Common Questions about Georgia & Atlanta Rear Impact Crashes


January 31, 2014

Our Georgia auto accident attorneys recognize that although rear impact accidents constitute the most common type of motor vehicle accident, motorists have many misconceptions about the seriousness of these types of crashes.  Insurance companies often mislead crash victims who are struck from behind while waiting at a red light, stop sign or interruption in traffic flow into the proposition of accepting that these incidents rarely result in serious injury because they sometimes occur at relatively low rates of speed.  In reality, many people suffer severe life-changing injuries or die in this type of motor vehicle accident so we have provided answers to common questions about rear impact crashes.

Can rear-end crashes at low rates of speed result in serious injury?

Insurance carriers love to trivialize rear-end crashes by emphasizing the lack of vehicle damage.  While it may be plausible to believe that vehicle occupants do not suffer serious injury in collisions at lower rates of speed, experts generally conduct rear-end crash tests with live subjects at rates of speed below five mph because they fear that a higher rate of speed will result in test subjects being injured.  While lower rates of speed many result in less serious injuries, many factors impact the severity of injury so it is not necessarily the case that lower speed collisions will mean only minor injuries.

How common are rear impact crashes?

While there are a range of factors that contribute to rear impact accidents, some of these include:

  • Adverse weather conditions
  • Unsafe speed
  •  Unsafe lane changes
  • Vehicle defects (e.g. brake failure)
  • Distracted driving
  • Unsafe roads
  • Drug or alcohol impairment
  • Tailgating

Although this is hardly a dispositive list of causes of collisions in which one vehicle strikes another from behind, these are some of the most significant causes of rear-enders.

What types of injuries are most common in rear-end crashes?

Although any of the types of injuries that may be experienced in other accidents may also be suffered in a rear-impact crash, some typical injuries associated with this type of impact include:

Head and facial injuries: While a seat belt may prevent vehicle ejections and impact with the windshield, vehicle occupants may still be jerked suddenly forward so that the passenger or driver’s head strikes the steering column or dashboard.  Lacerations to the face can cause permanent disfigurement.  Closed head injuries that cause brain damage may occur even without an occupant’s head impacting an internal surface inside the vehicles because of the violent back and forth movement of the head causing the brain to impact the hard boney structure of the skull.

Back Injuries: Painful herniated disc injuries to the thoracic spine (middle back region) or lumber spine (lower back region) are common in rear-end crashes.  These types of injuries may cause excruciating pain as well as long-term disability and necessitate surgery.

Injuries to the Shoulder, Hand or Wrist: When vehicle occupants are thrown forward after a car is hit from behind, the natural reaction is to reach out to brace for impact which can cause fractures, broken bones, hyperextensions and sprains.

Neck Injuries: The forces exacted upon the body when someone slams into the rear of a vehicle when it is stopped can cause the head to be suddenly forced forward and then backward.  This type of injury is called a hyperflexion injury (“whiplash”).  Although insurance adjusters often suggest these are minor injuries, whiplash injuries can cause chronic pain and prolonged periods of disability.

Put Our Firm's Over 30 Years Expereince to Work For You.

If you or a family member is injured in a rear-ender, our Georgia and Atlanta car accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you.

Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.