According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 30 percent of vehicle crashes are rear-end collisions. In 2018, rear-end collision cases resulted in nearly 2,500 fatalities and over 500,000 injuries. If you’ve been rear-ended by a negligent driver, the damage to your vehicle might be minor compared to the extreme damage caused by some other types of crashes. Your injuries, however, could be very serious.
Reasons for a Rear-End Collision in Maryland
The driver who hits another car from behind is generally at fault in a rear-end collision in Maryland. Common causes of such accidents include:
- Speeding: Driving too fast makes slowing down difficult when a car ahead stops suddenly.
- Tailgating: Driving too closely to the car ahead can lead to a crash when that car slows down or stops.
- Distracted driving: Talking or texting on a cell phone, conversing with a passenger, adjusting the radio, eating, or taking care of children in the car can prevent a driver from seeing a vehicle that has stopped or slowed down ahead.
- Weather: Wind, fog, rain, snow, or icy roads can make it hard for a driver to stop a car. All drivers are required to take road conditions into consideration and operate their vehicles safely.
- Changing Lanes: Looking left, right, or to the rear can take a driver’s attention away from a car slowing down or stopping ahead.
- Drugs or alcohol: Impairment due to the use of drugs or alcohol can lead to drowsiness or decreased rection time when a vehicle ahead stops.
If you’ve been in a rear-end collision due to any form of driver negligence, Maryland law allows you to file a claim within 3 years against the at-fault driver for your damages, including medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Injuries Suffered in Rear-End Collisions
Rear-end collisions can cause a variety of serious injuries requiring medical treatment, surgery, and/or ongoing physical therapy. Some of these injuries might be permanent, preventing the victim from returning to work and requiring medical care for life:
- Neck injuries. The most common injury in a rear-end collision is whiplash, which stretches nerves and tendons in the neck, possibly damaging vertebrae. Headaches, restricted neck movement, and other problems can result.
- Head Injuries. A victim’s head might strike a window, headrest, airbag, or steering wheel, resulting in a concussion, vision changes, a traumatic brain injury, and/or loss of cognitive function.
- Broken bones. Hands or feet can be fractured when a driver or passenger braces for rear impact. Seat belts can also break pelvises or ribs in a rear-end collision.
- Back and spinal cord injuries. Extension or twisting of the spine can result in herniated discs. A powerful impact from the rear can also damage or sever the spinal cord, leading to total or partial paralysis, loss of ability to work, and the need for lifelong care.
- Facial injuries. Broken glass or flying objects in the car can lead to eye injuries, facial cuts, and scarring.
While the driver of the trailing car is usually at fault in a rear-end collision in Maryland, there can be exceptions if the leading vehicle:
- Has no functioning brake lights
- Reverses without warning
- Stops abruptly for no reason
- Makes an unexpected turn without signaling
In such cases, the driver of the leading vehicle might be found partially at fault for the accident. Because Maryland follows a contributory negligence standard, even one percent of fault will bar a driver from receiving any compensation for damages. The insurance company’s adjusters and lawyers will do everything possible to show you were partially at fault and deny your claim. That’s why it is vital for you to have an experienced car accident lawyer fighting to prove the driver who rear-ended you was 100% at fault.
When You’ve Been Injured in a Rear-End Collision, Contact an Experienced Maryland Car Accident Lawyer
Timely reporting, prompt medical attention, and the services of an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer can help you to get fair compensation for your damages. Please contact us online, start a chat, or call us to schedule a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency-fee basis, so you pay no attorney fees unless we win your case.