Car accidents are among the most common types of accidents, and rear-end accidents are among the most common types of car accidents. In fact, they are so common that there are almost two million rear-end collisions in the United States every year. And they can be much more serious than one might expect. On average, these accidents kill around 17,000 and seriously injure half a million people in the country on a yearly basis.
Most every driver will end up in a rear-end collision at some point. The things you do immediately after the accident could hugely influence your ability to file an accident claim later on. Do you know what you will do if you get in a rear-end collision? If the answer is no, do not worry. Most people do not know all the steps to take. That is why we are here to help.
Yes, immediately, and yes, always. This means going to the doctor even if you feel like you did not suffer any injuries at all. Many times, the post-accident rush of adrenaline works to mask any pain immediately following the collision. You may not feel the full effects of your symptoms until much later, once your accident has fully passed. Even then, if you feel as though all your symptoms have passed and that the injury has healed, the injury may suddenly flare back up.
Remember that you are not a medical professional—and your physician is. Only trained medical staff can tell you the full extent of your injuries and what you can do to ameliorate them. Otherwise, it could be very easy for you to unknowingly hurt yourself even further. Plus, whiplash and other neck and back injuries are very common with rear-end collisions. These injuries have the potential to turn disastrous if not treated immediately. Put your health first and make your way to a medical professional as soon as possible.
Even if you feel like your car accident resulted in only minor damage or injury, you should contact the police. In many cases, your insurance claim can only be validated with a copy of a police report. Police reports may also serve as useful pieces of evidence in your favor in a personal injury claim, should you choose to file one. Once you have notified the police and taken care of any immediate injuries, you and all involved parties should go ahead and notify your respective insurance companies.
Many times, drivers will want to settle their accidents without insurance. This is especially true if they know that they were at fault for the accident and do not want to be held liable for any damages or injuries they caused. In such cases, it is always better to err on the side of caution. You have no way of knowing if the other driver is trustworthy, and choosing to forego any insurance involvement will prove to work against your favor if you choose to file a personal injury claim in the future.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to open up a personal injury case, you should always be compiling as much evidence as you can. This will keep you protected from false claims of liability. After any accident, you should take as many photos as you can of the accident scene and any other relevant objects. This means taking a photo of any damage that was or was not done to all involved vehicles. These photos protect you from anyone claiming that the accident led to any false damages.
You will also want to make sure you get the full name, phone number, and insurance information of the driver who hit you. You should also collect their driver’s license information and license plate number, and even address if they are willing to share it with you (do not push if they are not). If there were any other parties involved in your accident, you may also want to get their contact information too. They may prove to be reliable witnesses for your case. If there was no one else involved in your accident, you can and should still look for potential witnesses as soon as possible and collect their contact information as well.
Finally, remember to document your injuries. This means taking photographs directly after the accident and as they progress. You will also want to keep copies of all medical records and expenses you collect as a result of your auto accident. Keeping detailed records of everything that happened will make it easy for you and/or your lawyer to build your case and prove your innocence.
It is easy to say things that can get misconstrued in the heat of the moment. After an accident, you may want to apologize to the other driver out of simple politeness. In a casual conversation, this would not raise eyebrows. In an insurance investigation, it may be used as an admission of fault. Many other statements may be taken as proof of liability, such as saying, “I’m so sorry anyone got hurt.” It may feel cold and impersonal, but for your own sake, it is much better to simply stick to the facts after an accident. The insurance companies will always be looking to minimize the settlement amount they offer you, and you do not need to give them any more reasons to do so.
In this day and age, automobile accidents are simply an unfortunate fact of life. This is true even if you are the most careful driver in the world. Other people make mistakes, and you cannot stop them. Fortunately, legal recourse is available. If you have recently been involved in a rear-end collision, we at Injury Victim Law may be able to help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is ready and available to assist personal injury victims all across the country. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide auto accident attorneys. Let us fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.