Of the 84,786 motor vehicle crashes that occurred in Arizona in 2011, almost half were rear-end collisions. Although most rear-end accidents occur at low speeds, they resulted in 65 fatalities in 2011, equalling more than 5 deaths per month.
High-volume traffic and speeding motorists are major causes of rear-end car accidents. Because cell phone technology is becoming more and more advanced, distracted driving is also becoming more prevalent, which is another behavior that often leads to rear-end collisions. Alcohol use is a leading contributing factor that causes rear-end collisions. Of the 3,102 alcohol related crashes in Arizona in 2011, 41% were rear-end accidents.
While some rear-end accidents leave victims entirely unscathed, others cause injuries that are potentially serious. The most common injuries that result from rear-end accidents are whiplash, brain injury, broken bones, concussion, muscle tears, neck injuries and spinal cord injuries that include herniation and compression fractures of the vertebrae.
The best way to avoid a rear-end accident is to abide by the national rule of thumb when it comes to following another vehicle: Keep at least 2 seconds of distance on roadways and 4 seconds of distance on highways. Rear-end accidents generally occur due to motorists not leaving enough room in between cars, which is a behavior called tailgating. When a motorist tailgates another driver, reaction time is decreased and it becomes more difficult to make snap decisions like braking or steering out of the way when necessary.
Arizona is a fault state , meaning that each drivers’ insurance company is responsible to pay for damages for medical claims, wage loss and other expenses based on the degree of fault. The state uses a pure comparative fault rule, meaning that an injured person can recover damages, even if they are mostly at fault, based on a scale that reflects their percentage of fault.
According to Arizona attorney Martin Solomon of Solomon & Relihan, when a rear-end crash occurs the trailing driver will be found to be at fault and liable for any damages. The only time that the trailing driver would not be found liable is if the driver of the front car was driving recklessly. An example of an exception to this rule is when one vehicle was not directly in front of another until just moments before the crash occurred, and swerved into the lane therefore causing the accident.
Victims of rear-end collisions may recover compensation for their damages that includes property damage, medical costs, lost income, projected lost income and pain and suffering. If the crash was fatal, loved ones of the victim may be able to receive money for medical costs, funeral costs, lost income of the person killed and loss of companionship.