A rear-end car accident might seem minor, just a bump from behind.
But even low-speed collisions can cause life-long injury.
What can you expect after a rear-end crash?
We’ve written this guide on what to do after you’ve had one and what you might experience.
Are you at fault?
In most rear-end collisions, the driver with front-end damage is at fault for the crash.
But that’s not always the case.
If you slam on your brakes suddenly because you were distracted, that could be used against you to reduce your settlement.
However, it’s rare that you would be entirely at fault. People driving behind you are supposed to leave sufficient stopping distance. Following too closely is a traffic violation for a good reason.
It’s quite likely that the other driver and their insurance company will want to settle the case as soon as they can after a rear-end collision.
However, don’t let them off the hook so quickly!
Steps to calculate damages
You need to make sure that your compensation is adequate before you sign any paperwork.
Here are some things that can help you calculate your full damages:
1. Check your car
In addition to medical bills, you need to calculate the costs for repair or replacing the damaged vehicle.
Your auto insurance company also needs to know what happened. Depending on the circumstances, they may cover the costs.
However, if they won’t cover the costs, then a lawyer can factor those into any settlement offer or lawsuit with the other driver.
If possible, write down or record what you remember about the accident as soon as you can.
2. Take photographs of the damage
Your insurance company and your lawyer will want to see these to determine compensation.
3. Get a diagnosis
It can take weeks for the symptoms of an injury from a rear-end collision to appear. Some injuries like broken bones or soft tissue damage are immediately apparent.
Before you file a lawsuit, you should get a full examination from a doctor with experience in treating patients who have been in a collision. This diagnosis will help your lawyer determine how much they should charge for a rear-end accident settlement.
If your rear-end collision was severe and you were sent to the hospital immediately, you can have a family member call a lawyer on your behalf to get an estimate.
A great way is to keep a pain journal. Every day, write down your physical and emotional symptoms, as well as the challenges you faced during the day thanks to your injuries. Be sure to include the date and time in your entries and only tell the truth. A pain journal can be a powerful piece of evidence should you have to sue.
4. Consult with a lawyer
If you receive settlement paperwork, take the paperwork and the other information you’ve collected to a personal injury lawyer you trust.
You should ask them if they believe the amount you’re offered is adequate for your injuries. In the best case, the settlement will be sufficient and an initial consultation will be enough.
However, if it’s not enough, then you may need to hire a lawyer to get what you deserve. Many people are scared to do this because they are worried about the costs of hiring one.
Fortunately, in personal injury cases, lawyers are most often paid on contingency. This means you don’t have to pay your lawyer unless they win your case.
Usually, you will pay them a percentage of your final settlement or whatever damages are awarded at trial.
Don’t think that just because you were rear-ended that you have a slam-dunk case. Your injuries could get worse, and you might find that your quick settlement from the other driver wasn’t enough.
Do your due diligence after an accident, and your chances of getting the compensation you truly deserve will be much higher.