Rear End Collisions: Liability for Whiplash Injuries in New York

Rear End Collisions: Liability for Whiplash Injuries in New York

Rear end collisions are some of the most common traffic accidents. They are especially common in New York City where traffic is always so congested. These accidents result in damage to the vehicles involved and usually cause injuries to the people riding in them. If you or a loved one is injured in such an accident, the Law Offices of Laurence C. Tarowsky can assist you in determining fault and therefore liability for the injuries.

Laurence C. Tarowsky is a New York auto accident attorney with experience in all types of accidents, including rear end collisions. He formed his own law firm over thirty years ago and serves New York City from his Manhattan office. Laurence C. Tarowsky’s experience with rear end collision cases includes recovering nearly $2,000,000 for a client who was injured in such an accident.

The Law Regarding Rear End Collisions

Rear end collisions are so common in New York that the law relating to them is well known. In a recent case, the court reiterated this law. The law is based on the idea that when a driver approaches another vehicle from the rear, the driver must maintain a reasonably safe rate of speed and control over the vehicle. For that reason, when the driver behind runs into a vehicle that has stopped or is in the process of stopping, then what lawyers call a “prima facie case” of negligence exists.

But the driver in front also has a duty, not to stop suddenly or slow down without proper signaling to avoid a rear end collision. If the driver behind can show a non-negligent reason for running into the vehicle in front, then there is no longer a prima facie case that the driver in the rear was negligent. One of several non-negligent explanations for a rear-end collision is that the driver in front suddenly stopped or slowed down.

These types of case highlight the need for experienced counsel. When there is a rear end collision – or for that matter, any kind of accident – those involved in the accident and other witnesses usually have different memories of what happened. It’s not necessarily that anyone is being untruthful, just that depending on where they were and what they were doing, some witnesses saw the accident more clearly than others. An experienced lawyer has learned how to interview witnesses to establish what actually happened.

Whiplash from Motor Vehicle Accidents

One of the most common injuries from a rear end collision is whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the heads of the people in the front vehicle snap back and forth from the impact. Whiplash can occur even when the vehicle behind was not moving fast. Whiplash may not be life-threatening, but it can be quite painful.

Some whiplash symptoms are clearly the result of the rear end collision. But others might not seem to be related to the accident. According to WebMD, symptoms of a whiplash injury can include neck pain and stiffness, headaches, pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades, low back pain, pain or numbness in the arm and/or hand, dizziness, difficulty concentrating or remembering, irritability, sleep disturbances and fatigue. These symptoms do not necessarily occur right after the accident.

Whiplash injuries are usually soft tissue injuries. What this means is that they are injuries to spinal discs, muscles and ligaments. These injuries usually cannot be seen, even with an x-ray machine. A physician might need to use a computed tomography (CT) scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose the injuries.

To treat whiplash, doctors once recommended using a cervical collar to immobilize the patient’s head and neck. Doctors have more recently found that having the patient gently flex the head and neck leads to better and quicker results. Doctors may also suggest the use of physical therapy, traction, massages, heat pads, ultrasound and injections. Ice packs are commonly used to reduce swelling and pain. Medications such as ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) or naproxen (Aleve or Naprosyn) also can be helpful to the victim of a rear end collision.

The Need for Experienced Legal Counsel

Retaining experienced counsel after a rear end collision is critical for a victim of the crash. The attorney must know New York’s law regarding these accidents and how to interview the drivers and witnesses to learn what actually occurred. But the lawyer also must be familiar with the medical aspects of a whiplash injury. It is especially important to recognize that the symptoms of whiplash probably won’t immediately appear. Also, some injuries might not seem to have anything to do with the accident.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury from a rear end collision, you should consult with an experienced New York auto accident attorney rather than talk with insurance company representatives to make sure that you receive proper advice and obtain the maximum recovery for your loss. The Law Offices of Laurence C. Tarowsky stand ready to assist you. For a free consultation, visit our contact page or simply call 212-947-2099.

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