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Rear-end shunt injury claims - Introduction

As well as damaging vehicles, the impact of a rear end shunt often causes injuries such as whiplash to the driver and passengers in the car which has been hit.

See also: Making a claim for a car passenger claim

What is a rear end shunt or 'rear-ender'?

A rear end shunt is when one vehicle collides into the back of the vehicle in front. This might be when the car in front is stationary, for example at a junction, roundabout or traffic lights, or when traffic is moving slowly in a congested area.

Collisions such as these may happen when the driver of the following vehicle loses concentration for a moment, or is travelling too close to the vehicle in front.

Multiple rear end shunts may occur in lines of queuing traffic when the impact of a car hitting the end of the queue pushes other cars forward into the rear of the cars in front of them.

Who is liable for a rear end shunt?

Usually the driver of the colliding vehicle is legally liable for a rear end shunt since it is his responsibility to keep a safe distance between his vehicle and the vehicle in front, ensuring he has sufficient time to react and stop should the leading vehicle also stop.

However in a multiple rear end shunt the liability falls on the driver of the vehicle who hit the back of the queue. Each of the subsequent shunts and collisions were caused by his original negligence, therefore all claims should be met by his insurer.

Could I be liable if I stopped suddenly?

You may have to brake suddenly if another car pulls out of a junction in front of you, or a child runs out across the road, for example. However, your reaction to the unexpected hazard does not make you responsible for a rear end shunt, should the vehicle behind you collide with you or another vehicle run into the back of that vehicle as a consequence.

What action should I do if involved in a rear end shut?

In the first instance, you should exchange details with the other driver(s), including name, address, vehicle registration number and insurance company.

Gather as much evidence as possible, photograph the scene if possible, and take the details of any witnesses who may be able to verify what happened.

Do I have a rear end shunt injury claim?

Even rear end shunts at low speed may cause injuries to the car's occupants. Typical injuries include whiplash, when the head is violently moved forwards and backwards as a result of the impact from behind. Symptoms include pain in the neck and shoulders and you may experience tingling in the arms and hands.

If you were injured in a rear end shunt accident in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can probably help you make a compensation claim.

See our Online Claim Eligibility Calculator for a better idea of where you stand.

How much compensation can I claim for a rear end shunt injury?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

Road traffic accident case study

Claimant awarded £2,350 for whiplash injuries View case study