What Should I Do if Someone Rear Ends Me?
Most auto accidents play out in familiar ways. One typical scenario is the all-too-common rear-end collision.
Should you find yourself in this situation, the first step is to make sure that you and your passengers (if any) are okay. Check on the people in the other vehicle as well.
The next step is to call law enforcement and, if necessary, paramedics. Remember to exchange contact information with the other party and document the accident with photos, notes, and videos.
You should contact your insurance company as well as a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after the collision. It’s never too early to start thinking about getting the compensation you deserve.
Is a rear-end collision automatically the other party’s fault? Not necessarily
A driver’s license is a privilege, not a right. By having one, you agree to act responsibly while behind the wheel. Generally speaking, this entails three obligations:
- Following the rules of the road: This includes obeying speed limits, stopping at red lights, and allowing plenty of distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of yours.
- Staying alert at all times: Driving hazards can pop up at any time. It’s your job to keep an eye out for them and act accordingly.
- Taking care of your vehicle: This includes keeping the brakes, lights, and other safety devices in good condition.
In most cases, a court or insurance investigator will rule that a driver who rear-ends someone else is in violation of the first two obligations; thus the blame for the wreck is upon them.
However, the court may decide differently if, for example, your brake lights were inoperative at the time of the collision. The other driver can argue that you were negligent by not taking care of your automobile. This is one more reason to check your car’s systems on a regular basis and correct any problems right away. Otherwise, you may be partly or even wholly at fault for the wreck.
Another circumstance in which fault is unclear is when the driver who rear-ended you was part of a multi-car collision that started somewhere down the line. Cases such as these may require extensive investigations to determine who’s at fault.
What you should do regardless of the circumstances
There are certain steps you should take after an accident, no matter who or what caused it. These include:
- Making sure you’re okay: If in doubt, then don’t hesitate to call for emergency medical help. The same goes for your passengers (if any) and the occupants of the other vehicle. Human health and well-being always come first.
- Contacting law enforcement: Never assume that an accident is too minor to involve the police.
- Documenting the wreck: This is where a smartphone or other mobile device can pay for itself many times over. Take pictures, make videos, and record any observations you may have. Note the weather, time of day, and any unusual road conditions such as potholes, loose gravel, or crumbling asphalt.
- Look around for witnesses: Third-party testimony plays a crucial role in many auto accident cases. Ask the witnesses to stick around and talk to the police when they arrive. At the very least, you should get their names and phone numbers.
- Exchange contact information and insurance details with the other party: This is essential for getting your vehicle repaired and for addressing any injuries you or others suffered in the collision.
- Contact a Los Angeles auto accident law firm: Never assume that the insurance company will offer you a fair deal. It always helps to have a professional legal opinion.
In some cases, the other party may refuse to stick around for the police. If they leave, then try to get their license plate number and a description of their vehicle. Pass this information on to law enforcement when they arrive on the scene.
Why Ellis Injury Law should be your first choice for an auto accident attorney
Car accident law is a complex field that requires a specially trained Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. Taking your chances with a jack-of-all-trades law firm can leave you without the compensation you need to pay medical bills, cover lost wages, and afford the repairs to your vehicle.
That’s why here at Ellis Injury Law we focus on auto accident cases. You can trust our attorneys to represent your interests effectively. Also, we offer free consultations and are available 24/7 for your convenience.
Auto accidents can hit hard. Hit back harder by getting in touch with an Ellis car accident lawyer today.