Rear-End Collision Lawyers in Tampa, Florida
Rear-End Car Accidents in Tampa, FL: What You Need to Know
Several types of car accidents are most well-known: head-on collisions, side impact or t-bone, rollovers, and rear-end accidents. Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of collision. Approximately 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur on U.S. highways each year. Many people equate rear-end collisions with fender benders and don’t give them much thought. However, about 17,000 people die each year in rear-end crashes, and 500,000 people are injured. When most people think of rear-end collisions, they imagine major crashes which result in major damage and death. However, the reality is that most rear-end incidents result from minor accidents. Minor crashes can cause major injuries, some of which aren’t visible and may not present themselves in severe ways (some injuries from minor accidents can sometimes take days or weeks to make themselves known to the injured). Seemingly minor rear-end accidents can cause injuries that result in the inability to work, perform everyday activities, and maintain independence.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 40% of the 6 million car accidents each year are rear-end collisions. Another sobering fact from the NHTSA is that a rear-end collision occurs every 8 seconds in the United States.
From fender-benders to high-speed crashes, being involved in a rear-end collision can cause serious, debilitating, and life-altering severe injuries. You may be interested in checking out these rear-end collision settlement examples.
Types of Injuries From Rear End Accidents
Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of motor vehicle accidents and a frequent cause of serious injuries. The damage done internally and externally from rear-end car accidents can range from mild and short-term to severe and debilitating or even disabling. Common injuries that result from rear-end collisions include:
- Head and Brain Trauma
- Spinal Cord Damage
- Severed Limbs
- Broken Bones
- Muscle Tears
- Herniated Discs
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries resulting from a rear-end collision. The force of the impact can cause the neck to forcefully move back and forth, resulting in injury. Victims of whiplash injuries can often walk away from a rear-end collision, believing that they have not been seriously injured. However, symptoms of whiplash, such as neck pain and stiffness, headaches, tingling, and numbness, often don’t appear until hours or sometimes days after an accident. Whiplash can be debilitating and can sometimes result in serious permanent injury.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) studied crash types and their resulting crash injuries. Neck injuries are the most common type of injury reported for rear-end accidents. Even minor bumps and less serious crashes can injure the neck by snapping it in a front then backward or sideways motion.
The IIHS Data Institute consistently studies ways to keep bodies safer in accidents with regard to car design. The key to reducing neck or related injuries is for the torso and head to remain together during movement, which they do not in a rear-end collision. The data institute works with automobile manufacturers to create better headrest and seat designs that will reduce injury which subsequently reduces medical and insurance costs as well as property damage costs.
Even if an airbag deploys, head injuries can still result from serious crashes. Anything from a mild concussion to traumatic brain injury can result from a rear-end collision. A concussion occurs when a person’s brain strikes the inside of the skull. This can cause damage to the brain. Concussions may not present themselves at the scene of the collision, so it is important to monitor patients for 24 hours and seek medical treatment. Symptoms of a concussion include headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, and sensitivity to light and sound. In addition to a concussion, more serious head injuries such as hematomas and skull fractures can also occur in a rear-end collision.
The force of a rear-end collision can cause a person’s body to make contact with the dashboard or steering wheel. This can result in serious fracture injuries. Fractures to the collarbone are the most common fracture seen in rear-end collisions. Facial fractures and limb fractures are also common.
Back Injuries (Ex. Herniated Discs)
The force of a crash can exert extraordinary pressure on the vertebrae. A herniation of a disc in the spine occurs when the outer fiber surrounding the disc ruptures or tears due to trauma. The impact of a rear-end collision can result in a herniation injury. Serious herniations can result in long-term back pain, numbness, and mobility issues. Symptoms of a herniation may be delayed due to the adrenaline experienced in a rear-end collision.
When airbags deploy as the result of a collision they can cause burns and facial injuries.
Causes of Rear-End Collisions & How to Avoid Them
We all learned in driving school or in our Driver License testing that keeping a safe distance from other vehicles provides us with the ability to prevent a rear-end collision. Almost all rear-end collisions are the result of following at a distance that is too close.
The average driver’s reaction time is around ¾ of a second to 1 second. In ideal conditions, and with good brakes and tires, if you are traveling at 50 mph, it will take about 158 feet before your car comes to a stop. In Florida, the Department of Motor Vehicles suggests a following distance of 4 seconds.
Most rear-end collisions are the result of inattentiveness on the part of the driver in the back.
The following are some of the most common causes of rear-end collisions across the nation:
- Distracted Driving: This is a significant cause of rear-end accidents. Drivers who are on their phones or take their eyes off the road are less able to respond to a braking driver in front of them.
- Tailgating: Drivers who tailgate significantly reduce the distance they allow themselves for stopping their vehicles. Tailgating also reduces a driver’s perception and reaction time.
- Alcohol/Drug Intoxication: Impaired drivers are less able to react quickly to braking vehicles and may have trouble with depth perception.
- Weather & Road Conditions: This can lead to cars skidding or not stopping as soon as they should.
- Vehicle Condition: Worn tires or brakes can lead to problems stopping a vehicle.
Florida has a high incidence of rear-end collisions and there are driving corridors that are more dangerous than others. Five of the most frequent rear-end traffic accident corridors are in Tampa Bay, Florida:
- I-75 at Brandon Blvd
- I-75 at I-4
- US-19 at Tampa Road
- I-275 at I-4
- US-92 at I-275
Avoiding rear-end collisions altogether might be unavoidable as we cannot control the driving behavior of others nor external driving conditions like weather or infrastructure. However, there are tips that can help your own driving and keep you vigilant against the behavior of other drivers on the road.
We can forget, especially during rush-hour traffic when we’re tired, hungry, in a hurry or frustrated with heavy traffic that everyone else in the same mode we are in. Such things as monitoring your rearview and side mirrors, moving away from tailgaters and aggressive drivers, watching your speed, not texting while driving or tapping your brake lights to warn other drivers you are in the process of changing speed all help to reduce the chance of a rear-end collisions.
Our Tampa rear-end collision lawyers are ready to help if you ever get into this type of accident (or any car accident).
Who is at Fault in a Rear End Collision in Florida?
n Florida, a presumption of negligence is the law, which means that the court will assume in all cases that the rear driver is at fault. This also means that the victim of a rear-end collision does not have to prove how or why they were rear-ended. They only have to prove that they were involved in the accident and that they were injured or received damages due to the accident.
The possibility exists, however, that a driver who rear-ends another driver can present evidence in court that puts half the fault with the front driver, such as the front driver stopping suddenly or turning into the path of the rear vehicle. They can also have evidence that the front driver suddenly reversed or that their brake lights were not operable.
A rear driver does not have to prove all aspects of why they rear-ended another driver but the evidence must be sufficient enough that a jury of their peers would find it reasonable to have occurred.
What to Do if You’re Involved in a Rear-End Collision in Florida
In the State of Florida, it is against the law to leave the scene of any accident. A police report must be made with a police officer, even if there were no injuries.
Make sure no one is physically injured and exchange personal and insurance information with the other driver. They could possibly be an uninsured or underinsured motorist and may refuse to exchange information with you. The police officer will be able to obtain their information, and you can then obtain a copy of the police report.
One of the most important things to remember in any accident is not to make statements of admission of guilt. This can be comments made to the other driver, their occupants, or any witnesses. Stick to the facts of the accident only, leaving emotion out of the conversation as best as you are able, and not speculating on the accident.
If you are able, and it is safe, try to take as many photos as you can of injuries, damages, and the area of the accident. Contact your insurance company to initiate your claim, and advise them you have photos if that is the case.
Being in a Florida car accident, even a minor one, can be confusing, scary, even shocking to some people if they’ve never experienced an accident. Insurance companies can delay or deny a claim, the other driver can attempt to claim you have half the fault or you may have already begun to acquire a lot of medical bills due to your accident.
In the event of a rear-end collision, you should always seek the advice of an experienced car accident attorney who knows the law, knows how to deal with insurance companies, and understands the nature of personal injuries and the many variable aspects involved in car accidents. Our Florida rear-end collision lawyers are ready to help. For a free consultation call our toll-free number at 800-538-4878, where one of our injury law team members is standing by for your call.
Avoiding Rear End Collisions
While you often don’t have a great deal of control when you’re struck from behind, there are some steps you can take to avoid a rear-end collision:
- Always pay careful attention to the vehicles in front of you
- Check your mirrors and be aware of what’s around you
- Don’t drive distracted
- Always look for an escape route as you prepare to stop in case the vehicle behind you doesn’t stop
- Stop your vehicle smoothly
- Make sure your brake lights are working properly