Car accidents are not fun.
That sentence may be an understatement, but the number of rear-end auto collisions across the country is not.
According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), out of the 6 million car accidents that happen on U.S. roads every year, over 40% of them (2.5 million) are rear-end collisions.
On average there is another rear-end collision every 8 seconds, which means that by the time you have read this far down there has already been one or two.
Unfortunately, this trend is only rising as more and more devices like smart phones and mp3 players continue to distract drivers. The NHTSA reports that drivers are 4 times more likely to have a serious accident when using a hand-held device while operating a vehicle.
Although most rear-end collisions involve impacts that occur at less than 10 mph, they can still cause long-term injuries to the spine, neck, face, brain, and knees. It’s no wonder why rear-end collisions are also referred to as “whiplash accidents.”
When it comes to car accidents, the state of Tennessee is strict. In Tennessee, if one car hits another from behind, in most cases the fault will lie with the first driver. According to Tennessee driving laws, you must always maintain control of your vehicle, meaning that you are responsible for any damages caused by your vehicle, even if the circumstances were unavoidable or unintentional.
For example, if your car hits a patch of ice on the road and slides into another car, you will still be held responsible for damages, despite the fact that the ice took away your ability to control your vehicle.
Tennessee law mandates that drivers always keep enough distance between themselves and other drivers to avoid rear-end collisions. Drivers who cause such a collision will be held responsible, regardless of the road conditions or how abruptly the person ahead stopped.
There are a few exceptions to the rule, but these are extremely rare. These exceptions include:
- If a car behind you rear-ended your vehicle and pushed you into the back of another car
- Driver negligence, such as a car parked, broken down, or stopped with no warning lights
- A driver impaired by alcohol
In most rear-end collision cases, the Tennessee state trooper or police officer will examine the accident and determine who was at fault, but that decision could be overturned later in court with contrary evidence.
Because most rear-end collisions involve slow speeds and minor damage to the cars, oftentimes victims of the accident do not receive proper compensation. Studies have found that harmful whiplash can occur at much lower speeds than originally thought.
One engineering study discovered that the speed of the impact is not what determines the severity of the whiplash since the force exerted to the spine in a car accident is not all that different from bumper cars or even sneezing.
The real damage is caused by the surprise.
When the person is completely unaware, they don’t have time brace themselves, causing the neck to bend too far on impact. Most rear-end collisions are a surprise.
State troopers and police officers will not be able to fully assess the long-term medical damages received during the incident, nor will they be able to account for lost time at work, so it is imperative to take pictures and record all of the damages and expenses of the collision.
Car accidents are not fun, and unfortunately getting proper compensation can be more complicated than it should be.
Consider consulting a lawyer who specializes in rear-end collisions about your car accident case.