Worcester lies about one hour west of Boston. There are nine colleges in this city of 200,000,which makes it the second largest city in all of New England. Combined with a lively arts community and ethnic restaurants, it is a top attraction for tourists and families seeking excellent education for their children and cultural advantages for all. But along with a moderate sized population comes big city issues. Car accidents are not uncommon as they are anywhere else. And among the most common type of car accident is the one where you are hit from behind, or a rear-ender.
Massachusetts has thousands of car accidents each year. About 45% of these accidents are hit-from-behind accidents. If you are a motorist and have not been involved in a rear-end accident, then count yourself among the lucky few. When stopped at a red light, in heavy stop and go traffic, or navigating the snowy and icy streets of Worcester in the winter, be aware that you could be a victim of a careless driver.
Causes of Rear-End Accidents
Rear-end accidents occur from a variety of causes:
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Sudden stop by the car in front
- Rapid acceleration by a car to your rear
- Icy conditions causing car to slide into you
- Congested traffic conditions
- Stop and go traffic
- Distracted driving (cellphone use)
- Car behind you thinks you will go through a yellow light
- Defective brakes
- Taillights not operating
- Car in front intentionally stops in fraudulent insurance scheme
- Car suddenly swerves in front of you and slows immediately
Most rear-end accidents are fender benders or property damage only collisions. But a significant number do result in injuries, some of which are serious. Injuries may include:
- Neck and back injuries
- Broken limbs
- Traumatic brain injury
- Disfigurement from broken glass, striking the windshield, or from hitting the steering wheel
- Knee injuries
- Damage to internal organs
The severity of your injury will depend upon your own physical condition or pre-existing injuries that may be exacerbated by even a minor collision; by the speed on impact; and the size of the vehicle that collided with you. There is also the danger of a small vehicle running into the rear of a much larger one and resulting in an underride accident.
The most common type of injury sustained in rear-end accidents is the whiplash, or acceleration/deceleration type of accident. When struck from behind, your head and neck will initially be thrust backward before being violently snapped forward, damaging the tendons and muscles in your neck and back. This can result in headaches, nausea, chronic pain, and mobility issues that can last for weeks and months or even longer, or be indicative of more serious conditions that may require surgery.
In the majority of rear-end accidents, liability rests with the tailing driver. Insurers will nearly always find fault with that driver for failing to maintain a proper distance behind the driver in front, regardless of weather or congested traffic conditions. Even if the car in front stops suddenly, you should have anticipated such an incident by not speeding and keeping at least 3-car lengths behind the vehicle in front.
If you maintain that the head vehicle did not have its taillights operating, you will have to point this out to the investigating officer at the scene who can check to see if the brake lights were operating. Asserting this after the fact with no independent evidence will not convince anyone. This is also true if you claim the other driver deliberately stopped so you could impact him. Although staged accidents do occur, you will need some corroborating evidence such as testimony from a third motorist to support your claim.
Another difficult issue involves multiple vehicles. Under poor visibility conditions, there can be several or even dozens of cars that end up rear-ending the cars in front of them. If you are struck from behind, you may be pushed into the car in front of yours, or you may be hit several times from behind in a domino effect. It can be difficult to assess which vehicle started the process or which impact resulted in your injuries, since the initial impact may have been minor followed by a more severe one, or there were several severe impacts.
In cases like these, Worcester car accident lawyers are here to help with the maze of insurers involved and to sort out liability and possible apportionment of the damages to which you are entitled.
Retain Worcester Car Accident Lawyer Paul Tetzel
Paul Tetzel is one of the Worcester car accident lawyers from Tetzel Law who can handle your injury case from start to finish. Retaining him soon after your accident can ensure that your case is handled competently and thoroughly and that all avenues of compensation are exhausted, and that liability and insurance issues are resolved to your satisfaction. Call his office today for a free and in-depth consultation about your accident claim at (617) 933-3858.