Rear-End Accidents: The Who, What, Why, and Where

Rear-End Accidents

Rear-end accidents are surprisingly common. In fact, they are the single most common type of traffic accident throughout both the state and the country. In 2014 alone, over 85,000 rear-end collisions occurred on the streets of Illinois.

Given its prevalence—the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that nearly half of all two-vehicle traffic accidents are rear-end collisions2—it’s important to understand the nature of the problem and what can be done to prevent injuries.

The What: Understanding Rear-End Accidents

A rear-end collision occurs when one vehicle collides directly into the back of the vehicle in front of it. Crashes often occur when:

  1. The leading driver slams on his or her brakes too quickly;
  2. The following driver accelerates too quickly; or
  3. The following driver fails to notice a slow-down in traffic
  4. The following driver is driving too close (tailgating)
  5. The following driver is driving too fast for the road condition such as wet, icy, damaged surface or other road hazards.
  6. The following driver is driving too fast when the visibility has been reduced by rain, snow, fog, lighting conditions, etc.
  7. The following driver is distracted by fatigue, texting while driving, putting on make-up, looking at their phone, alcohol, drug impairment, etc.

People who have been rear-ended in a car accident tend to suffer a variety of traumatic injuries, but the most common repercussion is whiplash. The term whiplash actually describes a diverse set of neck-related injuries that can range from minor to severe. It typically results from a sudden jolting of the body that occurs when a vehicle is hit from behind.

The Why: Causes of the Typical Rear-End Collision

While any combination of factors can contribute to a crash, the NTSB singles out driver inattention as being worthy of particular note. According to one study, distracted driving was present in at least 87 percent of rear-end accidents. The failure of drivers to detect and respond to slowing traffic would therefore be a primary cause of such collisions.2

The Who: Assigning Blame and Understanding Rear-End Collision Fault Laws

In most cases, the driver that rear-ends another vehicle is at least partially at fault. That’s because there is an expectation that every driver will leave enough space between vehicles to avoid collisions. However, if there has been negligence on the part of the leading car, at least part of the blame may fall on the driver of the rear-ended vehicle.

The Where: Contact Shuman & Associates If You’ve Been Involved in a Rear-End Collision

Whether you’ve rear-ended a car or been rear-ended by another car, it’s important to contact a car accident attorney immediately. Only an experienced lawyer can protect you from an unfair lawsuit or help you obtain compensation in a rear-ended car accident settlement. Contact the seasoned attorneys at Shuman & Associates today to take advantage of our expertise and explore your legal options.

If You Or Someone You Know Has Been Involved In A Car Accident, CALL (800) 722-9744 NOW To Speak To An Experienced Injury Attorney For FREE.

Since 1996, the Law Offices of Marc J. Shuman & Associates has been helping Car Accident victims, all injured victims and their families navigate the complex legal process. As experienced personal injury, worker’s compensation, auto accidents, compensated and wrongful death attorneys, we can help you evaluate the facts, assess your options, navigate the legal challenges, and advocate on your behalf. Marc J. Shuman & Associates has over 77 combined years of experience advocating for over 10,000 injury victims and their families recovering over 50 million dollars on their behalf.  We advocate on your behalf, so you can focus on the task of recovery.


  1. Illinois Department of Transportation. “2014 Illinois Crash Facts and Statistics.” Page 14.
  2. National Transportation Safety Board. “The Use of Forward Collision Avoidance Systems to Prevent and Mitigate Rear-End Crashes.”

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