An Overview of Rear End Collisions

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The most common accident in the United States occurs when one vehicle hits another in the rear. In most cases, these rear end collisions are caused by inattentive drivers, adverse road conditions, and poor following distance. When a rear end accident occurs, there are several factors a driver should consider.

Who is at Fault in a Rear End Accident?

Determining who is at fault in a car accident is not an easy task. However, liability is generally determined by the conditions of the accident. In most cases, the tailing driver is undoubtedly at fault for causing a rear end accident. This is a well-established liability rule that insurance companies seldom dispute. Instead the insurance companies focus on damages that result from the accident such as the vehicle damage and physical injuries.

The Rules of the Road state that if a vehicle hits another vehicle from behind; it is the fault of the tailing driver. This rule is applicable regardless of the reason for stopping. The rule requires drivers to follow other vehicles at a safe following distance. For that reason, if a tailing driver is not able to stop in time and hits the vehicle in front of it; the law states that the driver was not driving safely.

It is important to add that vehicle damage can help determine liability. A rear-end collision claim is easily solved when the damage to the vehicles prove how the accident occurred. When one front end shows damage and the other shows rear end damage, there’s no confusion about which vehicle was struck from the rear.


One of the common injuries associated with rear end car accidents is whiplash. Whiplash is used to diagnose an array of neck injuries. When a vehicle is rear-ended, the impact causes the driver’s body to jerk forward while the head remains fixed. This exposes the neck to a sudden and severe extension that is similar to a whip-like motion. Over the last few years, the term “whiplash” has become linked with false or exaggerated injury claims. This is why many whiplash-type injuries are referred to as hyperextension injuries or myofascial injuries. Severe neck and back pain are also caused by rear end accidents.

A major misconception about whiplash is that it is only caused while traveling at high speeds. Conversely, whiplash is typically caused while traveling at lower speeds. Another misconception believes that whiplash is a minor injury. Medical evidence proves that the soft tissue injured while experiencing whiplash can be severely injured and have long-term effects. For that reason, it is important to consult a doctor after being involved in any type of accident.


Injuries caused by rear end collisions vary significantly depending on the condition of the accident; however, common symptoms include:

• Shoulder, back, and arm pain
• neck pain and stiffness
• blurred vision and headache
• decreased range of motion
• burning sensation, tingling, and dizziness

In some cases, it can take several days for whiplash symptoms to occur. When involved in an accident, it is important to pay attention to possible signs of whiplash injury. If any symptoms occur, it is important to seek medical attention. Neck injuries can have harsh consequences and cause a wide range of health problems.


When involved in a rear end accident, it is very possible the case will go to trial. The majority of rear end personal injury cases are settled prior to or during the trial. There are several types of compensation available for rear end car accidents.

Currently, there’s not a standard method of figuring out the dollar amount driver’s receive for pain and suffering payouts. This is primarily because every case is different. However, there are a few factors to consider when figuring out a ballpark figure.

What are “pain and suffering” damages?

The majority of car accident settlements have two different types of damages: general damages and special damages. The “special damages” include monetary losses related to the accident such as medical bills and lost income. General damages include emotional anxiety, pain and suffering, and physical discomfort. The final settlement is generally decided by the seriousness of the injuries and the extent of the medical treatment.

How is pain and suffering calculated?

The most common way to calculate pain and suffering is to take the amount of “special damages” and multiply the number by one-and-a-half to four. In most cases, the “multiplier” will depend on the seriousness of the injuries and the duration of the recovery.

Rear End Accident Cases Are Typically Settled

Rear end collision cases normally get settled because the case is less complicated than other personal injury cases. Personal injury cases involve liability and damages. In rear end accidents, the tailing driver is the defendant and is always certainly at fault. For that reason, the only issue to negotiate is the plaintiff’s damages.

Settling the Case

After the defense attorney’s settlement offer is accepted, the case is settled. The last step of the process is for the lawyer to inform the defense attorney that the offer was accepted. It is important to remember that once the settlement is accepted, there is no turning back. In almost every state, the case is settled once the defense attorney is informed the settlement was accepted. For that reason, it is important to be sure of the terms of the settlement before telling a lawyer that any settlement offer is acceptable.

When involved in a rear car collision, it is important to consult a doctor about any injuries. Although the injury may seem minor; some injuries can have long-term effects. Moreover, liability and compensation is determined by the specific conditions of the accident. Compensation can range significantly based on the seriousness of the accident.