Being involved in a car accident can be a terrifying experience. Even at low speeds, there’s still a chance that you or your passengers could be injured, and your car could still be significantly damaged. There are several essential steps to take after you’ve been rear-ended that will help you avoid injury, meet legal requirements, and begin the process of claiming on your insurance.
Five Things to Do After Getting Rear-Ended
The Washington Post reports that there are around 1.7 million rear-end crashes in the U.S. every year, and of these around 500,000 people are injured. Because of this sheer volume of crashes, knowing what to do after you’re rear-ended is vital, as you never know when you may be involved in a rear-end collision.
- Check for Injuries
The first thing to do is to check yourself for injuries. If you’re uninjured, check your passengers for any injuries. If any of you are injured, 911 should be called. If you’re seriously injured, remain calm and wait for emergency services to attend the scene. Even without visible injuries, you should still call 911 in preparation of reporting the accident to the police.
- Move Yourself and Your Car to Safety
If your car is in a drivable condition, you should move it to the side of the road to reduce the chances of another crash happening. Never stand in the traffic lane or cause unnecessary obstructions, as this could put your safety in jeopardy.
- Wait for the Emergency Services
Once you’ve checked for injuries and moved your vehicle, you should wait for the police to attend the scene and document the accident. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be a legal requirement. However, even if you’re not legally obligated to notify the police, it saves any potential headache later down the line if you do.
- Exchange Information With the Other Driver/s Involved
To make sure your insurance claim process runs as smooth as possible, you should get the following information from other parties involved in the accident:
- Their legal name and relevant contact information such as phone number/email address.
- The company with which they hold an insurance policy and the policy number.
- Their driver’s license number and the registration number of their vehicle.
- The manufacturer, model, and color of their vehicle.
- Make a Claim With Your Insurer
When it comes to notifying your insurer, you should act as fast as possible – the sooner, the better. Talking to your insurance company can help to soothe your concerns and give you an idea of the rough timeline of events that will during your claims process.
Establishing Who’s At-Fault
Things can become rather heated after a collision, and you may find yourself discussing who is at-fault with the other driver. Instead, it’s best left up to the adjuster who will be tasked with analyzing your claim.
To establish who is at-fault, insurance adjusters will look at all the information provided by the parties involved in the collision and information provided by the police officers who attended the scene. With all of this information on hand, expert adjusters will be able to determine who is at fault and determine whether your current insurance policy covers the losses.
Now that we’ve covered what to after you’re rear-ended and how fault is determined, let talk about ways you can lower your risk of being in an accident.
Tips for Avoiding a Collision
While it’s not possible to eliminate the likelihood of being involved in a collision, there are things that you can do to reduce your chances of being in an accident.
- The National Safety Council estimates that around 1.6 million crashes each year are caused by drivers who are using their cell phones. As such, you should always avoid using your cell phone. If it’s an important call, pull over to the side of the road to take it.
- Drive slow during adverse weather. Fog, rain, and snow are all major factors involved in accidents. Take extra care when driving in these conditions as your visibility of the road and control of your vehicle may be hindered.
If you’re unhappy with how your insurance claim has been dealt with, one of our experienced lawyers may be able to help you. We’ve helped thousands of injured drivers and passengers who have been involved in rear-end collisions. Contact us today, and we will connect you to a lawyer for a free consultation.