Every year, rear-end collisions across the United States seriously injure over half a million people. Many of these injuries include whiplash, bone fractures, and permanent neck and spine damage.
What may seem like a minor scratch at the time can develop into chronic pain and expensive doctor’s bills over time, too. This is why it’s so important to stop, assess the scene and document everything about your accident.
If you’re looking to make a claim for compensation after being rear-ended, you simply won’t have a case to claim without taking these 8 important steps.
Important Steps to Take After Being Rear Ended
Did you know that leaving the scene of an accident, no matter how minor it may seem, is considered a felony or misdemeanor in the United States?
Aside from that, any type of insurance claim or compensation would be null and void without taking down essential information from the scene of the crash.
Here’s what you should do following a rear-end collision:
1. Pull Over and Check for Injuries
First and foremost, you should always pull your car over to the side of the road and check everyone over for injuries. After this, exit your vehicle and check for injuries with the passengers of the other vehicle.
Even if you feel like you haven’t been injured, pay special attention to how you feel a few hours later. Adrenaline plays a huge role in helping you cope in traumatic situations. Bear in mind that once the adrenaline wears off, you may start to notice aches, pains, and even whiplash. Make sure to document how you feel even a few days after the collision.
This way, car accident lawyers will be able to assist you better in any compensation claim you may have.
2. Always Stay at the Scene
As previously mentioned, it’s considered a felony or misdemeanor to leave the scene of a crash, depending on the circumstances.
After any type of collision with another vehicle, never leave the scene until it’s been reported to the police and each driver’s details have been documented.
Leaving the scene of an accident, especially if someone is severely injured, could be considered a ”hit and run”. This bears severe penalties, including criminal charges, jail time, and heavy fines.
3. Make a Call to the Police
Once both vehicles have moved off the road, if possible, it’s important to call the authorities to assess the situation. Even if there appears to be no damage to either vehicle, the incident must be reported.
This is because it’s necessary to have a police report in order to validate any type of insurance or compensation claim, post-accident. To add to this, having police officers at the scene can help in keeping everyone calm and rational.
4. Exchange All Relevant Information
After you’ve contacted the police, it’s important to take down one another’s information. This step is vital in ensuring you submit a valid insurance or compensation claim.
Basically, this information is used when it comes time to decide who will pay for the other person’s damages. But, don’t just assume that the other driver will take care of submitting a valid insurance claim. It’s always better to err on the side of caution, take down their details, and do it yourself if you have to.
Make sure to take down their full name, address, and contact number. After this, take down their insurance company name and policy number. If you can, gather a witness statement from the scene and their contact information, too.
The more evidence the better, so take photos of everything you can, including the license plate of the other driver and site of the accident.
5. Takes Notes On Everything
This may sound like overkill, but as mentioned earlier, injuries can crop up over time, well after the accident took place.
Other than documenting all particulars of the accident itself, make a record of how you feel during the hours and days following the incident. If you have to visit the doctor, make a record of when, where and how much each doctor’s visit cost you.
Every doctor’s prescription, note, and bill must be kept on record in order to file a valid personal injury claim if you wish to do so. Ultimately, all these records will help a personal injury attorney build a better case for your claim.
6. Avoid Admitting Fault
This is extremely important, but not always easy to remember in the heat of the moment after an accident.
Try to be careful about what you say immediately after the accident. Yes, it’s only human nature to apologize out of politeness. But outright apologizing for an accident that wasn’t your fault could be misconstrued as admitting fault.
Ultimately, this could completely jeopardize your insurance or compensation claim. Instead, let the police and your insurance company determine who’s really to blame.
7. Call Your Insurance Company
Even if the accident is not your fault, it’s still important to call your insurance company and let them know you were involved in a collision. This establishes a sense of good-faith between you and your insurance company.
This is also important as the other driver’s insurance company could deny full responsibility for the accident. In this case, your insurance company must be aware of this. This way they know whether to launch a legal challenge against them or not.
8. Have Your Claim Professionally Evaluated
If you’re involved in a complicated rear-end collision which involves a fair amount of legal compensation, this is where professionals should be involved.
Basically, an attorney can help you decide what course of action to take if the case is not easily resolved between insurance companies. A personal injury attorney can help you claim for the compensation you deserve if you’ve been severely or permanently injured during an accident, too.
Learn More About the Law
Whether you’ve been rear-ended, involved in a hit and run or knocked off your bike- learn more about the law and your rights with Scoopify.
Check out this post on 10 instances where you may need to hire a lawyer!