Getting rear-ended on the road can be frustrating. You are minding your own business when another vehicle rams into your car. Instead of enjoying a peaceful drive, you now must deal with a messy situation.
Rear-end collisions can have short and long-term consequences. If you do not know what to do in that situation, you can find yourself struggling with the aftermath of the accident.
In this article, we detail the steps you must take following a rear-end car accident. Stay tuned and arm yourself with the knowledge to deal with a potentially tricky situation.
The Steps You Must Take after You Are Rear-Ended
The actions you take immediately after being involved in a car accident can determine how things play out. If you were injured or your vehicle sustained damage from the accident, you will probably want to sue the other driver. You may have a hard time putting a strong case together if you did something wrong after the accident.
Avoid making potentially costly mistakes by following the steps below.
Step 1: Check Yourself and Your Passengers for Injuries
In the aftermath of any car accident, your priority should be checking for injuries of anyone in your vehicle. Start by checking yourself. Check for bleeding or any parts of your body that seem to be injured.
Hopefully, you are fine following the accident. After you have checked your condition, everyone else in the vehicle. See if they are conscious and ask if they are injured.
With any luck, your passengers will also be fine.
Step 2: Contact the Authorities
Upon confirming that the people inside your vehicle are doing fine, you should now contact the authorities. Dial 911 and ask the dispatcher to send police officers to the scene. You will need the assistance of the police when it comes to gathering evidence, so it would be ideal to have them there as soon as possible.
If someone in your vehicle is injured, you should ask the dispatcher to send an ambulance to the scene. Do not attempt to treat the injured person yourself because you could make things worse. It is best to leave their treatment up to the professionals.
Step 3: Examine the Condition of the Other Driver
Checking on the other driver is also something you can do at this point. See if they are doing fine or badly hurt from the accident. If you see that they are injured, you can mention that to the 911 dispatcher.
While checking on the other driver is a good idea, you should stop there. You should avoid moving them even if you notice that they are injured. Unless you know how to deal with injured individuals, you could harm them further if you attempt to move them.
Let the emergency workers handle the task of moving the other driver.
Step 4: Exchange Information with the Other Driver
Exchanging information with the other driver is vital if you are involved in a vehicular accident. The information you will need from the other driver includes their name, contact number, driver’s license number, plate number, and insurance policy number. You should also note the appearance of their vehicle.
Taking pictures of the IDs presented by the other driver is also well worth your time.
The other party will also likely ask for your information. It is okay to share those same details with them, so do not worry about doing so.
Step 5: Avoid Discussing the Accident with the Other Driver
This is the part when many drivers often make a crucial mistake. While talking to the other driver, they may steer the subject of the conversation to the accident. To be more specific, they may try to discuss who is at fault for what happened.
The other driver may attempt to open that discussion if they believe they are responsible. Although they may acknowledge their role in the accident, they may also blame you and suggest that you made some mistakes as well. Their goal could be to reduce their share of the blame.
If they get you to accept part of the blame, that could be a big deal that could affect how much they pay in terms of compensation. They may even weave a fictional account where you are the one who is responsible for the accident.
Nothing good can come out of speaking one-on-one with the other driver. Once you get the bits of information we discussed earlier from them, you should go ahead and bow out of the conversation.
Step 6: Collect Evidence
You do not need to sit still and wait for the emergency responders to arrive. During that time, you can walk around and start gathering evidence.
Start by pulling out your phone and taking pictures of the scene. Note the damage done to your vehicle and take pictures of any signposts to remember where the accident took place.
Try to take pictures of the other vehicle too. The pictures of the two vehicles could be useful for determining who is truly to blame for the accident.
You can also take this opportunity to speak to any witnesses at the scene. Record the accounts they provide if they consent to that. Those recordings could come in handy later on.
If you get some witnesses on record, take down their contact details. You will likely need their accounts down the line, so it is in your best interests to ensure that you can contact them quickly.
Step 7: Speak to the Police Officers
Speak to the police officers as soon as they arrive at the scene. Share your contact details with them, and you can also hand over the evidence you collected.
The police officers may also ask for your account of what happened. Go ahead and share what you experienced from your perspective. They may also speak to the other driver at this time.
Before leaving the scene, remember to ask for the police officers’ names and contact details. You and your lawyer will likely need to speak to them at some point, so it would be best if you can get a hold of them easily.
You should also ask for a copy of the accident report after the police officers have published it. That accident report will serve as a valuable resource as you proceed with your case.
Step 8: Head to the Doctor
Compared to other types of crashes, a rear-end accident may seem relatively minor. It may not seem like the type of collision that could lead to any serious injuries.
Though a rear-end collision may appear that way, we can tell you that it can still be quite dangerous. The force generated from the back of your vehicle could impact your body awkwardly. That could lead to you sustaining a nasty injury.
Even if you feel fine right after the accident, you should still drop by your doctor’s office as soon as you can. Allow them to examine you for any injuries.
Early treatment could prevent any injuries you sustained from getting worse. Be proactive so you can minimize the impact of the accident on your body.
Step 9: Do not Talk to the Other Driver’s Lawyer or Insurer
The other driver may be perfectly aware that they are to blame for the accident. In a last-ditch effort to avoid responsibility, they may try to get you to accept blame. If they could not do that at the scene, they may enlist the help of others in that endeavor.
At some point after the accident, you may receive a call from the other party’s lawyer or their insurer. You can take the call, but do not share any details. Inform them that you have no interest in speaking and tell them to contact your lawyer instead.
Step 10: Partner Up with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Teaming up with a lawyer is something you must do. The legal assistance a good lawyer can provide will come in handy if the other party is trying to get you to admit guilt. You can also benefit from their expertise when the time comes for you to file a lawsuit.
Your lawyer can prep you for what is to come. They can also help craft your case and definitively prove that you are not the party responsible for the accident.
Working with a lawyer is also smart because they can help you figure out what to ask for in terms of compensation.
What Are the Injuries You May Sustain from a Rear-End Collision?
Like we said earlier, a rear-end accident can still have serious ramifications even if it does not look like a big collision. Like with other accidents, there is a chance that you could break bones or sustain soft tissue injuries because of the powerful force of the crash.
Beyond those injuries, you also need to worry about whiplash. According to the Mayo Clinic, rear-end accidents “are a major cause of whiplash.”
A person sustains whiplash when their head moves back and forth with great force. The violent movements can lead to injuries along your neck and spine. Pieces of soft tissue near those parts of your body may also sustain significant damage due to the forceful movement of your head and neck.
Even your brain may end up injured if the force of the rear-end collision is powerful enough.
Symptoms of whiplash injuries include neck pain and stiffness, dizziness, headaches, numbness in your arms, blurred vision, and tinnitus. In severe cases, the person with the whiplash injury may also have difficulty concentrating and memory issues, and they could develop depression as well.
Victims should also know that the effects of whiplash do not always go away quickly. Some symptoms may linger for a surprisingly long time.
Treating those symptoms can end up being costly. You must seek compensation from the guilty party so you can manage your injury better.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive if I am Involved in a Rear-End Collision?
Since you are suing the negligent driver for compensation, you may be wondering how much you can receive. The answer to that question depends on numerous factors.
First off, you will receive actual damages based on your quantifiable financial losses. That should include your medical bills, your vehicle’s repair bills, and lost wages.
You may also receive general damages. General damages are supposed to compensate you for losses that you cannot quantify. Those general damages may account for pain and suffering, loss of opportunities, and loss of enjoyment of life.
The compensation you receive may also be affected by the amount of blame attributed to you. Since Connecticut follows the principle of modified comparative responsibility, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of blame you share for the accident.
You may not receive any compensation at all. If the investigation concludes that you bear more than 50% of the blame for the accident, then you will not be eligible to receive any compensation.
Connecticut basing the distribution of compensation on modified comparative responsibility is another reason you need to work closely with a lawyer. Your lawyer can ensure that they do not mistakenly foist the blame on you.
The aftermath of a rear-end accident can be treacherous territory. If you are not careful, you could miss out on compensation that is rightfully yours.
Reach out to us at Hassett & George, P.C. if you were recently involved in a rear-end collision. We will ensure that the facts of your case come to light to receive proper compensation.