What to Do After You Have Been Rear-Ended
Did you recently get rear-ended? Well you are not alone! There are more than 1.7 million rear-end collisions across the United States every year, killing about 1,700 and seriously injuring another half a million. If you are rear-ended, the steps you take immediately following your accident could have a significant impact on your ability to file a claim and collect the maximum compensation to which you are entitled. What should you do if you have already experienced a rear-end crash?
- Check for Injuries: Even if you feel your injuries from the rear-end collision are minor, or that you were not injured at all, you should still seek medical attention. Oftentimes, the surge of adrenaline you experience following auto accidents can mask injury symptoms. You may feel that you are “fine,” then later, when you have calmed down and the adrenaline has left your system, you suddenly don’t feel so fine. You may have experienced a neck or back injury from whiplash, which could end up being serious.
- Contact the Police: Next, contact the police, no matter how minor the damage appears. It is necessary to have a police report in order to validate your insurance claim. Having the police at the scene of the accident can also be useful in keeping communications between the drivers peaceful and under control. As soon as you have called the police and seen to your health, you need to notify both insurance companies. If the person who rear-ended you asks you to “handle it between the two of you,” it is much better to err on the side of caution. If you fail to contact your insurance companies, you could end up at the mercy of the other driver who may not even have valid insurance.
- Document Information: After doing all the above, make sure you keep careful notes of all information regarding your rear-end collision. If you are physically able, take photos with your cell phone at the scene of the accident. These photos could be vital if you are forced to file a personal injury claim. Make sure you get the full name and address of the driver who hit you, as well as his or her phone number, driver’s license information and license plate number. After this information, if you have injuries (no matter how minor) keep a record of every single thing relating to those injuries. Every doctor’s visit, every prescription and any bill which relates to your injury should be kept. Your attorney will have a much easier time building a case on your behalf if you have kept careful records.
- Do Not Admit Fault: Finally, be very careful of what you say immediately following your accident. It is human nature to want to say “I’m sorry,” to the other driver, just out of politeness. Unfortunately, saying you are sorry can be misconstrued as admitting you are at fault. You will never want to admit you were at fault following an accident, even if you think it was partially your fault. Let the police and the insurance companies do their jobs determining who was at fault, and then if you disagree with those findings, or if your injuries are more than minor, contact an experienced Colorado personal injury attorney immediately.
If You Get Rear-Ended, Is It Your Fault?
In the vast majority of the rear-end accident cases, the driver who gets rear-ended is not at fault. If you are sitting at a stop light or stopped in traffic and someone hits you from behind, then they are responsible for your accident and your injuries. Even if you stopped suddenly in traffic, the accident still may not be your fault. It is always best to speak to an experienced car accident attorney after your accident, however, to clearly establish liability.
Rear-End Accident Insurance Claims
Recovering compensation for injuries and property damage after a rear-end accident isn’t always easy. The injured person has to prove that the other driver was at fault and clearly show the extent of the damages. With an experienced attorney on your side, this process can go relatively smoothly. Without a lawyer, however, insurance companies will often play hardball with injured accident victims, offering them a low settlement that is only a fraction of what they need to fully recover.
Will my insurance go up if I get rear ended?
Accident victims are sometimes skeptical of making a claim. Even if they are not to blame for the accident, fear of increasing their own insurance premiums is often enough to prevent accident victims from seeking compensation they rightfully deserve. If you are not to blame for the accident, then your insurance rates should not go up. However, if after investigation, you were cited by the police for speeding or for another type of moving violation, your insurance rates could be affected by the citation. But if you are not responsible for the accident, then your insurance company should not penalize you for filing a claim.
Rear-End Collision Damage to Car & Compensation
After a rear-end accident, you may be left with numerous injuries and significant damage to your vehicle. The “at fault” driver’s insurance company should pay for the damage to your vehicle, as well as any costs associated with your injuries. This includes:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering