What Happens To Your Body In A Rear End Collision?

Updated 3 days ago
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Your body undergoes extensive trauma when in a rear-end collision. Your body tries to absorb the shocks from a crash, resulting in injuries. The severity of your injuries depends on the speed at which you're hit. These injuries could be slight like whiplash or a sprain or more concerning such as spinal or brain damage. Seek medical attention right away after an accident.

What happens in a car accident?

The force from the momentum of a rear-end impact is devastating to the body. Since the collision is coming from behind, there is no way to protect or prepare your body for the trauma it will undergo.

When you're hit from behind, your body will snap forward, and then back quickly. Your body attempts to absorb these shocks, resulting in minor to severe injuries depending on the speed of the driver who hits you. This normally results in a variety of injuries.

What types of injuries result from being rear-ended?

While this list isn't every possible injury that could occur, below are the most common types of injuries that may result from a rear-end accident


Whiplash is one of the most common injuries from a car accident. The Mayo Clinic best describes it as a "neck injury due to forceful, rapid back-and-forth movement of the neck, like the cracking of a whip."

Whiplash symptoms include:

  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Jaw pain
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Blurry vision

Whiplash treatments include:

  • Massage
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Neck exercises
  • Chiropractic

In rare cases, you may develop chronic whiplash, which requires nerve block injections for pain relief or even disc surgery.

Even with mild cases, it's unlikely you'll be able to work until your symptoms dissipate.

Injuries related to the spine and back

Car accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord and back injuries and should be taken very seriously.

Injuries to the spinal cord frequently result in permanent paralysis, so it's important not to ignore your pain and seek medical help.

Knowing the difference between a sore back and something more serious is important. Below are signs of a possible spinal code injury:

  • Extreme back pain
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Loss of sensation
  • Difficulty walking
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Injuries related to the head and brain

Traumatic brain injuries vary from a headache to something life-threatening. Due to them having similar symptoms, it may be hard to tell something serious apart from something less serious like whiplash.

Don't take the risk, if you hit your head during an accident, let your doctor know right away. Additional symptoms you may experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Mood changes
  • Trouble sleeping


In very extreme situations where the spine or brain are damaged severely, you may experience partial or full paralysis. These serious injuries are sometimes permanent. In cases where healing is possible, expect years of physical therapy.

How does a car accident affect my life?

Depending on the severity of the accident, there could be profound effects that follow you now and into the future. You may be in a position where acquiring a settlement is important.

Consider things like car damages, or needing to buy a new vehicle entirely. Don't forget medical expenses for immediate injuries and more permanent damages. Of course, make sure to include any lost wages.

The cost of psychiatric care for any mental damages sustained from the ordeal is important to take into account as well. Some of these are hard to put a number on but are important to keep in mind.

Some mental damages include:

  • Embarrassment, shame, and humiliation
  • Depression
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Disfiguring injuries, such as the loss of a limb
  • Pain and suffering

How to file an insurance claim after an accident

It's important to start the claim process as soon as possible. You'll need to think about paying for:

  • Car damages, or needing to buy a new vehicle entirely
  • Medical expenses for immediate injuries and more permanent ones
  • Lost wages from not being able to work, or missing work for doctor's appointments
  • Mental damages

Start your claim process with these easy steps:

Step 1: Do not settle right away

Your insurance company is likely to offer you a low-ball settlement in an attempt to save money. If you accept this settlement, you are likely to receive less than you deserve and need.

Step 2: Document everything to support your case

Make sure to follow the procedure instructed for any accident.

  • File a police report
  • Take pictures of the scene, property damages, and injuries
  • Seek medical care immediately, don't wait
  • Get statements from any possible witnesses on the scene

Step 3: Consult with an attorney

An accident attorney is able to fight for you for the best possible settlement. An accident attorney doesn't require out-of-pocket fees, but instead gets paid a portion of your settlement (usually between 25-35%).

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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