The Most Important Step to Take after a Rear-End Collision

Every year, there are roughly 2 million rear-end collisions in the US. While rear-end crashes are rarely fatal, about a third of victims report injuries. These injuries tend to differ from other auto accidents. In our post today, we’ll look at what you should expect after being rear-ended. Plus, the steps you should take (including the most important one).

Topics we’ll cover include:

  • Common causes of rear-end crashes
  • Common injuries caused by rear-end collisions
  • Difficulties in filing claims with insurance companies
  • What to do after a rear-end collision
  • What to do if the driver did not have insurance coverage

How Do Rear-End Collisions Happen?

While there are many scenarios that lead to rear-end collisions, the number one cause can be boiled down to one word: inattentiveness.

There are several reasons why a driver might be inattentive:

  • Distracted (such as using a cell phone or messing with a radio)
  • Drowsy
  • Poor judgment/focus on traffic conditions

Also, we’ve met with clients who have been rear-ended because the other driver was speeding, following too close, or driving under the influence.

Driver inattention primary cause for rear-end collisions

What are the Most Common Injuries from Rear-End Collisions?

Some of the most common injuries we see from rear-end collisions include:

  • Neck strains and pain
  • Lower back strains and pain
  • Headaches
  • Concussions

When we use the word “whiplash,” we’re referring to the soft tissue damage of the neck and back. Without a doubt, this is the most common complaint we hear from clients who have been rear-ended.

If your hands were gripped on the steering wheel, you might also suffer from sprained (or even broken) wrists. In more severe cases, we’ve seen broken bones, facial disfigurement, air bag-related injuries, and even death.

Here’s the most important thing to understand about rear-end crash injuries: in many cases, symptoms may not appear immediately. These whiplash-type injuries may not manifest for days afterwards. Understanding this will help you best handle your rear-end accident and make sure you heal as quick as possible.


Why are Insurance Companies Often Difficult When Filing a Claim?

Are you OK?” your insurance adjustor will ask when you call to file the claim. Our advice: be careful how you answer this question. Insurance adjustors will work hard to discredit your personal injury claim.

Here’s the problem: right after the accident, you may feel OK. So you tell the adjustor that you’re uninjured. Even worse if you provide this information as part of a recorded statement. The next day you wake up with debilitating back pain. You can’t go into work, or carry on with your normal activities. If you go back and tell the adjustor you’re now in a lot of pain, they may not believe you. After all, perhaps your back pain is due to something unrelated, because just yesterday, you said you were fine.

We suggest that you take care in answering any questions about the extent of your injuries to the insurance company. Do not agree to provide a recorded statement. Tell them that you’ll have the doctor’s report and medical bills sent to their office. Or better yet, tell them that your car accident lawyer will be in touch with them.

What is the Most Important Thing to do After Being Rear-Ended?

We’d like to end this post by sharing our #1 suggestion if you’ve been in a rear-end collision. It’s this: seek medical care. Now. Yes, even before you experience any back or neck pain. Even if you think you’re fine. Ideally, do this the same day.

When you go to the doctor’s office the same day of your accident, you help yourself in two ways. First, the doctor can assess the extent of your injuries to recommend the best course of treatment. Ultimately, this means you’re back to normal faster. Second, getting a doctor’s report will help document your condition in case you are injured and end up filing a claim. It gives your claim credence, and valuable evidence that your injury attorney can work with.

Other Steps to Take after a Rear-End Accident

We think we’ve made our point about seeking medical care. What other steps might you take after a rear-end collision though?

  • Take pictures of the scene
  • If possible, safely move your vehicles off the roadway
  • Call 911 for assistance if serious injuries and/or debris/vehicles on roadway
  • Exchange contact information with the other driver
  • Notify your insurance company – ideally within 24 hours

If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, we’d encourage you to additionally reach out to our office. It’s free to speak with our attorneys and we may be able to help you navigate the critical next steps.

What Happens if You’ve Been Rear-Ended by Someone without Insurance?

If you were hit by a driver who does not have insurance, you may be able to file a claim against your own insurance policy. Your uninsured and under-insured motorists’ coverage exists for this purpose. Make sure to call your insurance company and tell them what happened.

Of course, we recommend you call a qualified car accident attorney if you feel you aren’t getting anywhere with the insurance company. This is particularly important if you have significant injuries and will be dealing with steep medical expenses as a result of your crash.

Free Consultation with a Rear-End Collision Attorney in WA

Not every collision is the same. If you’ve been rear-ended in Washington State and are facing medical bills, please call the attorneys at Ladenburg Law at 253.272.5226. We’ve helped hundreds of victims who have been rear-ended before and we know how to navigate these types of claims successfully. Remember, it’s free to come meet with us for an initial consultation about your case. We know that a webpage isn’t a proper substitute for answering all your questions. We’d love to help you – please reach out!

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