Car accidents can happen at any time and can be caused by a variety of factors. These accidents occur when one vehicle collides with the rear end of another vehicle, often resulting in significant property damage and injuries. They’re among the most common types of car crashes there are. The National Safety Council reports there were 3,410,000 rear-end crashes in 2020, accounting for 41.6% of all car accidents between moving vehicles that year. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), rear-end collisions between two moving vehicles accounted for 2,428 fatal crashes in 2020 – 6.8% of all fatal accidents in the United States.
Rear-end collisions can happen for various reasons. Some of the common causes of these accidents in Tennessee include:
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is a leading cause of rear-end collisions. When drivers take their eyes off the road or their hands off the steering wheel, they are more likely to crash into the vehicle in front of them.
- Tailgating. Following too closely to the vehicle in front of you is another common cause of rear-end collisions. When drivers do not leave enough space between their vehicle and the one in front of them, they are more likely to rear-end the other vehicle if it suddenly stops.
- Speeding. Driving at high speeds increases the risk of rear-end collisions. When drivers travel at excessive speeds, they have less time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic patterns.
- Weather conditions. Rain, snow, and ice can make roads slick and increase the risk of rear-end collisions. Drivers should reduce their speed and increase their following distance when driving in adverse weather conditions.
- Poor visibility. When visibility is poor due to fog, rain, or darkness, drivers may not be able to see the vehicle in front of them. This can increase the risk of rear-end collisions.
- Poor vehicle maintenance. Balding tires and a buildup of brake dust can make it harder to stop a vehicle. Drivers who don’t keep maintain their cars may be more likely to hit another driver.
Consequences of rear-end collisions in Sevierville
Even when everyone survives, rear-end collisions can still result in serious injuries, including whiplash, back injuries, and head injuries. These injuries can require extensive medical treatment and result in long-term disability. They can also can cause significant damage to the vehicles involved. In some cases, one or both vehicles may be totaled and require replacement.
In Tennessee, drivers who are found to be at fault for a rear-end collision may be held liable for the damages and injuries caused by the accident. As your lawyers, one of the very first things we do is determine who is liable for the crash, because Tennessee’s rules regarding comparative negligence can affect your claim. By establishing that the other driver is at fault, we can make a better case for damages for your losses.
Is there a way to reduce the risk of a rear-end accident?
You can reduce the risk of causing a rear-end crash by keeping your car in good shape, obeying speed limits, and not driving distracted (or drunk). What you cannot do, of course, is control the behavior of other drivers.
As it turns out, though, the vehicles themselves may provide a tool to do just that. According to recent report in Car and Driver, “a new study shows a significant reduction in rear-end collisions for vehicles equipped with forward collision warning together with automatic emergency braking.” That study reviewed data collected from vehicles manufactured between 2015 and 2020 which came equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as forward collision warning (FCW), automated emergency braking (AEB), lane departure warning (LDW), and lane-keeping assist (LKA). Per Car and Driver:
Forward collision warning (FCW) combined with automated emergency braking (AEB) reduced the incidence of rear-end collisions by 49 percent. It’s not just low-speed crashes that are prevented—the technology reduced serious injury crashes of this type by 42 percent.
The study also looked at other advanced driver-assist systems, and there the results were less dramatic. Vehicles equipped with lane-departure warning (LDW) and lane-keeping assist (LKA) were less likely to be involved in single-car collisions where the vehicle stuck an object alongside the road, but the reduction was only 8 percent. Adding lane centering marginally increased the effectiveness, bringing the drop to 9 percent.
Despite any shortcomings ADAS may have – they’re not as effective when a car is traveling more than 40mph – the data shows they’re a step in the right direction when it comes to making the roads safer.
What to do if you are involved in a rear-end accident
If you are involved in a rear-end collision in Tennessee, there are several steps that you should take:
- Check for injuries. Check yourself and any passengers in your vehicle for injuries. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
- Move to a safe location. If possible, move your vehicle to the side of the road or a safe location. This can help prevent additional accidents or injuries.
- Exchange information. Exchange information with the other driver, including names, phone numbers, insurance information, and license plate numbers. You should also get contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
- Document the accident. Take pictures of the damage to both vehicles and the surrounding area. This can be useful when filing a claim with your insurance company.
- Notify your insurance company. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident and provide them with all the information you have gathered. However, provide them with only the facts and leave the details to your attorney.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you do not feel injured immediately after the accident, it is important to seek medical attention. Some injuries may not manifest until hours or even days after the accident.
- Consult with a Sevierville personal injury attorney. If you have been injured in a rear-end collision, you may want to consult with an attorney. An experienced lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and options for seeking compensation for your injuries and damages.
Rear-end collisions are a common type of car accident, but they can result in significant property damage and injuries. Drivers can take steps to prevent these accidents by avoiding distracted driving, leaving enough space between vehicles, reducing speed in adverse weather conditions, being aware of their surroundings, and properly maintaining their vehicles. If you are involved in a rear-end collision that wasn’t your fault, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure your safety and protect your legal rights.
When you’re injured in a car accident, whether it is a rear-end collision or another type of accident, it is important to take the necessary steps to protect your safety and legal rights. This includes seeking medical attention, reporting the accident to your insurance company, documenting the accident, and consulting with a Sevierville attorney if necessary.
The legal team at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC, can help. To discuss your rights to compensation after you were injured in an accident, call us or complete our contact form to arrange a free consultation. We represent clients in Sevierville, Seymour, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and the surrounding areas.
Attorney Bryan E. Delius was born and raised in Sevier County, TN. He founded Delius & McKenzie more than 20 years ago, after receiving his JD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He is admitted in Tennessee and in several federal court systems. Learn more about Bryan E. Delius.