Back and neck injuries from rear-end collisions can result in significant pain, permanent impairments, and financial losses. Some victims are unable to work or perform routine daily activities. Since rear-end car accidents are very common in the United States, it can help to know what to expect if you are involved in a rear-end accident.

How Common are Rear-End Crashes in the United States?

During 2017, there were over 2.1 million reported rear-end collisions in the United States. For that year, rear-end crashes accounted for about one-third of all motor vehicle accidents nationwide.

Rear-end accidents result in fatalities and injuries. According to the data, 615,000 rear-end accidents resulted in injuries. Additionally, 2,456 accidents resulted in a fatality.

What Types of Injuries Do People Sustain in Rear-End Collisions?

Rear-end accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries. The injuries range from minor aches and pains to catastrophic and life-threatening conditions. For some people, a rear-end crash can result in permanent impairments that prevent them from working or caring for themselves.

Common rear-end accident injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • whiplash
  • traumatic brain injury
  • concussion
  • neck and shoulder injuries
  • spinal cord injuries
  • back injuries
  • chronic headaches
  • limited range of motion
  • chest injuries
  • seat belt syndrome

Injuries from a rear-end car accident can be serious. If you’ve been rear-ended in Mobile, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment. 

How Do Rear-End Accidents Cause Injuries?

Insurance companies often refer to rear-end accidents as “fender benders.” They categorize these crashes as minor accidents. However, for the victims, a rear-end accident is anything but minor.

A video from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) illustrates how dangerous a rear-end accident can be for the vehicle occupants.

When another vehicle strikes your vehicle from the rear, you are thrown back into your seat for a second. Then, very forcefully, your head and upper body are thrown forward with a sudden, violent motion. Your body then “whips” backward into the seat.

The “whipping” motion and the force of the motion can cause serious neck and back injuries. Being slammed against the seat and headrest can also cause injuries.

Neck Injuries After a Rear-End Accident


Whiplash is the most common neck injury caused by a rear-end accident. Whiplash occurs when your head is “whipped” back and forth when your vehicle is struck from behind. The “whipping” motion can cause damage to the ligaments, cervical muscles, nerves, discs, and intervertebral joints.

Insurance companies downplay the severity of whiplash injuries. However, whiplash can result in chronic pain, limited range of motion, and other symptoms. While many cases of whiplash heal entirely within a few months, some cases of whiplash result in chronic, ongoing symptoms.

Common symptoms of whiplash include, but are not limited to:

  • headaches
  • limited range of motion or neck stiffness
  • neck pain
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • pain or numbness in the arms and hands
  • ringing in the ears
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • trouble sleeping

A doctor may prescribe a variety of treatments for whiplash. Whiplash treatments may include pain medications, rest, muscle relaxants, cervical braces, antidepressants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. In severe cases, a person could require physical therapy, cervical traction, or surgery.

Other Back and Neck Injuries from Rear-End Accidents

In addition to whiplash, a person might suffer other neck and back injuries in a rear-end collision. Some of the common injuries sustained in a rear-end accident include:

  • Spinal stenosis from a bone fragment or ruptured disc applying pressure the spinal cord nerves.
  • Herniated discs can cause problems with movement and severe pain. a herniated disc occurs when the cushion between the vertebrae in the neck or back bulge out of place.
  • Spinal cord injuries may result in complete or partial paralysis. the extent of the paralysis depends on where the injury is located and the severity of the injury. the damage is more severe when injuries are higher on the spinal column.
  • Vertebrae fractures can occur at any point on the spinal column. common injuries include extension, compression, flexion, and rotation spinal fractures.

If you are injured in a rear-end accident, you should seek immediate medical care. Prompt diagnosis of a back or neck injury is essential for developing a treatment plan that gives you the best chance of recovery.

Also, prompt medical treatment increases your chance of recovering full compensation for your injuries. Delays in medical care, especially in cases of whiplash, can hurt your injury claim.

Treatments for Rear-End Crash Injuries

The treatments for neck and back injuries resulting from a rear-end collision vary. A doctor may perform a variety of tests to determine the exact injury and the extent of the injury. CT scans, MRIs, and x-rays may be used in combination with physical evaluations.

Depending on the type of injury and the severity of the injury, your doctor may prescribe a combination of medications to treat your injuries. In severe cases, you may require surgery, physical therapy, and other treatments to help you recover from rear-end crash injuries.

Who is Liable for Damages Caused by a Rear-End Accident?

In most cases, the person who rear-ends the car in front of them is responsible for damages caused by the crash. The driver may have been following too closely, distracted, texting, or speeding. Even though the driver in front may have slammed on breaks without warning, the person in the rear is liable for failing to stop.