According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 6 million car accidents occur each year. Of that number, about 40% are classified as rear end collisions. Thanks to advanced safety features, many people walk away from fender benders and even more serious accidents completely unharmed. However, it’s not uncommon for injuries to result from traffic collisions.
If you are rear ended, any number of injuries could result, but some are much more common than others. When an accident happens and adrenaline is high, you might not notice aches and pains immediately, but when you are aware of what could occur, you may be more inclined to take inventory and seek medical attention. Here are some of the most common injuries resulting from being rear ended.
When your car is rear ended, it can cause your head to snap back and forth in a violent motion, damaging the soft tissue of your neck. This could leave you with symptoms ranging from mild soreness to serious pain and associated side effects like migraines.
The worst thing about whiplash is that it could take days or weeks to realize the full extent of your injury. Whiplash is the injury most often associated with rear end collisions because victims generally don’t see the accident coming and are unable to brace for impact.
Traumatic brain injuries are also common following rear end collisions, and concussions are perhaps the most frequent type. The sudden snapping motion of the neck and/or a blow to the head could cause your brain to bounce or twist inside your skull.
This trauma can lead to swelling around the brain and symptoms like dizziness, headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and even amnesia. Some people who experience concussions pass out (although some do not). You may not realize you have a concussion right away, so it’s best to get checked out by a medical professional.
When your body is thrust forward during a rear end collision, you could end up with broken bones from hitting the steering wheel, dashboard, or other surface of the car. It’s not uncommon for broken bones to occur in the hands, feet, ribcage, spine, and skull.
Any rear end collision could result in injury, but at high rates of speed, the outcomes could be much worse. When serious spinal injury occurs, the result could be some form of paralysis, either temporary or permanent. It all depends on where and how the spine is injured and the severity of the trauma.