Rear-end collisions are one of the most common types of car accidents. They often happen when one driver is sitting at a light and the second driver rolls into their car's tail end, but they can also occur when both cars are moving. Since it's quite possible that you'll be rear ended at some point in your life, it's important that you know what you should do in this situation. Follow these steps.
Step 1: Make sure you're okay.
Rear end collisions are often pretty minor in terms of severity. Still, you should take a deep breath and evaluate your condition before you exit the car. Are all of your limbs free of large cuts and abrasions? Can you breathe with ease? If you are bleeding profusely or have any other apparent injuries, stay right where you are and wait for emergency services to arrive. Otherwise, it is okay to exit your vehicle and move to a safer location, like the side of the road. Of course, if your car is already in a safe spot where you do not think you'll be hit again, you can stay right in the driver's seat.
Step 2: Call the police.
A passerby may have already called the police, but just in case, you should call them to. Do not talk to the person who hit you until the police arrive. It's far too easy to say something like "I'm sorry!" that could later be taken out of context by the insurance company as an admission of guilt.
When the police arrive, they should assess the situation and write up an accident report. They'll take a statement from the other driver and from you. If the other driver's account differs from your own, this is not the time to argue with them. Give your own account to the police, being as truthful as possible, and let your insurance company and lawyer look over the evidence and arrive at the conclusion that the other driver is lying later on.
Step 3: Take pictures.
Once the police are on scene, take some pictures of the scene. Make sure you capture any damage to your car and to the other vehicle. Also take wide-angle shots with the intersection of road in the background so there is no question as to where the collision took place.
Step 4: Head to the hospital.
Even if you feel completely fine, it's important to head to the hospital or an urgent care facility and get looked over. This way, if you later experience any pain or symptoms due to the accident, the other driver can more easily be held responsible for them and for any medical bills that result.
Step 5: Contact your insurance company.
As soon as you arrive home, call your insurance company and let them know what happened. You can forward them the pictures you took and give them the reference number for the police report. The police should give this to you on-scene. Usually, the fault in a rear-end collision is placed on the the driver who hit you from behind. If the other driver does not argue this, then your insurance company will coordinate with the other driver's insurance company, and you'll receive a payout for the damages.
If the other driver argues that they should not be at fault for the collision, then your best bet is to hire an auto accident attorney. He or she can gather evidence and argue on your behalf, ensuring that you are given the money you need to repair damage to your car and pay any medical expenses related to the collision. Learn more about how to create a strong case by contacting law firms like Speers Reuland & Cibulskis, P.C.