You might think a rear-end collision is a cut and dry situation when it comes to who is at fault, but that’s not always the case. Many states have presumptions that assume most times the vehicle in the rear was at fault, but there are exceptions to every rule.
The rear driver is expected to maintain a safe distance from cars in front of them, but even if that’s the case a front driver could forget to signal before making a turn, fail to pull off the road if their car breaks down, or not have properly working brake lights, all of which could place the front driver at blame for an accident.
If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision through no fault of your own, don’t expect things to go as smoothly as they should. At-fault drivers rarely will admit responsibility for an accident and insurance companies will try to pay you as little as possible for your injuries and property damages.
Don’t Admit Fault or Place Blame
Auto accident attorneys agree that you should never admit fault or argue blame after an accident. Once you admit fault, you are legally responsible for paying for any damages or medical bills.
Likewise, blaming the other person doesn’t help. It’s better to make sure everyone is safe and let the insurance companies and lawyers sort out the details with the help of proper documentation and reports from law enforcement.
Notify the Police and Call 911
One of the first things you should do after an accident is to call law enforcement and call 911 if anyone has been injured. Not only is this the safest thing to do, but it’s also the smartest. The police report and the medical records will serve as evidence for your case later on.
Take Photos and Document Everything
If you’re able take photos of the road conditions, the damages to all vehicles involved in the accident, and any injuries you sustain. Although you think your memory is reliable, it can fail you in times of stress. Photos and proper documentation of an accident will be more meaningful to your case than word of mouth.
See a Doctor for Any Injuries
Even the slightest accident can cause injuries that you might not feel at the time, but will come back to haunt you in the days, weeks, and months after an accident. The best thing to do is to see a doctor immediately for a complete evaluation.
Rear-collision accidents can result in anything from bumps and bruises to whiplash and more. You could have pain in your neck and shoulders, dizziness, or headaches, even if you don’t feel hurt. Seeing a doctor immediately will also serve to document any injuries and strengthen your case.
Call Your Auto Insurance Company
A good rule of thumb is to contact your insurance company within 24 hours after an accident. When you speak to your insurance company, never assume blame for the accident. You should also avoid saying you weren’t injured until you are able to see a doctor and some time has passed.
If you have been injured, it’s advised that you seek help from a bay area car accident lawyer. Injuries complicate car accidents because medical bills can start to pile up, you could miss work and wages, and you could be disabled for the rest of your life.
Because insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible, you could get offered a settlement that seems good at the time but doesn’t begin to cover your pain and suffering. A personal injury attorney that specializes in car accident cases is your best resource to protect your rights and get proper compensation.