Steps To Take After a Rear-End Crash
Biloxi may not be a city well-known for heavy traffic, but our Mississippi city still sees more than enough congestion on the roadway for rear-end crashes to occur. While these types of collisions often occur in rush hour traffic where motorists get so engrossed in distractions that they lose focus on the road, rear-end crashes may also be attributable to reckless driving like tailgating, misjudgments about other drivers’ actions, and even mechanical defects like failing brakes.
Rear-end crashes, whether they occur at a slow or fast rate of speed, can cause significant property damage and serious injuries. Do you know what steps to take after a rear-end crash that you were involved in? If not, then read on. We’ll share with you all you need to know.
What To Do After a Rear-End Accident
The steps you take following any crash can shape your recovery and any potential legal rights you have to recover monetary compensation for property damage and your injuries. That’s why the best practice is for you to follow these steps after a rear-end crash:
Request for Police and Paramedics To Come to the Scene
The first step you should take after any auto collision, whether a rear-end one or some other type, is to place a call to 911 and request for a law enforcement officer to be sent to your accident scene. Do this even if you feel fine and it doesn’t appear your vehicle has sustained any damage, as you don’t want to discover in the hours or days later that you’re hurt or your car is in disrepair and that you don’t have the at-fault motorist’s contact and insurance information to file a car accident claim against them.
If you feel as if you suffered injuries in the crash, you should also ask the 911 dispatcher you speak with to send an ambulance to the scene to check on you at the crash site. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have to transport you to the hospital, but at the very least, they can perform a few tests to confirm nothing appears to be majorly wrong with you and that you appear reasonably okay to operate a vehicle before you get to a doctor of your choice for a more comprehensive evaluation.
Start Compiling Evidence in the Eventuality You Must File a Car Accident Claim
There’s no time like the present to start preserving evidence when there’s a wealth of it at your fingertips at the accident scene. If you feel well enough to do so, take the time after your collision occurs as you wait for the police to arrive to:
- Snap photographs of the damage to your and the other driver’s vehicle, any visible injuries you and the other motorist may have received, or any potential road hazards that may have contributed to the crash.
- Take video footage of notable traffic patterns in the area, weather conditions at the time of the crash, or any accounts of what happened that you hear the other driver or witnesses sharing around you.
- Get the names of any potential witnesses who saw what happened leading up to the crash or right when it occurred.
As you do all of this, be careful not to make any admissions of guilt for the rear-end crash. Also, steer clear of sharing any details about how you feel. If the other driver or the responding police officer asks about how you feel and you haven’t yet requested an ambulance or you intend to do so, then you can just let them know you’re unsure how you feel and that you’ll have your doctor check you out. Keep things factual yet as vague as possible too.
Visit Your Doctor for a Comprehensive Medical Exam
It’s always best to receive a medical evaluation after a rear-end crash, no matter how your vehicle’s damage looks or how you feel. Injuries that are commonplace with a rear-end accident, like the following, sometimes have a delayed onset:
- Back injuries like herniated discs or spinal cord injuries
- Neck injuries, including whiplash, may cause soft tissue injuries resulting in radiating pain into the arms and hands
- Internal organ damage, such as a severed liver or punctured spleen
- Head trauma or traumatic brain injuries, including concussions
It’s quite possible for you not to have any initial apparent symptoms indicative of something being wrong with you but for your health to quickly deteriorate, causing irreversible harm. If you see a physician immediately following your accident and let them know you were involved in a crash, this should trigger them to perform specific tests like a concussion protocol, range of motion, and other “checks” to ascertain if you’re showing early signs of impairment.
If you happen to get checked out by paramedics at the scene where your rear-end collision occurred or by a doctor immediately thereafter and are released to go home and you start to feel worse, you should always get re-checked right away. Always follow any medical provider’s treatment plan as well.
Establish an Attorney-Client Relationship With a Personal Injury Lawyer
Individuals often assume that just because a motorist was in the second position (the vehicle behind another), they’re the driver that caused the rear-end crash. That’s not always the case. There are actions that the front vehicle may take, such as repeatedly pulsing the brakes, their car breaking down, or cutting in tight in front of another motorist, that may shift the blame for the crash to them instead of the rear driver.
It should also be noted that the occupants of the front vehicle aren’t the only ones that can suffer injuries in a rear-end crash. Motorists in the second (rear) vehicle are particularly vulnerable to head trauma, for example, if their heads strike the dashboard or windshield as they abruptly apply their brakes to try and avoid an accident or soften the impact.
The details above are some of the many factors an attorney will consider and use to rebut an insurance company’s claim of liability for a crash when they try to shift blame exclusively to the position two vehicle (if you suffered injuries). On the flip side of the coin, knowing these potential defenses insurance adjusters often use can make it easier to compile evidence in a Biloxi car accident case that casts doubt on the front car’s driver partially or wholly having any liability for what happened.
As you might have surmised by now, liability is key in any car accident claim, including when rear-end accidents occur. It determines whether an injured party can recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other crash-related expenses. This is often why attorneys like ours at Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law recommend that car accident victims align themselves with legal counsel soon after their crash. It helps control the narrative and thus preserve their rights when it’s done before any statements are made to insurance adjusters that could significantly impact the outcome in their Mississippi case.
Moving Forward With Your Rear-End Car Accident Claim
As you’re considering steps to take after a rear-end crash, reporting the incident to the insurance company, compiling your medical reports and bills, notating your lost wages, filing a car accident claim, and negotiating a settlement with an adjuster is certainly something you can handle yourself. However, if there’s any doubt about liability for your rear-end collision and you or the other motorists involved suffered significant injuries in the wreck, consulting with a car accident attorney to ensure you don’t unnecessarily expose yourself to legal liability is key.
Your initial consultation at our Biloxi office with Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law is completely free, so you have nothing to lose by reaching out to us to discuss your case. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
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