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Rear-end Collisions in San Diego: Statistics and Common Injuries

One of the most common and most injurious traffic accident types are rear-end crashes – those where the rear of one vehicle and the front of another vehicle collide. This is especially true here in California, where negligent drivers and terrible traffic conditions are ubiquitous. If you or a loved one has been injured in a rear-end crash, consult an attorney about your potential compensation. The Hamparyan Injury Lawyers are ready to listen and assess your case.

Rear-end Crash Statistics: San Diego County and the US

The Washington Post reports that throughout the United States, some 1.7 million rear-end collisions occur each year, resulting in 1,700 deaths and 500,000 injuries.

A large share of that comes from California, where the fatality rate is 9.13 percent per 100,000 population, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, the California Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System shows that in 2017 alone, 384 people were killed in rear-end collisions in the state, while 95,399 more were injured.

Zooming in to San Diego County, the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) shows that in 2019 alone, the county had 18 fatal rear-end collisions. The cities with the most fatal crashes that year were:

  • San Diego – 84 total fatal collisions including 5 fatal rear-end accidents
  • Escondido – 12 total fatal collisions including 1 fatal rear-end accident
  • El Cajon – 11 total fatal collisions including 3 fatal rear-end accidents
  • Vista – 9 total fatal collisions including 1 rear-end accident
  • Chula Vista – 7 total fatal collisions including 0 rear-end accidents.

The most common causes of rear-end crashes include speeding, distracted driving, and following too closely. Most of the time, these accidents are the fault of the driver in the rear vehicle, but in some cases, the front vehicle may also share the responsibility. For example, the front driver may have been driving with broken tail lights or trying to make a turn without a turn signal. It’s important to get the legal help of an experienced attorney if you’ve been in a rear-end crash.

Common Injuries from Rear-end Accidents


Whiplash is the forceful back-and-forth rocking of the neck caused by the impact of a rear-end collision. This strains the muscles and ligaments in the neck and shoulders, and can also injure surrounding nerves and the spine.

Signs of whiplash do not always show immediately after an accident. Some people only start experiencing symptoms days after their crash. Look out for symptoms such as neck pain and stiffness, shoulder pain, numbness in the arms, headache at the base of the skull, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

A traumatic brain injury is any injury that results from the head being struck. This ranges from mild concussions to life-threatening hematomas.

Concussions are particularly common in rear-end collisions, when the head violently strikes the headrest during impact. Many concussions can heal on their own with enough rest, but some can be severe enough that symptoms linger and interfere with daily life. When this happens, it’s called post-concussion syndrome. Symptoms include headaches, confusion, sensitivity to light or noise, fatigue, and dizziness.

Other brain injuries can be much more serious, including contusions (brain bruising), hematoma (severe brain bruising), and hemorrhage (brain bleed). Never dismiss symptoms that come after getting hit in the head, especially if they include loss of consciousness, nausea, and blurred vision.

Ligament Injuries (Torn ACL, PCL, and More)

Ligaments are elastic tissues that connect bone joints. In a car accident, certain ligaments could be stretched or torn, leading to pain, limited movements, and loss of stability. This commonly happens to ligaments in the leg or knee, such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Some ligament injuries may heal with rest and pain management, but others, such as a torn ACL, need surgical reconstruction.


A strong rear-end impact can cause broken bones in the ribs, knees, legs, or ankles. These are costly injuries not only because they require medical treatment but also because they entail missed work days. As an example, a 2021 nationwide study estimates that surgical stabilization of a rib fracture costs about $25,338.

Facial Injuries or Disfigurement

Facial fractures can result from the face getting smashed by sudden airbag deployment, or getting hit by flying debris during a crash. An injury or disfigurement on the face is compensable in California. You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs as well as for the pain and suffering caused by the disfigurement. However, you’ll need the help of a competent personal injury attorney to assert your claim against insurance companies that will likely undermine your injury.

Other injuries that can result from a rear-end vehicle collision include lacerations, back injuries, soft tissue damage, and internal organ injuries. These entail high medical bills, lost income, and emotional distress. Get the help of a trusted car accident injury attorney to claim the compensation you need and deserve.

Consult With a Personal Injury Attorney in San Diego County

People throughout Southern California trust the Hamparyan Personal Injury Lawyers for their accident injury claims. Our attorneys are top-rated and have an excellent track record in obtaining full compensation for our clients, even in complicated cases and even when facing powerful insurance companies.

Consult with us for free about your rear-end crash injury. Call (619) 550-1355 today.


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