Rear-End Collisions


While one car stops at a red light, another car behind them fails to stop. The second driver slams on their breaks, but it’s too late. They ram into the car in front of them.

This is a rear-end collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, around 28% of all accidents are rear-end collisions. Causes of these accidents include drivers who

  • Are distracted, drowsy, or intoxicated
  • Fail to stop within a reasonable time
  • Do not drive at a reasonable speed, either based on speed limits or road conditions, like wet pavement
  • Follow the car in front of them too closely
  • Do not yield the right of way, use turn signals, or obey other traffic laws

Rear-end collisions are generally not fatal, since they do not involve a head-on impact between the two cars. However, injuries from rear-end collisions still occur. The most common injury that occurs during a rear-end accident is whiplash. Whiplash is a soft tissue injury. It occurs when the neck and head move quickly, like as the result of a car accident. Whiplash is generally not a fatal injury, but it causes extreme pain, headaches, stiffness, and a decrease in range of motion. Rear-end collisions might also cause cuts or bruising, broken bones, or even concussions, if the impact causes someone’s skull to collide with a window, dashboard, or other object.

Who is liable in a rear-end collision?

Usually, the driver who rear-ended the other car is fully responsible for the damage and injuries. Of course, though, there are exceptions. The car that got rear-ended may also have contributed to the situation. For example, they may have reversed suddenly, or stopped but failed to turn in a timely manner. In other situations, the driver might have had improperly functioning brake lights, which would prevent the other driver for seeing that they were slowing down or stopping.

In situations like these, even though their car is damaged, the driver involved in the rear-end collision may be held somewhat responsible. When this happens, both drivers may be considered liable for any damages or injuries, although one party might be held more accountable than the other. If, for example, Driver A  is 20% responsible for the crash, while Driver B is 80% responsible, Driver A can collect compensation from Driver B. However, it would not be as much as they would collect if Driver B was found 100% responsible. This is called comparative negligence.

Call an Injury Attorney

While rear-end collisions are not always dangerous, it is still important to see a doctor after an accident. Soft-tissue injuries, like whiplash, may take time to develop. After a rear-end accident, particularly one with complicated liability, it may also be beneficial to contact a personal injury attorney.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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