January 11th, 2022 | Updated on June 29th, 2022
You’re sitting at a stoplight minding your own business. The light turns green and before you can hit the gas, BAM! The car behind you slams right into your bumper.
In other words, you’ve just found yourself on the receiving end of a rear-end collision.
Rear-end collisions are some of the most commonly seen crash types in America. Each year, about 1.7 million rear-end accidents are reported. Fortunately, most are minor. However, depending on how fast the car behind you is going, your rear-end collision could be serious.
No matter how or where your rear-end crash happens, you should always follow some simple steps. After all, what you do right after being in any kind of a traffic accident can make a huge difference.
1. Keep Your Calm.
It can be exceedingly difficult to control your anger and frustrations after someone has rear-ended your car. However, keeping your emotions in check will avoid you saying or doing something you’ll regret.
Instead of jumping out of your vehicle immediately, pause and take a deep breath. Collect your thoughts. Deep breathing for just 30 seconds can have a positive effect on the way you feel.
2. Avoid Discussing Who’s At Fault.
In most rear-end collisions, the driver in the following car is the one who is considered negligent. This is not always the case, though. As any car accident lawyer can tell you, fault isn’t necessarily cut and dry.
For instance, what if you were texting and didn’t know the light had turned green? You could be assigned partial blame for the rear-end collision. So it’s best to let the authorities determine what happened rather than pointing fingers at the scene.
3. Move Your Car To A Safe Place.
Unless your vehicle is inoperable, you’ll want to move it to a location where it won’t be in the way. This could be a nearby parking lot or the shoulder of the highway.
If you can’t move your car after being rear-ended, try to alert other drivers. Get out your emergency roadside kit and put out flares or orange triangles. That way, your accident won’t cause a similar chain event.
4. Make A Call To 911.
It’s important that you alert first responders to your accident, even if it seems minor. The easiest way to do that in the United States is by dialing 911. Expect to give the operator your exact location so police and emergency medical personnel can reach you faster.
Don’t assume that the other driver or eyewitnesses will call 911 on your behalf. Many people get flustered after being in or near a crash. It’s quite possible that you might be the only one with the wherewithal to call.
5. Exchange Information With The Driver Who Rear-Ended Your Vehicle.
As long as the other driver is willing to speak with you, move forward with sharing information. (If the other driver seems hostile, you should wait for the police to arrive to have any conversations.) Common information exchange pieces include your driver’s license number and auto insurance provider.
In the digital age, it may seem appropriate to exchange phone numbers, emails, and other personal information as well. Some experts caution against giving away too much identifying data to a stranger, though.
Therefore, you may not want to allow the driver to take a picture of your license, as it will contain your physical address.
6. Ask Witnesses To Give You Their Names And Numbers.
In some cases, other drivers or pedestrians may have seen your crash. Collecting their information could be wise.
Sometimes, insurance companies will deny your claim. Witness accounts can help you prove that what you’re saying really happened.
The police officer who arrives at the scene may get the names and statements of eyewitnesses, too. Their comments will be added into the police report, which you can get a copy of from the precinct.
7. Get Medical Attention.
You can expect that your adrenaline will run high after being involved in a car accident. Sometimes, this can lead you to believe that you have been uninjured even if you are hurt. Plenty of people who have been rear-ended don’t feel any pain for hours or days.
Going to your primary care physician or walking into an urgent care facility is an investment in your health. For example, it’s best to know early if you have a concussion, which is a form of traumatic brain injury.
The faster you get a diagnosis, the faster you can begin treatment. Be certain to keep all records of payments made to medical providers.
These can be helpful when proving to the insurance companies that you deserve a certain amount of compensation.
8. Talk To A Legal Professional.
What happens if your rear-end collision is more than just an annoying fender bender? You may be surprised at how hard it can be to collect damages from insurance adjusters.
Before making any statements or accepting a settlement offer, call a local attorney who offers free car accident injury consultations.
You won’t be obliged to hire the attorney, of course. Nevertheless, you can get some important insights into how to proceed. Insurance companies tend to undervalue the costs associated with making things right after a crash.
Being able to discuss your problems with a lawyer can help you decide how to move forward with your case.
Even if you’re the most competent, careful driver in the world, you could get rear-ended. Knowing what to do next can make all the difference when it comes to putting this type of incident behind you.