What to do in case of a Rear End Collision?
There are many different types of car accidents. Rear end collisions are the most common. It is generally presumed that the car that is in the end of the line or the last car in the collision is at fault. However, this is not always the case and insurance companies will often dispute liability in this case indicating that the driver that was rear ended either “stopped short” or made a “sudden lane change.”
Here is a checklist of things to do in an event of rear end collision –
TAKE PICTURES: It is important to take pictures of your vehicle and the other vehicle(s) involved in the crash at the scene of the accident. This information is invaluable and cannot be obtained after the vehicles are moved from the scene. This those evaluating the circumstances a picture in time and avoids some of the “he said/ she said” that often occurs after an accident.
If you are able to take pictures of other people involved in the accident, that is always helpful as well.
If you have visible injuries, take pictures of your injuries at the time of the accident as well as during the healing process.
CALL THE POLICE: It is important to call the police and make a report at the scene of the accident, so that the officer can also document the placement of the vehicles and who is involved in the crash as well as any witnesses to the crash.
OBTAIN WITNESS INFORMATION: Often times witnesses to the accident cannot stay and wait for the police. Most people want to be helpful but have schedules to keep, so if they have to leave, please ask them for their contact information before they leave the scene. Even if they are going to stay and talk to the police, it is a good idea to get their contact information because sometimes that information does not appear on the police report even though they were at the scene and witnessed the accident.
SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT: If you are injured, seek medical treatment immediately. If you have not sustained life threatening injuries, you do not need to go to the hospital, but if you are injured, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible after the accident. If you wait for more than 14 days from the date of the accident to seek medical treatment, you will lose your right to valuable PIP benefits that can assist in paying for your medical treatment.
CONTACT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY: It is important to notify your insurance company when you are involved in an accident. However, do not give them a recorded statement without your attorney present. Do not refuse to provide a statement, advise that you would like to call them back to provide a statement and at this time, you are reporting the accident. Your attorney should be present for the recorded statement. Giving a recorded statement is generally a requirement of your insurance policy, so it is important that you do not refuse to give one, but speak with an attorney first. When you report the accident, ask the insurance company exactly what coverage you have if you are not sure. Do you have comp and collision to fix your own vehicle if the at fault driver did not carry the proper insurance? Do you have rental car coverage, so you can have a rental car while your car is being repaired? Do you have a deductible on your PIP (personal injury protection) coverage, if so how much is it? Do you have UM (uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage)? If so, what are the limits?
SEEK LEGAL COUNSEL: Contact an attorney as soon as possible to obtain a consultation so you know what to expect after an accident and know what rights you have. When you make an appointment to meet with the attorney in person, bring the following items:
(1) Pictures taken as indicated above
(2) Copy of the police report or exchange of information
(3) Drivers license
(4) Your insurance card for health and car insurance
(5) Contact information for any medical providers including hospitals that you have received treatment with for this accident.
(6) Copy of your car insurance policy if you have that available
(7) Copy of any documentation that you have from the accident, letters ect from the insurance companies or anyone else involved with the accident.
(8) Any medical bills that you may have received as a result of the accident
(9) Names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident.
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