Rear-end collisions are some of the most common types of accidents on Alabama’s roads. They are the number one type of collision in Alabama work zones, according to data from Drive Safe Alabama. Vehicles striking other vehicles caused 32,222 injuries in 2016 and 456 deaths. Although rear-end collisions can be deadly (especially when they involve commercial trucks), personal injuries are more common outcomes and may require the consultation of a car accident lawyer. Here’s what you need to know about the common causes of rear-end collisions, how to avoid them, and who may be liable for damages.

Common Rear-End Collision Causes and Injuries

The rear-end collision is such a common type of accident because it stems from drivers not paying attention to the road. Drivers cause most car accidents, often through acts of negligence such as speeding or driving under the influence. Driver errors were the contributing factors in at least 155,907 traffic accidents in Alabama in 2016. Driver distraction (particularly cell phone use) is one of the most common reasons for rear-end collisions, as well as:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Following too closely
  • Inattention to the road
  • Driver incompetence

When one vehicle strikes another from behind, the force of the collision can move the head and neck of the driver in the front vehicle rapidly back and forth. This can cause the most frequent rear-end collision injury: whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the tendons and muscles in the neck and back tear. Whiplash is a painful soft-tissue injury that can take months to heal. Other potential injuries include spinal cord injuries, slipped discs, head injury, brain injury, broken bones, and injury to the chest and knees.

Who Is At Fault for a Rear-End Collision?

Alabama is a fault car accident state. This means the at-fault party will be the one legally responsible for paying damages. To determine fault, one may need to order an investigation from police officers, insurance companies, or a law firm. Do not admit fault after any type of car accident in Alabama – especially if someone else rear-ended you. In most cases, the driver of the vehicle in the back will be at fault and liable for a rear-end collision since that driver likely could have prevented the accident with proper speed, following distance, and attention to the road.

There is a possibility of the other driver being at fault or at least partially at fault, however, if he or she is guilty of negligence such as making an improper lane change, brake-checking, or driving with broken taillights. If these actions cause the second driver to collide with the rear of the first vehicle, the first driver could be legal to blame. It’s also possible that a third party is at fault for the wreck, such as an auto manufacturer for a defective car part or the city for an unreasonably dangerous roadway.

Alabama is one of only a few contributory negligence states, meaning you won’t recover anything if you were partially responsible for the collision. You must prove that the other party was entirely to blame for your collision. Only then may you recover the costs of your medical bills, property repairs, lost wages, and other damages in Alabama. It’s important to hire an attorney to prove the other driver’s fault after a rear-end collision in Alabama. Otherwise, you could forfeit your right to recovery.

Why Hire an Attorney?

Hiring a lawyer can help you prove the other driver (and/or another party) was 100% at fault for your rear-end collision, giving you the opportunity to recover damages. Otherwise, you risk the defendant alleging your contributory fault and taking away your right to compensation. If your accident caused significant injuries, if you think the other driver was drunk, or if it was a hit-and-run accident, call an attorney in Huntsville. You’ll benefit from legal assistance for your case.