What to Do After Being Rear Ended
Any driver paying attention to their surroundings, including watching their mirrors, is trying to keep everyone safe. Sometimes though, the best defensive driving may not be able to keep someone from being involved in a collision. Whether you ‘saw it coming’ or it came out of nowhere, it’s difficult to avoid being rear-ended.
While you may not be able to prevent this type of collision, here are some helpful tips for handling things immediately after being rear-ended:
- Take a quick moment and assess your situation. Has your vehicle stopped moving, and are you still in harm’s way? Are you feeling any immediate pain or injuries? Are your passengers suffering any immediate pain or injuries?
- Call 911 to notify authorities about the rear-end collision and advise if anyone needs medical attention, including yourself! Advise them immediately if you’re in any situation where there is a threat to your safety while you wait for an officer to respond.
- If you can and need to do so, move your vehicle to a safe location close to where the impact happened. If you cannot do so due to injuries or damage to your vehicle, stay put until help arrives.
- If you’re able to, take photographs of the damage to all vehicles involved in the collision. These photos will help support any claim you may need to make.
- Try to keep any conversations about the collision with the other involved driver(s) brief. If the other involved driver(s) speak to you about the incident, listening without long retorts or comments is usually the best decision. Don’t get drawn into a long discussion about the severity or cause of the rear-end collision or how injured yourself and/or others may be with another driver(s).
- When the authorities arrive, they will want to talk with everyone involved. Make sure when you give your statement, be direct. Answer all questions truthfully. Advise the officer of any statements said by other drivers to you. Let the officer know if you suffered any injuries from the collision.
- Make sure before anyone leaves the scene that you obtain the at-fault driver’s name and insurance information. There is an exchange of driver information sheets that should be given to you by the responding officer since the full report will not be ready for a few days normally.
- If you elected to forgo the call to authorities, ask the other driver for their name and insurance information. If they refuse, take a photo of the license plate of the vehicle they were driving when the collision occurred. Hopefully, this information can be used to find the individual if necessary.
- After all parties have spoken with responding officers, you have the at-fault party’s(ies’) information, and you are free to leave the scene, seek care for any injuries you suffered. This could mean going to the emergency room or urgent care or calling your primary care physician for an appointment – decide which option works best for you individually based on your injuries and pain level.
- Use your health insurance for your treatment! If you’re asked to provide other insurance information because of the rear-end collision, ask that staff member to use your health insurance instead because it will cover your costs immediately.
- Make sure to tell any physician treating you that you were involved in a rear-end collision and when your pain or symptoms started. Be thorough with explaining where you’re feeling pain – don’t minimize your injuries. Give the doctor a clear and full explanation of all the issues you’re having.
- It is okay to give the physician details about the rear-end collision. Knowing if you were stopped when hit, speed estimates did it force you into other vehicles, etc., can help them diagnose and treat your injuries.
- Follow your physician’s orders for recovery and follow-up care. Following a rear-end collision, the most important thing you can do is make sure YOU are getting back to good health.
Our final recommendation would be to contact an attorney to discuss what options you have regarding the rear-end collision. An attorney will be able to help you navigate the claims process with the at-fault party’s(ies’) insurers and do their best to get you the compensation you deserve for the damages you suffered. Insurance companies often do their best to avoid or minimize payments for any claim, even one as clear cut as a rear-end collision. If you find yourself in this situation, Brown & Crouppen is here to help.