29 percent of traffic crashes. They may occur more often in dangerous intersections, including the intersections along US-19 in Clearwater, at Drew Street and Gulf, but they can also occur in several other places. A rear-end collision means that one vehicle strikes the other directly in the rear, often due to negligence by the rear driver.
Tailgating serves as a common cause of rear-end collisions. A tailgating driver may get far too close to the vehicle in front of him to allow him to bring his vehicle to a safe stop. As a result, the tailgating driver may not have enough time to stop if the front driver has to brake or slow down for any reason. At high speeds, including on U.S. 19 or SR-60, a tailgating driver can cause more damage if the other vehicle has to come to an abrupt stop.
Driver distraction can pose a potent problem anywhere on the road. At intersections, however, it may lead to a higher risk of a rear-end collision. A distracted driver may glance down or to the side at just the wrong moment, failing to notice the presence of another vehicle in front of him. Likewise, a distracted driver may not notice that the other driver has slowed or stopped, which may lead to a devastating collision.
High rates of speed may substantially increase the risk of many types of collisions, including rear-end collisions. Speeding drivers may need to react more quickly to potential dangers, which means they may end up plowing through an intersection before they have the chance to stop. Furthermore, speeding drivers may not have time to react to another driver stopping at the intersection.
Aggressive drivers may have a greater overall risk of causing a rear-end collision. Not only do aggressive drivers in Clearwater tend to speed or tailgate, but they may even try to bump another vehicle or push it to get it out of the way. As a result, aggressive drivers may end up causing rear-end collisions deliberately.
Like much of Florida, Clearwater may have to deal with sudden storms or heavy rainfall. Those sudden, unexpected storms can make roads slippery, making it more difficult for drivers to stay safe. As a result, they may end up causing rear-end collisions as they slide forward, unable to come to a safe stop.
What Happens to the Body During a Rear-End Collision?
During a rear-end collision, the driver and passengers in the front vehicle often get thrown forward abruptly, then bounced back again by seatbelts or by contact with the dashboard, steering wheel, or seat. Often, rear-end collisions can cause serious, long-term injuries due to the force of the vehicle. Rear-end collisions may also activate the airbag in the vehicle. While airbags do act to protect passengers, they may also increase the risk of some types of injuries.
Common Clearwater Rear-End Collision Injuries
A rear-end collision can cause the same types of injuries as any other car accident. However, rear-end collisions may cause some injuries more commonly than others due to the type of force and how it gets applied in an accident.
In a rear-end collision, whiplash can result from the abrupt back-and-forth movement of the neck during the accident. Unlike other areas of the body, the neck may have little to stabilize it during the accident, which means that it may end up going through the whip-like movement that gives whiplash its name.
Whiplash injuries can lead to considerable suffering for the victim, including pain, stiffness in the neck and shoulders, and decreased overall mobility. Whiplash may also lead to decreased mobility.
While some patients will recover from whiplash within a few weeks after the accident, others may notice that whiplash symptoms linger for far longer. Chronic whiplash can cause ongoing pain and a host of problems for the patient.
During a rear-end collision, a great deal of the force from the accident may go into the patient’s back and neck, resulting in a spinal fracture. Spinal fractures can cause ongoing pain and mobility limitations. When the spinal cord fractures completely, it can lead to a spinal cord injury, which leads to paralysis below the site of the injury. The long-term loss of mobility and the challenges and changes that may go into the patient’s life after the accident can cause ongoing suffering.
Herniated discs occur when the jellylike nucleus of a disc pushes out through a tear in the exterior. A rear-end collision can cause enough force to lead to a herniated disc, which can cause significant pain and suffering for the accident victim. Herniated discs can sometimes resolve on their own, but some patients may need surgery to treat the herniated disc. In the meantime, the patient may have substantial limitations on everyday activities.
Rear-end collisions can result in facial injuries as the force of the accident pushes a driver or passenger in the vehicle forward abruptly. As the airbag explodes outward or the face strikes a steering wheel, dashboard, or seat, it can lead to significant injury. Often, those injuries can take considerable time to heal. Some patients with facial injuries may have long-term or even lifelong changes in appearance related to the accident.
Many victims of rear-end collisions end up breaking bones because of the force of the accident. Broken bones may occur in the hands or arms as the front vehicle driver braces himself against the steering wheel. Seatbelts may also lead to broken bones in the ribs.
Dealing with broken bones can mean considerable pain and suffering for many victims. While some will recover over time, others may require surgery to set the broken bone and increase the patient’s odds of making a full recovery. In the meantime, broken bones can interfere with the patient’s ability to work, engage in leisure activities, or even take care of basic self-care tasks.
Often, rear-end collisions result in strained or sprained backs, resulting in significant pain for the victim. A victim with a back injury may find it difficult to engage in a number of regular activities. The victim will often struggle to get back to work or sit for long periods. Back injuries can also interfere with leisure activities, which means that the patient may struggle to enjoy normal activities or be frustrated by the lack of enjoyment of life that may emerge after a serious accident.
A brain injury can occur in a rear-end collision as the brain slams abruptly into the skull, then back again. The trauma to the brain can lead to swelling, which can, in turn, mean an overall decline in cognitive function.
Unfortunately, it can prove difficult to recover from all the challenges that may accompany a traumatic brain injury, which can include short-term memory challenges and problems with focus and concentration. Some patients with traumatic brain injury may also suffer from significant personality changes.
Recovering Compensation After a Rear-End Collision in Clearwater
Following a rear-end collision in Clearwater, many victims may need to pursue compensation for the damages due to the accident. However, if you intend to recover compensation for your medical costs and other losses, you may need to know several things about the claim process and how to best manage it.
1. You Will Need to Use the Coverage Offered by Your Pip Insurance Before You Can File a Claim for the Injuries Sustained in a Rear-End Collision in Clearwater
Throughout Florida, drivers must carry PIP and liability insurance to meet the requirements under Florida law. PIP insurance kicks in any time you suffer injuries in a car accident, regardless of who caused the accident. That means that even if another driver caused the rear-end collision, you would need to use your PIP insurance to cover the initial cost of medical treatment.
Your PIP coverage may depend on your specific insurance plan. However, it will generally cover 80 percent of reasonable and necessary medical costs up to $10,000 if you carry Florida minimum PIP insurance.
2. You May Need a Lawyer to Help You Recover the Full Compensation You Deserve After a Rear-End Collision in Clearwater
After using your PIP insurance to cover the initial percentage of your medical bills, you may assume that you can simply include any additional costs under the claim you file with the other driver’s insurance company. However, in many cases, you may need a clearwater car accident lawyer to help you fight for the full compensation you deserve.
A lawyer can bring several advantages to your rear-end collision claim.
- A lawyer can calculate the compensation you deserve for your injuries. In many cases, the insurance company will try to get you to accept a lower settlement offer than you deserve, leaving you without that much-needed compensation. By working with a lawyer, on the other hand, you can get a better idea of what compensation you really deserve for your injuries and how you can best pursue it.
- A lawyer can provide you with more insight into the cause of your accident, including collecting evidence if needed. Most of the time, liability in a rear-end collision will rest with the rear driver, who likely failed to stop on time or followed you too closely. However, in some cases, you may discover that the insurance company wants you to accept part of the liability for the collision. Working with a lawyer can make establishing the chain of events that led to the accident easier, including why the other party should bear liability.
- A lawyer can help fight for you. It may surprise you how hard the insurance company fights to reduce the compensation it has to pay for your accident and injuries. By working with a lawyer, you can feel more confident that you have received a fair resolution to your claim.
3. You May Deserve More Compensation Than You Think
After a rear-end collision, most people will pursue compensation in several key areas.
By working with a lawyer, you can get a better idea of exactly how much compensation you deserve as you move forward with your claim, including the different areas in which you need to establish your damages and losses.
- Your medical bills. You have the right to include any medical bills beyond the amount covered by your PIP insurance as part of your claim.
- Your lost income. You might have the right to pursue compensation if you missed out on income because of your rear-end collision.
- Your pain and suffering. As part of your claim, you will generally have the right to include compensation for the suffering you had to deal with.
Did You Sustain Injuries in a Rear-End Collision in Clearwater?
If you have injuries from a rear-end collision in Clearwater, an attorney can help you file a claim and recover compensation. Contact a lawyer as soon as possible to learn more.