Can a Rear-End Accident Really Be Deadly?

Rear-end accidents rank among the most common car crashes in the U.S. They could occur at any speed, from a speeding vehicle hitting a stopped one to the vehicle getting tapped at a red light.

If a semi truck rear ends you, especially an 18-wheeler, the impact could be way worse. In general, trucks are much bigger than the average car. It is a no-brainer that the bigger the vehicle, the worse the damage.

It should come as no surprise to learn that high-speed rear-end auto accidents usually result in fatal injuries. Though, even a slight fender bender could leave passengers and motorists severely hurt. If you have been a victim of a rear end accident, call us at McDonald Worley and speak with our Houston auto accident lawyers to explore your legal options.

Can a Rear-End Accident Be Deadly?

In the simplest terms, a rear-end accident is when the front-end of one vehicle hits the rear-end of another car traveling in the same direction.. At the point of impact, the trailing vehicle is typically going faster than the leading car. The leading vehicle is usually not moving.

For people in the leading vehicle, the sudden, unforeseen acceleration creates several of the injuries that you associate with rear-end crashes. The occupants of both automobiles in a rear-end collision risk suffering severe injuries or a fatality.

Rear-End Collision Statistics

According to NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), rear-end collisions account for over 30 percent of all reported two-car crashes in America annually, and more than 500,000 result in injuries. By any measure, rear-end accidents are a critical public health hazard on U.S. roads.

Each year, there are over one million rear-end collisions on U.S. highways, meaning there are around three rear-end accidents per minute.

Driver Distraction is a Critical Role

Research shows that over 80 percent of rear-end car accidents included going over the speed limit due to driver distraction.

A distraction makes it more likely motorists will fail to respond in time to an automobile in front of them. A recent study found that motorists looking away from the road at the beginning of lead-vehicle braking had considerably longer brake-reaction times than motorists whose visual focus was on the road ahead.

Rear-End Collision Injuries

For the passenger and driver of the trailing vehicle in a rear-end collision, the likely range of injuries does not vary significantly from the types of injuries they could get in many other types of accidents. If they have front-impact airbags and wear their seat belts, the individuals in these automobiles could hope to avoid life-threatening injuries. Still, they might suffer pain, lacerations, broken bones, head trauma, and back injury.

By contrast, the leading car occupants in a rear-end collision encounter substantial dangers that are somewhat specific to this type of accident. When the impact happens, the lead car accelerates suddenly and powerfully. The safety systems that may safeguard these passengers in a frontal collision do not automatically possess the same efficiency in this scenario. As their bodies abruptly jerk forward, then decelerate as their car comes to a rest, lead car occupants suffer painful injury-causing, unusual forces.


Whiplash is one of the most misunderstood, common injuries in motor vehicle crashes.

An unsuccessful stereotype connected with this injury sometimes has individuals thinking it is not a huge deal or is fake.

Whiplash is a severe injury. The common misconception is that whiplash could heal on its own, but not all the time. People with whiplash injuries experience other symptoms such as muscle strain, chronic pain, bruised muscles, and headaches for months or even years.

Spine and Back Injuries

People in the leading automobile in a rear-end collision also deal with the danger of spine and back injuries. The same physical forces that produce a neck injury and severe neck pain could also endanger a cervical spine to harm, like cracked vertebrae or burst discs.

The swelling and injuries could also create spinal cord damage. Spine injuries typically produce temporary or permanent paralysis.

Brain Injury and Head Trauma

Usual in all car accidents, brain injury, and head trauma often happen with motorists and passengers of the leading car in a rear-end accident. Some of these injuries come from the occupants’ heads hitting a hard surface in a vehicle. But the character of a brain injury is such that it could happen even when an individual’s head does not suffer a physical blow.

Instead, the head experiences a violent force like the force wielded in the “whipping” movement related to whiplash injuries. Brain damage could produce blurred vision and powerful motor, emotional, and cognitive impairment, at times permanent.


Even though rear-end accidents result in fewer fatalities than many other accident types, they could be a significant risk to rear-seat passenger vehicles. A recent study stated that roughly 75% of all deaths due to rear-end accidents resulted from the breakdown of the compartment of the leading car. Occupants in the backseats of these automobiles suffer a significant risk of being injured or crushed due to blunt force trauma when the passenger vehicles crumble around them.

How to Avoid Rear-End Accidents

Despite your best efforts, a collision sometimes finds you. But as a motorist, there are things you could do to avoid suffering severe damage due to dangerous rear-end accidents both as the leading car driver and trailing driver.. These include:

No distracted drivers: As the research shows, avoiding distractions is the one significant step you could take to stop yourself from becoming the trailing driver in a rear-end crash. Don’t attempt to drive and eat, text, or have a heated discussion with your passengers. It would help if you did not do anything but driving.

No tailgating: Tailing another car too closely decreases a motorist’s safe space necessary to react to abrupt changes in speed by leading vehicles. A rear driver should be at least two car-length behind the leading car. The separation significantly lessens the probability of road rage or a deadly accident.

Keep away from aggressive motorists: A driver gains nothing by attempting to get even with an aggressive driver. If a motorist is on top of your backside, change lanes and let the car pass. Not moving over or slamming on your brakes to scare the motorist incites a rear end crash that you end up taking the force of the impact.

Use caution on slick roads: Every motorist has the responsibility to drive at a safe speed for road conditions. When streets are slippery and wet, driving at a safe speed also means going at a safe distance from the leading vehicle. Decreasing your rate to give your car some extra stopping space, being aware of anyone following you too closely in adverse weather conditions could help keep you safe.

Choose a vehicle with driver assistance features: You should select a car with driver assistance features such as automatic braking systems and collision warning systems. These car extras hold the promise of decreasing deadly rear end accidents. Driver assistance features are worth the money.

Hire Our Houston, Texas Personal Injury Attorney.

You get injured in a rear end collision. In that case, our experienced car accident attorneys in Houston, Texas, will deal with the insurance company, making sure you get compensated for your medical costs. When you are ready to take legal action, contact us by phone or online at our website. Your personal accident attorney’s actions provide maximum compensation and positive results.


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