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Negligence, a rear-end collision and soft tissue injuries

Negligence in a rear-end collision is usually assigned to the driver who only stops when his vehicle strikes the one in front, crumpling the bumper and putting a dent in the automobile.

Unfortunately, the impact may cause soft tissue injuries to the occupants of the victim’s car.

About soft tissues

Your body's soft tissues are the muscles, ligaments and tendons, injuries to which commonly occur in a low-speed collision. The back and neck are the areas of the body most prone to soft tissue damage. A General Motors study showed that more than half of the people injured in rear-end collisions suffer whiplash resulting from the sudden impact.

How injuries happen

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions account for 28% of all vehicle crashes in our country. By definition, these accidents occur at speeds lower than 10 miles per hour, and injuries can result from speeds as low as 2.5 miles per hour, especially damage to soft tissues. The vehicles absorb part of the energy from the force of the crash, and the bodies of the occupants absorb the rest.

Examples of soft tissue injuries

In addition to whiplash, three other soft tissue injuries commonly occur in a low speed rear-end collision:

  •         Contusion: A blunt force trauma that results in the pooling of blood and skin discoloration at the site of the injury
  •         Strain: The stretching of a muscle or tendon in an abnormal way, possibly resulting in a muscle tear
  •         Sprain: A ligament injury caused because of wrenching or twisting


Soft tissue injuries are not always apparent at the time of a collision. However, it usually does not take long for symptoms to appear, such as neck stiffness, blurry vision, headaches, vertigo or even jaw pain. This is why people involved in low speed rear-end collisions should seek medical attention without delay. Long-term effects can include continuing pain, muscle spasms and, in some cases, curvature of the spine.

Seeking an advocate

In addition to prompt medical care, victims of rear-end collisions should explore their legal options. A soft-tissue injury case can be complex, but an advocate experienced with such matters can deal effectively with the negligent driver’s insurance company to obtain full and fair compensation for the injured party.

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