Rear-end collision is the type of car accident where a vehicle crashes into the car or another vehicle in front of it, hitting its rear end. This is the most common type of car accident, taking up about 29 percent of the total number of car crashes in the United States every year.
Although common, no one ever anticipates a car accident. When you get rear-ended or if you get involved in a rear-end collision, it is important to understand what to do right after the incident.
Unlike major car crashes, many rear-end collisions can sometimes be brushed off as minor accidents, or end in car accident settlements, so some people feel like seeking legal help when claiming compensation is not needed anymore.
However, liability and claiming compensation from your insurance company can be complicated. This is why taking the correct first steps after a rear-end collision can help your case.
Stay at the Scene of the Accident.
Don’t panic and stay where you are. At this point, you’re not yet sure how badly hurt you or your passengers are, so you cannot guarantee that none of you are injured.
Even if you are not physically hurt, do not drive your car away nor move to a different location. You want to make sure your vehicles stay where they are so the authorities can record the incident accurately.
Ask for Medical Help if you Need It.
Check for injuries. You might not be hurt badly, but your passengers might be. Sometimes the pain does not kick in immediately, so it’s best to seek medical help right away.
This is also quite helpful when filing for insurance claims. When your insurance company reviews the incident report and does not see that you have sought medical care right after the accident, they can assume that you were not hurt at all. This can make claiming compensation slower and more complicated.
Contact the Police and Report the Accident.
Even if you feel the rear-end collision is nothing more than an ugly dent on your car, you still need to contact the police and file a police incident report. Remember that your report must be filed within 48 hours after the accident.
If the police do not come to the scene right away, you can go to the nearest police department or file a report online through their website. Filing an incident report can help speed up your claims process as well.
Exchange Information with the Other Driver.
Don’t forget to exchange information with the other driver involved in the accident, whether you are at fault or they are. Ask for their driver’s license and insurance information, including:
- Full name
- Contact number
- Insurance provider
- Insurance policy number
- Vehicle license plate number
Take Pictures of your Car and the Damage from All Angles.
Once you have confirmed the safety of your passengers and anyone involved in the accident, get out of your car and take photos of the damage on both vehicles from different angles.
These will serve as evidence of the incident, especially when the other involved party tries to deny details of the accident. This will also make the insurance claims process easier.
Write Down Everything you can Remember Before and After the Accident.
Before you forget, write down everything you know and remember about the accident. Describe the environmental factors as well. Is it raining? Is the road slippery due to ice? Was the other driver tailgating you?
Write down names and take note of the witnesses in the scene. Your notes will be helpful during the claims process, especially when the other driver is at fault here.
Notify your Car Insurance Company About your Accident as Soon as Possible.
The sooner you contact your car insurance company and tell them about the accident, the better. Don’t wait to get back home because you need to relay accurate information about the car crash.
Share all the details about the incident and ask them about your policy coverage. Your insurance provider will let you know what documents you need to secure to start your claims process.
Talk to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney About your Rights and Options for Legal Recovery.
Do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. Although usually treated as a minor accident, you are still entitled to insurance claims and injury settlement. Since this process can often be complicated, proper legal guidance is beneficial to your case.
They can tell you what the best course of action is, and how you can negotiate with your insurance company better.
A personal injury attorney can also help you navigate through your options for legal recovery or liability. They can guide and assist you in cases when you need to sue the other driver’s insurance company or if you are having a hard time claiming compensation from your insurance company.
Finally on What To Do If You’re In A Rear End Accident
By following these steps properly, you will be better protected when in a rear end accident. Getting involved in a rear-end accident can be extremely stressful. Besides physical injuries and vehicle damages, you may also face other legal problems during recovery.
The last thing you would want is an uncooperative insurance company that makes the claims process even more difficult for you. Know your rights and fight for them. Seek legal advice by reaching out to a personal injury attorney.
An experienced personal injury attorney like will help you examine the extent of your injury, how much your injury and your damages may cost, and how much you are legally entitled to claim from your insurance company. They can also answer all your questions about your case and what you can do about it.
Recovering from an injury is bad enough. You don’t need additional financial or legal issues to think about. As long as you follow these steps after getting into a rear-end collision, your chances of better protection and compensation are significantly higher.
Photo by Mark Turnauckas