In many rear end accident situations, the parties are uninjured. However, in some instances, rear end accident injuries can cause the injured driver to incur thousands of dollars of medical bills as well as lost wages. When the striking vehicle is traveling at a high rate of speed and/or is a large truck, such as a commercial truck, the injuries often include:
- cervical spine (neck) disc pathology such as herniation or protrusion,
- lumbar spine (low back) disc pathology,
- shoulder injuries including tissue and tendon tears, and
- knee pain and symptoms.
Rear End Accident Injuries – the Neck and Low Back
In rear end accident situations, the neck and low back are two of the most common places of injury. Due to being in a seated position, a rear impact causes the body to move forward and strike the seat belt, assuming the driver was wearing one. The body then moves backward, striking the seat. The neck and low back usually take the brunt of those impacts. These force alone, can cause significant spinal disc pathology. If there are more than two impacts, i.e., if the car behind the initial striking vehicle causes a second impact, the injuries are often amplified.
The average head weighs as much as a bowling ball, or 8 pounds. So in a car accident like a rear end accident, the head usually snaps forward and back again. Eight pounds of quick snapping motion can result in significant spine injuries. Discs C-4/C-5 and C-5/C-6 are the usual sources of neck injury in a rear end accident. With respect to lower spine injuries, L-4/5 and L-5/S-1 are commonly injured in a rear end accident case. This is due to the motion of striking the seat belt and then seat, while in a seated position. Whether it is the neck or the low back, disc bulges, herniations, protrusions and annular tears may occur.
Medical treatment for spine injuries is often conservative at first and includes rest, medication, such as muscle relaxers, chiropractic treatment, and physical therapy. If these treatment modalities do not help, the individual may undergo an MRI which shows disc pathology. Subsequent treatment often includes corticosteroid injections (epidural injections) into the disc(s), repeated physical therapy, and potentially surgery.
Other Areas of Injury in a Rear End Accident
It is important to note that thoracic spine injuries, while not as common as neck and low back injuries, can and do occur in rear end accidents. Mid back or thoracic injuries are more common in significant rear end accidents, such as when a large truck smashes into a much smaller passenger car.
Shoulder injuries commonly occur due to holding the steering wheel or otherwise bracing for the accident. In some rear end accident cases, a driver may be completely stopped and after looking in the rear view mirror, sees that the driver approaching from behind is not stopping. Many drivers react by gripping the steering wheel tightly. This can result in serious shoulder injuries which could require surgical repair.
Other parts of the body may be injured in a car accident such as a rear end accident. For instance, knee injuries are common when a driver comes into contact with the bottom of the dash board. In some extreme cases, head/brain injuries accompany the cervical injury.
More from a Delaware car accident lawyer:
- Recovering Medical Bills in a Delaware Car or Truck Accident Case
- Documenting Pain and Suffering from your Delaware Personal Injury Accident
Delaware Car Accident Lawyer with Over 30 Years of Experience
Since 1982, firm founder, Martin Knepper, has served residents of Delaware in all personal injury matters, including car accidents and truck accidents. Contact our accident lawyers today and ask for a free consultation. (302) 658.1717
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