What To Do After a Rear-End Collision

Rear-end collisions are some of the most common accidents in Alabama. This does not, however, make them any less serious or devastating to victims. Not all rear-end collisions are simple fender benders. Some can cause major and even fatal personal injuries. If you get into a rear-end collision in Alabama, stay calm and preserve your rights by taking certain steps. The other driver may owe you compensation for your medical bills and property damages.

Check Yourself for Injuries

After a rear-end collision, pull to the side of the road or in a safe location and turn on your hazard lights. The law requires everyone involved in an accident to stop at the scene and exchange information. If the driver that hit you flees the scene, try to get his or her license plate numbers or at least a vehicle description. Check to see if you have any injuries. Soft-tissue injuries are the most common in rear-end collisions.

  • Whiplash is a tear or strain in the tendons of the neck. Its symptoms can include neck pain or stiffness, headache, and loss of range of motion in the neck.
  • Back injury. The back whipping back and forth in a rear-end collision could cause injuries such as disk herniation or a pinched nerve. Feel for any back pain when you exit your vehicle.
  • Torn muscle. You may have torn or pulled a muscle anywhere in the body in an accident. Note any stiffness, pain, soreness or trouble moving.

You could also suffer injuries such as head injury, traumatic brain injury, concussion, laceration or broken bones in a rear-end collision. If you have any noticeable injuries, call 911 to report the accident and request medical care. If you do not believe you have any injuries, go to the doctor after you leave the scene for an exam anyway. Your adrenaline may be masking injury symptoms.

Protect Your Rights

No matter which side of the rear-end collision you were on, do not admit fault or apologize for the accident. Remain courteous to the other driver, but do not say anything he or she could construe as you admitting fault. Since Alabama is a tort state, someone will need to identify the at-fault driver before you can file an insurance claim. If the other driver will not admit fault, wait for an investigation to assign it instead. In the meantime, protect your rights by calling the police.

Although you only legally have to report a collision to the police if it causes injuries, deaths or at least $500 in damage, calling 911 after any accident could help you. Asking the police to visit the scene can result in an official police report to document the event. The police can take photographs of the crash, talk to witnesses and gather other information related to your rear-end collision. You may be able to use this information to help your claim later.

Call the Insurance Company

Exchange information with the other driver, including names, phone numbers and auto insurance information. Call the police if the other driver does not have insurance or refuses to give you his or her insurance information. Arrange where to tow or drive your vehicle for repairs with help from the police. Go to the hospital if you have any injuries. Once you are well enough, call the other driver’s insurance company and file an accident report.

Contact an Attorney

Give the at-fault driver’s insurance company time to investigate the collision. Do not let the insurer record a statement from you or convince you to accept the first settlement offer. Instead, contact a car accident lawyer for counsel. A personal injury attorney in Birmingham, Alabama can help you understand the value of your claim, which could be substantially more than the insurance company initially offered. The other driver may owe you for your medical bills, lost wages, property repairs and more. An attorney can take over insurance claim negotiations while you focus on your future.