What Can Happen to Your Body in a Rear-End Collision?

Car Accident,Personal Injury | May 26, 2022

A rear-end collision is one of the most common types of car accidents in Massachusetts. It is an impact between the front of one car and the rear of another, often due to speeding, tailgating or distracted driving. The physics of a rear-end collision makes certain types of injuries more common than others. Find out what can happen to the human body in a rear-end collision, as well as what to do if you get involved in this type of crash.

Breaking Down the Physics of a Rear-End Collision

In a rear-end collision, the vehicle being struck (the front vehicle) absorbs most of the impact. This means the occupants of the front vehicle tend to suffer worse injuries. This is especially true if the front vehicle is at a standstill when the rear vehicle strikes. When the rear vehicle collides with the back of the front vehicle, the force of its momentum gets passed to the front vehicle and its occupants. This causes the sudden motion of the front vehicle – so sudden that there is some lag time in the physical response of the human occupants.

Sudden motion from a standstill can jerk the body rapidly forward and then snap it back just as quickly. Since the vehicle’s occupants weren’t expecting the sudden momentum, they cannot brace for it. The body is often thrown into the seat belt or steering wheel, then propelled quickly backward, causing the head and spine to collide with the seat. This violent backward and forward motion can cause a wide range of injuries in a rear-end collision.

Common Injuries Associated With Rear-End Collisions

A rear-end collision is so dangerous because even if the vehicles collide at a low speed, the body can suffer serious injuries from the sudden backward and forward motion of the car. The soft tissues of the body are especially vulnerable to the jerking motion in a rear-end collision, such as the muscles and tendons in the neck. 

The number one most common injury reported in a rear-end collision is whiplash or damage to the neck’s soft tissues from the rapid back-and-forth whipping motion of the head. This motion can also cause a number of injuries to the spine and back. It can tear the membrane surrounding a spinal disk, for example, causing the disk to slip, rupture or become herniated.

A rear-end collision can also cause organ damage. The organs move with the body when it is propelled by the momentum of the crash. This can lead to the internal organs colliding with each other and the bones inside the body, potentially damaging or rupturing them and causing internal bleeding. Other common injuries include concussions, broken bones and injuries caused by the airbag.

What if You Experience Delayed Pain After a Rear-End Collision?

It’s important to go to a hospital in Massachusetts right away after being injured in a rear-end collision. This is because a doctor may detect an injury sooner than you notice symptoms. Prompt medical care can be imperative to your physical recovery, especially if you’ve injured your spine. It can also show an insurance company that you mitigated your damages. Many serious injuries have delayed symptoms, including traumatic brain injuries, neck injuries, whiplash, and back injuries. 

The adrenaline from a car accident may work as a painkiller that makes it hard to notice an injury until hours or even days later. In addition, the stress of the accident may interfere with your ability to focus on how you feel. This is why you should see a doctor after a rear-end collision, even if you feel fine. It may surprise you to find that you did in fact suffer an injury in the crash.

Massachusetts is a no-fault car accident state. This means that you will file a claim with your own car insurance company after a rear-end collision, even if the other driver is at fault. However, you can file a claim against the other driver if your injuries are significant or cost at least $2,000 in necessary medical care. Contact a rear-end accident lawyer near you after this type of collision for assistance with the claims process. A lawyer can help you protect your legal rights. Contact us today.