What to Do If You Are Rear-Ended

Posted On October 5, 2021 Car Accidents
What You Should Do After a Rear-End Accident | The Flood Law Firm

Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of accidents involving motor vehicles. The consequences of a driver hitting you from behind can vary in seriousness from a fender-bender to a life-altering crash.

In the aftermath of a rear-end car accident, you will ideally be able to take steps at the scene to prove your claim. These include:

  • Exchanging information with the other driver
  • Taking photos of the accident scene, including the vehicles involved, your injuries, etc.
  • Interviewing nearby witnesses
  • Examining the area for key details (such as the presence of traffic signs and signals, the condition of the roadway, weather, lighting, and other factors)
  • Providing a statement to the police

However, taking these steps may be unsafe, impractical, or even impossible – especially if you suffer a serious or catastrophic injury. As such, it is important to look beyond the moments immediately following the accident to what you should do in the hours, days, and weeks after the fact.

If you have been involved in a rear-end collision, you should:

1. Seek Medical Attention

If your injuries are serious, you should call 911 or have someone make the call for you. When they arrive on the scene, the paramedics may recommend taking you to the emergency room. You should follow this recommendation and get the care you need.

Alternatively, you may be treated and released at the scene. If this occurs, you should still see a doctor as soon as you can. Going to the ER is typically the best option. You don’t have to make an appointment to be seen, and the doctors and staff have the equipment to perform a thorough assessment.

Seeking prompt medical attention after a rear-end accident is important for two reasons. First, it creates an immediate record of the injuries you sustained in the collision. Second, catching certain injuries early is imperative. For example, a traumatic brain injury may present with few symptoms initially, but severe complications can develop without timely diagnosis and intervention.

2. Contact an Attorney

People who have never been in a rear-end accident before make two common mistakes when they think about hiring a lawyer:

  1. They assume their insurance will take care of everything.
  2. They believe that the driver in back is always responsible for a rear-end collision.

The first assumption is, unfortunately, wishful thinking. Your car insurance will cover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle up to your policy limits (a lawyer can help with a property damage claim), but you will typically need to file a claim against the at-fault driver to recover compensation for medical expenses and other losses related to your injuries.

And, while the second assumption is generally true, this will not stop the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident to look for a way not to pay you what your claim is worth. Common tactics include disputing liability for the accident, contesting the value of your damages, and more.

Hiring a car accident attorney is the best way to overcome these and other challenges. A lawyer can protect your rights, advise you of your options for pursuing compensation, calculate the damages in your case, and more.

3. Notify Your Insurance Company

Insurance companies require their insureds to report accidents in a timely fashion. The general time limit is 30 days after the accident, but you should check your insurance policy to make sure you meet any specific deadlines imposed by the carrier.

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to file an uninsured/underinsured motorist claim if the at-fault driver’s insurance doesn’t cover all of your losses. Unfortunately, just because this is “your” insurance company does not mean that fair compensation is guaranteed. The adjusters may still offer a low settlement or use other tactics to persuade you to act against your best interest.

When you are dealing with an insurance company – any insurance company – after a rear-end collision, it is best to have a car accident lawyer represent you. Attorneys know the tricks insurance companies use, and they will be able to preserve the integrity of your claim and negotiate for a more favorable settlement.

4. Get a Copy of the Police Report

Police officers are not required to respond to every accident. However, if the crash resulted in injury, death, or $1,000 or more in property damage, the accident must be reported to the police.

The police report officially documents a number of important details about the accident that can help you build a claim against the driver who rear-ended you. It is important to get a copy of the police report, either on your own or with the assistance of an attorney.

5. Keep All Medical Appointments

Recovering from a car accident can be a lengthy process. If you were seriously injured, you may need one or more surgeries, physical therapy, and other treatments performed by a multitude of providers.

The extensive appointments with doctors and other practitioners can be overwhelming. However, it is crucial to show up for each of your scheduled visits.

First and foremost, medical care for complex injuries often takes a staged approach, with incremental progress occurring through a continuum of treatments and therapies. Second, the insurance companies will use missed appointments as “proof” that your injuries are not as serious as you claim and argue that you are entitled to less in damages.

6. Document Your Life After the Accident

Compensation after a car accident can cover a wide range of losses. To recover the full extent of damages in your case, you and your lawyer will need to collect compelling evidence.

Some of the steps you can take to support your claim for damages include:

  • Keep all bills, explanation of benefits statements, and receipts related to medical care.
  • Gather recent pay stubs and other paperwork showing the money you would have earned had the accident not affected your ability to work.
  • Hold on to receipts for other expenses related to the accident, such as medical devices, household services, and travel expenses for doctors appointments.
  • Maintain a file of estimates or invoices for any modifications to your home or vehicle (such as the installation of a ramp).
  • Document your day-to-day symptoms, such as pain, impairment, difficulty sleeping, psychological issues, etc.

All of these items can serve as proof of the damages (economic and non-economic) you have suffered after being rear-ended. By sharing all paperwork and notes with your car accident attorney, you will be able to make a strong claim for compensation.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer If You Were Rear-Ended

Rear-end collisions are common, but no two cases are exactly alike. If another driver hit you from behind, causing serious injuries, you should not have to bear the costs by yourself.

The Flood Law Firm has extensive experience holding careless drivers accountable for the accidents they cause. Our attorneys often recover compensation many times greater than the initial offers from insurance companies; our results speak for themselves.

Please call The Flood Law Firm at (860) 346-2695 today for a free case evaluation. Our car accident lawyers serve clients in Middletown, Danbury, Bridgeport, Waterbury, and all of Connecticut.

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