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All About Back and Neck Injuries From Rear-End Collisions

All About Back and Neck Injuries From Rear-End Collisions

According to the National Safety Council, 40% of all car accidents in the U.S. take the form of rear-end collisions. Injuries from these accidents, in particular, are quite common. With no clear chance to get out of the way, taking the full impact of another vehicle can result in serious and potentially fatal injury to a driver and their passengers.

Like many other types of traffic accidents in Miami, rear-end crashes are often the fault of driver negligence. And, unless proven otherwise, it is assumed that the driver who collided with the vehicle in front of them caused the accident. Likely, they were either following too closely or driving too fast for the conditions at the time. 

However, exceptions can be made. If the lead vehicle’s brake lights weren’t operating, for instance, its driver may be found responsible instead. Nevertheless, regardless of who caused the collision, recovering from any resulting injuries should be everyone’s first concern. 

Common Rear-End Collision Injuries

Due to the angle of impact, certain injuries are more common in rear-end accidents than they would be in others, namely back and neck injuries. Brain injuries are another possibility, especially if the driver and passengers in the lead car were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.  


Research by the National Library of Medicine found whiplash to be the most common injury related to motor vehicle accidents, with around 83% of whiplash patients being involved in a collision. 

Whiplash occurs when the muscles and ligament of the neck are hyperextended (stretched beyond their usual range of motion). 

Symptoms may not always appear immediately, but they will usually include:

  • Headaches, particularly at the base of the skull
  • Fatigue
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain in the head, shoulders, or neck 

Whiplash can be mild and may resolve on its own, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Some people experience chronic pain and headaches for years after the initial injury. Treatments may include chiropractic care, exercises for improving neck strength and posture, and prescription or over-the-counter medications. 

Back Injuries

Several types of back injuries can occur after being rear-ended. The most common types of these involve the cervical vertebrae (neck) and thoracic vertebrae (upper back). Depending on the impact, damage to the lumbar vertebrae (lower back) may also occur, especially if the rear vehicle is a large SUV or truck

Some specific back injuries sustained in rear-end collisions include the following:

  • Vertebrae fractures
  • Facet joint injuries (injuries between spine bones)
  • Herniated discs
  • Spondylolisthesis (displaced vertebrae)
  • Degenerative spinal disorders (bulging discs or sciatica)
  • Discogenic pain (sharp pain shooting down one or both legs)
  • Sprains and strains

It’s normal to feel sore after being in even a relatively minor car accident. However, it’s important to note that a back injury may not first appear as back pain. Damage to the spine can cause pain to radiate to different areas of the body, such as the hands or feet. 

Nevertheless, the range of symptoms of a back injury runs from mild to severe and may include any of the following:

  • Burning or aching sensations down the back and into one or both legs
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pain when standing or walking
  • Sharp pain when changing positions, such as from sitting to standing
  • Stiff, tense muscles
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands, feet, or legs
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Shoulder pain

Back pain after being rear-ended can range from mild to debilitating. Should it become chronic, it can prevent an individual from working and enjoying their normal activities. Treatment for back injuries includes medications, physical therapy, corticosteroid injections, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

Who Is To Blame For Rear-End Collision Injuries?

Liability for a rear-end collision is usually placed on the following driver. However, since Florida is a no-fault state, each driver’s PIP insurance company is responsible for covering their policyholder’s expenses. 

Miami residents should also realize that Florida maintains a comparative negligence law. Therefore, even if an injured party is found partially to blame for an auto accident, they may still be entitled to some compensation from an at-fault driver. For example, even if it’s determined that the lead car was 45% responsible for the accident, they may still be awarded damages of up to 55% in a personal injury case.

What To Do About Neck or Back Pain After Being Rear-Ended

Each of the kinds of physical harm detailed above is particularly concerning, as the symptoms they present can include ongoing chronic pain, thereby affecting nearly every aspect of a person’s life. Making matters worse is that the symptoms of rear-end collision injuries don’t always appear immediately after an accident. 

With that in mind, if you have been in any type of car accident and are experiencing persistent neck or back pain, it is always recommended to seek medical attention as soon as possible, even if you don’t think you are injured. 

Diagnostic imaging may be needed to determine the cause of a neck or back injury after being rear-ended. Having a full medical evaluation can also rule out any other injuries you may not be aware of. 

Going forward, follow all medical advice and keep recommended appointments. Missing even a single therapy session could delay your recovery, and outright ignoring your symptoms does nothing but compound the danger they present to your health.

Untreated injuries can lead to chronic pain, which can lead to depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse. Don’t take a chance with your future and “tough it out,” even if you believe you are at fault for the collision.

Similarly, avoid signing any compensation agreements until you have consulted a Miami personal injury lawyer. The goal of every insurance company is to offer the lowest possible settlement. 

A Miami car accident lawyer will fight to make sure you receive fair compensation that takes care of your current and future medical needs. 

Contact Our Car Accident Law Firm in Miami, FL

If you’ve been injured in an accident in Miami, FL and need legal help, contact our Miami car accident lawyers at Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.

Shaked Law Personal Injury Lawyers
20900 NE 30th Ave Suite 715
Aventura, FL 33180
(305) 937-0191