Common Type of Phoenix Rear-End Car Accidents

by Doug Zanes | Last Updated: December 7, 2021

Rear-end car accidents are by far the most common type of car crash. Many people perceive these as less dangerous because there is no head-on impact. That cannot be further from the truth. Even though the fatality rate may be lower in rear-end accidents, it does not mean that you will suffer less serious injuries.

Overall, rear-end crashes comprise over 40 percent of the total number of car crashes in Arizona. This is by far the most prevalent cause of car accidents. Even though there is more than twice the number of rear-end crashes than any other type of accident, these crashes cause the third most fatalities. However, rear-end crashes still cause a proportionate amount of injuries. More than one in four rear-end crashes will result in injury.

Drivers Cannot Follow Too Closely Behind Others in Phoenix

Arizona has a strict law on tailgating.

The law states that:

“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent and shall have due regard for the speed of the vehicles on, the traffic on, and the condition of the highway.”

Even if the front driver were to stop suddenly, the motorist behind them should have left enough space to allow them to avoid hitting the front car. The rear driver should stay focused on the brake lights for the car in front of them. However, drivers are not always paying attention.

One of the big dangers of a rear-end car crash is that it can cause a chain reaction. When rear-end crashes occur on highways, the cars behind the two initial cars may have trouble stopping in time, even when they have left enough room. Multi-car pileups are not uncommon on Arizona highways.

Why Rear-End Crashes Are a Particular Risk in Phoenix

The Phoenix area has several factors that can make rear-end accidents even more likely to happen.

These things, specific to Phoenix, raise the risk of rear-end crashes:

  • Higher speeds – Phoenix lends itself to motor vehicles and driving, and cars usually move freely on the roadways, often traveling at higher speeds. Drivers may miss their cue to stop in time and rear-end the car in front of them.
  • Bright sun – When drivers cannot see because of the sun, they do not see cars in front of them.
  • Intense heat – The burning heat of the Arizona desert increases the risk of rear-end crashes in several ways. First, drivers do not perform their best when it is scorching hot outside because they lose concentration. Second, the tires may get worn because of the excessive heat, and the car may not stop as quickly when the driver slams the breaks.

Common Causes of Rear-End Car Accidents

Besides the local causes of rear-end crashes, here are some reasons for these accidents that all drivers encounter:

  • Distracted driving – All it takes is a couple of seconds of a driver looking down at their phone to miss the opportunity to stop in time. At highway speeds, it just takes four or five seconds to travel the length of a football field. On urban Phoenix roads, the cars are closer together, and drivers can risk an accident by losing focus for a split second.
  • Mechanical issues – Drivers need every part of the car working to stop a large vehicle that weighs roughly 3,000 pounds in time. Their failure to perform regular maintenance or a small defect in a crucial part can make the difference between avoiding an accident and a hard collision.
  • Tailgating – Arizona has an aggressive driving problem. One aspect of aggressive driving is tailgating when drivers are right up on the bumper of the car in front of them. If the lead driver stops short, the rear driver will hit the back of their car, often at high speed.
  • Driver error – Even if a driver is not speeding or on their phone, they may simply make a mistake and not hit the brakes when they need to avoid hitting the car in front of them.

In almost all rear-end car crashes, the lead car is either stopped or traveling at a slow rate of speed. The trailing car either misjudges the speed of the car in front of them or does not see the vehicle. The rear car will hit the front car with a great deal of force.

Rear-End Car Accident Injuries May Not Be Apparent at the Accident Scene

Many people do not notice their injuries at the time of the accident. They may feel fine or exhibit slight symptoms. They may focus on the damage to their car instead of their medical situation. However, things may grow worse in the days following the accident. Injuries from rear-end crashes can linger and grow worse after the accident. You may not even know that you sustained injuries at the scene.

You should always see a doctor after a rear-end car accident to get checked out, even if you think that you are fine. The most common injury from rear-end crashes is whiplash. The symptoms of this injury are not always apparent at first. That does not mean that whiplash is any less serious. Many people think that it is a common injury. That part is true, but there are some severe cases of whiplash that require significant medical intervention.

What Is Whiplash and Why Does it Happen?

Whiplash happens when the head and neck snap forward suddenly, and the rest of the body is still. Whiplash occurs because the car accident has halted the rest of the body from moving, but the head and neck are still in motion. Many people in car accidents will suffer from whiplash. When you are read-ended, it places acceleration force on the neck muscles, causing the neck to snap forward. Whiplash can still happen in low-speed crashes or even when you are sitting still in traffic.

Whiplash Is Far More Serious than Many People Think It Is

Whiplash can cause:

You do not need to hit your head to suffer a TBI. When your head snaps forward, your brain moves inside of your head. The brainstem can slam into the skull, causing a concussion and damaging your brain tissue. Concussions can leave lasting damage.

Whiplash is far from a made-up injury, as insurance companies may allege. The real consequences can impose physical and financial costs.

TBIs can change the course of your life. While some people can recover from a TBI over time, many people are never the same again. Even after rehabilitation, they may never regain the same function they had before the accident.

Doctors Will Diagnose and Document Your Rear-End Car Accident Injuries

You cannot successfully file an insurance claim without proof of an injury, and this comes from a visit to a doctor. The physician will diagnose and document your injuries. You will have medical records that you can use in your claim that detail the severity of your injury. These records should also demonstrate why you cannot work because of your injury.

Delaying medical care after a rear-end accident increases the chances that the insurance company may deny your claim. They may argue that your neck or back injury was from something else and not the car accident. The more time passes after your accident without medical care, the easier it is for the insurance company to raise objections. You cannot delay medical care for many reasons, and one of them is that it will harm your claim.

The Presumption of Fault in a Rear-End Crash Is Not Absolute

The usual rule in a rear-end car crash is that the back car is the one to blame for the accident. Insurance companies will assume that the driver had the time and ability to stop, and they will pin the blame on that motorist. However, that is not always the case. For example, the car in front might cut off the rear driver or stop short in front of them. When that happens, the rear driver is not at fault. Nonetheless, there will be a presumption that the rear car is at fault for a rear-end accident because it is the one striking the vehicle in front of it. However, you can disprove this presumption with evidence.

Always Check with a Lawyer No Matter What Happened

Never assume that a certain result will stem from a car accident, no matter what you hear from insurers about the tried-and-true formula to decide liability in a rear-end crash. Even if you were the one who hit the car in front of you, there may still be a chance that you can recover compensation for your injuries.

Arizona law allows for you to receive some financial compensation, so long as you were not 100 percent to blame for the accident. Even if the front car bears only a small part of the fault, you can still get some money for your injuries, and every little bit helps.

Always make sure that you consult with a Phoenix car accident lawyer, no matter what the circumstances of your accident were. It does not cost you anything to have a conversation with an attorney because consultations are free. The lawyer can explain whether there is any pathway to financial compensation for you. The worst that happens is that the lawyer does not accept your case, and you owe nothing to them for it.

Fighting for Maximum Compensation for Rear-End Accident Victims

In addition, determining fault is only a part of your car accident claim. Even if liability in your accident is very clear-cut, you must still get the right amount of compensation for your accident.

Often, this is far more difficult than proving fault. The insurance company may know exactly who is to blame the second they receive the claim. Nonetheless, that will not stop the insurance company from trying to underpay your claim because they are not in the business of making it easy for you to get your money. You can expect that it will take months (or longer) to finally agree on compensation with the insurance company. You may even need to take your case to court to receive what you deserve.

Damages from a Rear-End Car Accident

You have the legal right to the following damages after your rear-end car accident:

  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical expenses
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Find a Hard-working Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer After a Rear-End Car Accident

An insurance company will use every trick possible to avoid paying you in full. When you suffer injuries in a rear-end car accident, they may take advantage of the perception that your accident was less serious and make you a lower offer. They may downplay the extent of your injuries because the last thing that they care about is you. Rear-end car crashes can be serious, and an experienced attorney will ensure that the insurance company knows the full extent of your injuries and cannot shade the truth in their favor.

The right law firm will provide you with zealous representation after you suffered injuries in a rear-end car accident. We will look out for your interests when seemingly everyone else is out for themselves. We will be in your corner when you need someone to fight for you. All you need to do is make the call to get us on the case, and we can begin assessing – and protecting – your rights at no initial cost to you.

Doug Zanes
Doug Zanes: Founding Attorney Raised in Douglas, Arizona, and went to college at Arizona State University and graduated from law school at St. Mary’s University School of Law in Texas. Doug began practicing law in Phoenix Arizona in 1997.
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