Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents that occur in Austin and elsewhere. A widely held misconception is that these crashes do not result in serious injuries.
While it is true that rear-end crashes often do not cause as much property damage to vehicles as do other types of car accidents, the injuries that victims suffer often are highly painful and expensive to treat.
Seeking compensation for one's injuries and other losses after a rear-end collision can be a headache, too. This is especially true if you have never dealt with an insurance claim before or with the Texas civil justice system. You will need an Austin personal injury attorney's assistance.
First, let's take a closer look at the injuries that victims often suffer in these accidents.
What 'Invisible Injuries' Occur in Rear-End Car Wreck?
Not all injuries you suffer in a car accident are immediately apparent. For this reason, you may fail to seek medical attention directly after your rear-end accident. However, you would be wrong to do so.
Some injuries are "invisible." They may not become apparent until a few days following your accident. This is why you should always get checked for injuries as soon as possible after a car accident of any type, including a rear-end collision. These injuries include:
Many people will report back pain after being involved in a rear-end collision. According to MedlinePlus, common accident-related back injuries include:
- Sprains and strains
- Herniated discs
- Fractured vertebrae.
A common trait of these injuries is pain. If you have lower back pain after being rear-ended, it could be a sign of a more serious injury. You should seek medical care immediately.
Neck injuries and whiplash
Another common type of injury sustained in a rear-end collision which may not have any obvious symptoms is whiplash. This injury occurs when the neck and head are rapidly forced backward and forward, creating a snapping motion (much like the snap of a whip, hence the injury's name). According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain in the neck and neck stiffness
- Deceased range of motion in the neck
- Tenderness in the shoulders or upper back
- Memory problems
- Sleep disturbances.
If you notice any changes in mood after a car accident, it could be the sign of a whiplash injury or even of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Migraines after car wreck could also be a sign of a more serious problem.
Traumatic brain injury
A concussion is the most common type of TBI. This injury involves symptoms such as changes in emotion, confusion, dizziness, loss of consciousness, trouble sleeping, extreme fatigue, amnesia, listlessness, dilated pupils, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, loss of balance or coordination and sensitivity to light or sound. If a concussion or other TBI type is not diagnosed and treated, a victim may be at greater risk of permanent and irreversible harm.
Again, even if you do not think that you have been injured in a rear-end collision, you should go to the hospital to get checked out. You should not assume that you are fine unless a doctor gives you a clean bill of health.
Why Should You File a Claim After a Rear-End Crash?
Another reason that a rear-end collision can result in a headache is this: Fault may be disputed. While the rear driver is usually assumed to be at fault, this is not always the case. If you believe that the crash was the fault of the other driver, you should file a claim for damages. Because of Texas' at-fault laws, the insurance company of the at-fault driver would be responsible for paying for your damages, which may include any property damage to your vehicle, your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering and more.
If fault is disputed, you would need to prove the fault of the other driver by collecting evidence and building a strong case. Types of evidence that can be used to hold the other driver liable for damages include:
- Witness testimony
- Video evidence
- Analysis by accident reconstruction experts.
If the other driver caused the crash, be sure to file your claim as soon as possible. Waiting too long to take action may result in your claim being time-barred.
How Can a Lawyer Help You After a Rear-End Accident?
In many cases, those who are involved in a rear-end collision do not take immediate action. They fail to seek medical care and file a claim as soon as they can after an accident occurs. This may be because they assume that the accident is not a big deal and no serious injuries were suffered. However, later on, the victim may discover that he or she has whiplash, a concussion or a back injury. When this happens, filing a claim and obtaining damages can be more difficult to do. In some cases, it may be too late.
Even if you do seek medical care and report the accident to the insurance company, disputes can arise concerning fault and paying for damages.
Your accident attorney can help you to establish fault and pursue compensation for your injuries and other losses. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, your attorney can take your case to court and litigate on your behalf.
Contact Our Austin Car Accident Lawyers Today
At Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, we know what you are going through after a car wreck. We understand that you need answers to your tough questions about how to pursue compensation.
We will work hard to give you accurate and knowledgeable answers, and we will work with you to build a strong case.
To learn more, contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.