TENNESSEE PERSONAL INJURY LAW: THE REAR-END CRASH

When driving, the thought of being unexpectedly hit from behind by another vehicle is unsettling and triggers feelings of vulnerability to harm. A rear-end collision commonly causes neck pain and injury in the driver and passengers in the front car, even when hit at slow speed and often from whiplash.

A clearer picture

From 2002 to 2007, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute did research and several studies about rear-end crashes, near-crashes and similar rear-approaching incidents at the request of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA. While this research covered many related topics, observations and data included:

  • Rear-end collisions are the most common type of motor-vehicle accident, making up roughly one-third of all motor-vehicle crashes.
  • Most rear-end collisions involve slow-moving or motionless lead vehicles.
  • The lead vehicle was completely stopped in 81 percent of rear-end collisions.
  • In almost half of rear-end collisions involving stopped or slowing lead vehicles, the following drivers failed to appropriately brake or steer in response.
  • Almost 90 percent of rear-end crashes when the following vehicle struck the lead vehicle involved driver distraction, usually visual.
  • In rear-end crashes, eating and daydreaming were common distractions.
  • In near-crashes and similar incidents, frequent distractions were wireless devices like cell phones, and passengers.
  • Most following drivers were not tailing too closely.
  • Before a majority of rear-end crashes, the following drivers were slowing down in traffic.
  • When lead drivers braked or took similar actions, in almost half of the resulting rear-end collisions, the following driver had no "reaction to the event."
  • Males and drivers from 25 to 34 years of age were more likely to be involved in rear-end crashes.
  • Most rear-end collisions happened when the weather was clear, during the daytime and on "straight, level roads."

What to do

Every Tennessee driver on the road has the duty to follow traffic laws and operate his or her vehicle with reasonable care. When a driver deviates from those standards and causes a rear-end accident through negligence or recklessness, he or she will be liable for injury and damage to others on the road harmed as a result.

It is extremely important to consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney if you or a loved one is harmed in a Tennessee rear-end crash. Your lawyer will launch an investigation of the incident on your behalf and consult experts when necessary, like accident reconstructionists and medical experts.

Since pain from neck injuries like whiplash can be so subjective, a skilled attorney will collect strong medical evidence to prove your injuries and their symptoms of pain and limitation, and will know how to present your claim. In addition to medical expenses and pain and suffering, your attorney can seek other damages to which you may be entitled like lost wages, property damage and more. Finally, knowledgeable legal counsel will negotiate with the involved insurance companies on your behalf.

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