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What Should You Do After A Rear-End Collision?

Legally reviewed by: Jenna-Marie Cosme August 19, 2022
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Have you been injured or suffered property damage to your vehicle in a rear-end collision? Filing a personal injury claim can help you gain compensation to pay for your medical bills and other costs incurred from the accident. At LegalFinders, you will be connected to top rear end accident attorneys near you, who can help you start the claims process. The attorneys we work with know you should not have to pay for medical expenses for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence. Let us help you pursue the compensation you need to get your life back on track. You can get started with a free consultation today.

Rear End Collision Lawyers

LegalFinders: Find The Best Rear End Car Accident Attorney In Your Area

Rear-end accidents can lead to a range of injuries for accident victims, from whiplash and broken bones to spinal cord injuries and even fatalities. These collisions may even lead to three-car accidents or multiple-vehicle pileups, which can cause even greater damage and numerous injuries to car accident victims.

Anyone who is injured in a rear-end collision may be able to seek recourse by starting a personal injury case. These cases allow accident victims to pursue compensation from the negligent party (the driver who caused the accident). In many cases, this is the driver of the rear vehicle, who slams into your vehicle, causing the car crash.

However, if more than two vehicles are involved, the vehicle behind you may not be at fault. Determining fault helps you identify the liable party — that is, the person or party that can be held responsible for your injuries and paying for costs related to said injuries.

Unfortunately, fault is not always straightforward. This is why it helps to work with a rear-end collision lawyer, who can examine details of the collision to help determine the liable party or parties.

Once you determine who is at fault, you’ll know who to bring your claim against. When you’re ready, an experienced lawyer can help you file your car accident claim within the deadline and through the proper legal channels.

Causes Of Rear End Collisions

As with many types of car accidents, rear-end collisions may occur due to a number of reasons. Perhaps the most common cause of rear-end accidents is tailgating, which occurs when the rear driver is too closely following the front driver.

In fact, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that about 81% of all rear-end car crashes occur when the front vehicle is stopped — indicating that the rear vehicle was traveling too closely to the front vehicle. Other causes of rear-end collisions include:

  • Speeding/traveling too fast for road conditions
  • Distracted driving (i.e. looking at cell phone)
  • Drunk driving
  • Unpredictable weather conditions
  • Traffic jams
  • Driver error
  • Unexpected roadblocks, leading to quick or abrupt stops
  • Inexperienced drivers
  • Car manufacturing defects (i.e. faulty brakes)

Where Do Rear-End Accidents Happen

Like other auto accidents, rear-end car accidents can occur anywhere that two or more motor vehicles are traveling in a row. But are there some areas where rear-end collisions are more likely? These collisions tend to occur on highways and freeways, simply because this is where drivers are most likely to travel at high speeds and have unexpected stops, such as from a traffic jam due to construction on a freeway.

This does not mean interstates are the only places where rear-end collisions occur. However, when rear-end collisions occur at high speeds, they can lead to serious injuries, or even fatalities for the accident victims. This is especially true if the rear driver is in a larger vehicle, such as a semi-truck, and the front driver is in a smaller vehicle, like a passenger vehicle.

Injuries That May Result From Rear End Crashes

A range of injuries may result from rear-end collisions. The type and severity of rear end collision injuries are often directly related to how fast the rear motorist was traveling when their vehicle hit the front vehicle, as well as whether the victim was wearing their seat belt.

For example, a crash at low speed that results in a rear-end collision but doesn’t cause your airbag to deploy may not lead to catastrophic injuries, but may cause something more minor, such as whiplash or hitting your head on the steering wheel.

High-speed rear-end collisions or pileup rear-end car accidents with compounding force can lead to more serious injuries. Common injuries that may result from rear-end accidents include:

  • Bone fractures
  • Back injuries
  • Head injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Chest and rib injuries
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Spine injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Wrongful death

Even if you didn’t experience a serious injury, it’s important to seek medical attention. You may not have signs of an injury yet, due to the shock of the crash. If you decide to file an injury claim later, having medical records on file is important, as this will help your lawyer prove that the injuries were caused by the crash and not another event.

Note that in most states, you can file a personal injury claim to seek compensation for medical costs even if your injuries were minor. You should not have to pay for injuries caused by someone else. Reach out to LegalFinders to get in touch with a rear-end accident lawyer now.

Rear End Collision Accident Statistics In The U.S.

In the United States, rear-end car accidents accounted for 2,346 fatal accidents in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This was 7.1% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that year. Other facts regarding rear-end collisions in the U.S. include:

Rear-end accidents

1.7 million

on U.S. roadways every year

Rear-end fatalities


and another 500,000 being injured

Rear-end accidents

occur mostly during the day

and most commonly because the following driver did not realize the lead driver was stopped

Male drivers

ages 25-34

most likely to be involved in rear-end car accidents

Driver distraction

number 1 leading cause

for rear-end collisions

Steps To Take After A Rear End Car Accident

First and foremost, you should always seek medical care following any type of car accident. This is true even if you don’t feel injured at first. Sometimes, adrenaline from the shock of the collision can mask pain or injuries. Other injuries may be internal, like soft tissue damage or damage to organs.

Once you have secured emergency medical attention for yourself or anyone else who is injured, it’s important to report the collision to local authorities. Most states require you to report any car crashes that result in injuries or property damage. Police reports may serve as crucial evidence in car accident cases.

After these steps are completed, you should take photos of the accident scene, including any vehicle damage, the roadway where it occurred (if possible), and more. If there are any witnesses, it may be helpful to take down their contact information in case you or your lawyer need it for your case.

Finally, you may want to contact a rear-end collision attorney with a reputable law firm. If possible, try to find an attorney with specific experience in rear-end collision cases, as this helps ensure you have someone with a targeted skill set working on your case.

The lawyer will take over the case for you after a thorough case review. They can help you contact your insurance company, explain how long you have to file your claim (a deadline known as the statute of limitations) and more.

They can help you identify the at fault party and determine what damages to claim. If your case ends up in court, they can guide you and help you understand the possible verdicts. In short, your lawyer will be your legal guide for your case from start to finish.

Legal Options For Car Accident Victims

It’s not necessary to file a personal injury claim after a rear end collision. However, if you don’t want to be saddled with medical bills from injuries you didn’t cause, it may be in your best interest to file a claim.

While not everyone will feel beginning a legal claim is the right step for them, it is the surest way to receive compensation for costs you shouldn’t have to pay — like injuries you suffered in an accident that wasn’t your fault.

When you’re ready to begin, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss whether you should file a personal injury claim or begin a personal injury lawsuit against the at fault party. The lawyer can explain the difference, as well as your legal rights as a car accident victim.


Still have questions regarding rear-end accidents and related personal injury cases? Browse answers to common questions in the list below.

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Rear End Collisions?

National crash data reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the most common cause of rear-end collisions is the rear driver not stopping in time to avoid crashing into the front driver.

This happens for a number of reasons, including tailgating, driver distraction, speeding, careless driving, and more.

Who Is Most Often At Fault In A Rear End Collision?

Much of the time, the rear driver is at fault in a rear-end car accident. If there are multiple cars involved, it is usually the driver in the car in the back of the pileup that caused the crash.

In some cases, unforeseen circumstances, such as a roadblock, traffic jam, or sudden weather changes, can also cause a rear-end collision.

What Kinds Of Injuries Can You Get From A Rear End Collision?

Car accident victims may experience a range of injuries from rear-end accidents. These are often caused by airbag deployment, or hitting one’s face on the dash, windshield, or steering wheel.

When accident victims are not wearing their seat belt, this can lead to catastrophic injuries. If another vehicle slams hard enough into their vehicle, it may cause accident victims to exit the vehicle. Soft tissue damage, brain injuries, and internal organ damage is also possible with rear-end crashes.

What Kind Of Property Damage Can You Expect In A Rear End Crash?

The rear of the vehicle can become greatly damaged in a rear-end car accident, but what does the scope of this damage look like? According to the Universal Technical Institute, vehicle damage from a rear-end collision could include:

  • Shifting of the exhaust system
  • Damage to the catalytic converter
  • Destruction of the drivetrain
  • Damage to the exhaust manifold
  • Muffler damage
  • Destruction of the engine mounts
  • Damage to the ‘Y’ pipe, which connects to the engine

Can The Front Driver Ever Be At Fault In A Rear-End Car Crash?

In rear-end collision cases, the rear driver is typically at fault — yet this is not always the case. Most states operate a principle of presumption of negligence for rear-end accidents, meaning the rear driver is presumed to have been negligent and, therefore, at fault.

Sometimes, the rear driver simply could not avoid hitting the front driver. For example, if the front driver was driving without working brake lights at the time of the crash, this is also an example of negligence. In this scenario, the front driver would be at fault for driving an inadequately maintained vehicle.

Another example includes car defects. That is, if the front driver was driving a vehicle which malfunctioned due to a manufacturing error, leading to the crash, neither driver would likely be considered at fault. Instead, the manufacturing company which assembled the faulty vehicle could be held liable.

Fault is a complex factor in car accidents, which is why it is best to work with a qualified legal team on your case.

LegalFinders Can Help You Find Top Rear End Car Accident Lawyers

After a rear-end collision, you need to work with the most qualified, highly esteemed lawyers available to help secure compensation for your injuries. At LegalFinders, we have you covered. We offer access to law offices with personal injury attorneys who have years of experience they can put to good use on your case. When you or your loved one are ready, call our helpline for your free consultation to get started.