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Victim of a rear end shunt? Is it always the car behind at fault?

A rear end shunt is a very common car accident, but when you find yourself victim to this road scrape, is it always the fault of the car directly behind?

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Who causes a rear end shunt?

Accident Advice Helpline now has over 16 years' experience handling claims relating to rear end collisions in the UK, and we can safely say that no two rear end shunts are the same. Whilst it's true that the car behind is at fault in many cases, this isn't always the situation. Poor judgement or carelessness are often factors if the car behind causes an accident, for example, if the vehicle is driving too fast or the driver doesn't leave enough space between their vehicle and the one in front.

Sometimes if the driver is distracted, for example, by their MP3 player or their mobile phone, they won't have time to brake when they do regain focus. Often a rear end shunt can be caused by the car behind stalling or the driver's foot slipping onto the wrong pedal. It's accidental, but they are still to blame.

What about if the car in front is at fault?

It's not true to say that a rear end shunt is always caused by the vehicle behind. Rear end shunts are becoming more common - according to research by Accident Exchange in 2014, the number of rear end collisions rose by 7% between 2011 and 2014. Could mobile phones be to blame? Despite the fact that it's illegal to use your phone at the wheel, many of us think nothing of quickly checking a text message whilst we're driving, and this momentary lapse in concentration could cause you to have to slam on the brakes if there's an unexpected hazard in front of you.

It can then be very hard for the car behind to brake in time and prevent a shunt from occurring. Whilst erratic driving can often be to blame, a faulty vehicle could also be the cause of a rear end shunt, which is why it is up to every driver to ensure that their vehicle is road worthy. Faulty or broken brake lights could cause a collision as it is hard to see when the vehicle in front is braking.

What injuries could you sustain from a rear end shunt?

A rear end collision can lead to a variety of different injuries, depending on how fast you were driving at the time of the impact. One of the most common injuries sustained in this type of car accident is whiplash, with approximately 10% of all vehicle occupants involved in a rear end collision suffering from some degree of whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head is jolted suddenly forward and then backwards, damaging the tendons, ligaments and soft tissues of the neck. It's considered a fairly minor injury and you can recover at home, yet for some people whiplash pain can linger and cause problems with working and taking part in everyday activities.

Other injuries could include back injuries, facial injuries, for example if your airbag fails to deploy and your face hits the steering wheel, cuts and bruises, or even broken bones.

How did your car accident happen?

There are any number of reasons why a car accident can happen, and Accident Advice Helpline has heard them all, as we need to figure out how and why an accident happened before we can decide who is at fault and process a claim for personal injury compensation. Here are some of the most common causes of car accidents that we have come across over the past 16 years and more:

If somebody else was driving carelessly and caused your rear end shunt, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Even if you've suffered only minor injuries such as whiplash, you could be entitled to make a personal injury claim with Accident Advice Helpline, and you have three years from the date of your accident to do it.

What are some of the most common injuries sustained in a road traffic accident?

Road traffic accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries, but you could make a personal injury claim even for more minor injuries. There are some types of injuries that are more common than others, for example:

  • Neck injuries
  • Leg and knee injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Concussions or head injuries
  • Back injuries

If you have sustained any of these type of injuries then you may be lucky enough to heal in a few days or weeks at home, or you may need surgery or other medical treatment in order to make a full recovery. Head injuries in particular have the potential to be life-changing injuries - a serious brain injury could affect the rest of your life, changing your personality, moods and behaviour.

Claiming compensation after a rear end shunt

If the vehicle behind you was to blame for your rear end collision, then Accident Advice Helpline can help you to make a personal injury claim within three years of your accident. You could be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries, but also for your pain, suffering and loss of earnings - so if you have taken time off work after suffering whiplash or a knee injury, you could receive compensation for financial losses. In fact you could take the 30-second testTM on our website right now to find out how much compensation you could receive if your claim is successful. To find out more, call us today on 0800 083 5045, and get advice and answers to any questions you have about the claims process.

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