Picture this: You’re sitting at a red light on your way home from the grocery store, perhaps thinking about work, maybe thinking about what you’ll have for dinner that night. The next thing you know, you get hit from behind. You didn't see it coming, you didn’t see tailgating from another motorist, and you definitely weren't expecting it—and now you're injured. There was no way to avoid it, and now you wonder what you're going to do. You’re hurting and upset because the driver behind you was driving too fast or talking on a cell phone and didn’t see you stopped there.
If you were injured in a rear-end collision with a car or a truck, you may be concerned about how you’re going to pay for medical bills, how you’re going to get around while your car is getting fixed, and who is going to pay for that. If your injuries are serious, you’re probably concerned with missing work and how this is going to impact your life, and your family’s life moving forward. In this blog, we’re going to cover what you should do immediately after and how to deal with insurance companies after a rear-end accident, from an experienced lawyer’s perspective.
Immediate actions to take
Here’s what you should do right away:
1. Check for injuries: Make sure that you and any passengers in your car are okay. If anyone is injured, call 911 immediately.
2. Move to a safe location: If the accident is minor and the cars are still drivable, move them to a safe location off the road.
3. Exchange information: Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident.
4. Document the accident: Take photos of the damage to both cars, the surrounding area, and the license plates. Write down the time, date, and location of the accident, as well as any other details you can remember.
5. Contact your insurance company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
6. Seek medical attention: Even if you don't feel injured, it's a good idea to get checked out by a doctor as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.
7. Consult with an attorney: If you were injured or suffered significant damages, consider consulting with a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options.
Remember to stay calm and polite throughout the entire process, and avoid admitting fault or apologizing as this may be used against you later.
Navigating insurance companies after a rear-end accident
After the accident, the insurance companies involved will likely start contacting the victim for information about the accident. It is important to remember that insurance companies are businesses, and their goal is to pay out as little as possible. Therefore, it is important to be careful when dealing with them.
Notify their own insurance company: First, the victim should notify their own insurance company about the accident, even if they were not at fault. This is important because many insurance policies have time limits for reporting accidents, and failure to do so could result in a loss of coverage.
Only provide basic information: When dealing with the other driver's insurance company, the victim should be cautious about what they say. They should only provide basic information such as their name, contact information, and the date and location of the accident. They should not admit fault or give any statements about their injuries or damages.
Document everything: It is also important for the victim to document everything related to the accident, including photographs of the damage to both vehicles, any injuries, and the accident scene. They should also keep track of all medical bills, lost wages, and other expenses related to the accident.
Find an experienced rear-end accident lawyer
In addition to investigating the accident and gathering evidence, hiring a rear-end auto accident lawyer can also help you navigate the legal process. Experts from a personal injury law firm can work with insurance companies on your behalf to negotiate a fair settlement and can represent you in court if necessary.
A skilled lawyer can also help you understand your legal rights and options, including the possibility of filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. They can also help you calculate the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Furthermore, a rear-end collision lawyer can take the burden off of you by handling all aspects of your case, including paperwork, negotiations, and court appearances. This can allow you to focus on your recovery and get back to your normal life as soon as possible.
Hiring a rear-end car crash lawyer can be a crucial step in recovering the compensation you deserve after a collision. They can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.
Common injuries from rear-end car accidents
Some of the most common injuries suffered by victims in rear-end motor vehicle accidents include:
One common injury that can occur in a rear-end car accident is whiplash. Whiplash happens when the head is suddenly jerked forward and then backward, causing damage to the neck muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Symptoms of whiplash can include neck pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, and fatigue.
Other injuries that can occur in a rear-end car accident include back injuries, such as herniated discs or spinal cord injuries. These types of injuries can be very serious and can cause long-term pain and disability.
In addition to physical injuries, rear-end car accidents can also cause emotional trauma, such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These emotional injuries can be just as debilitating as physical injuries and may require medical treatment and therapy to overcome.
Medical care after a rear-end car accident
If you have been involved in a rear-end car accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away, even if you do not feel injured. Some injuries may not show symptoms immediately but can cause long-term damage if left untreated. It is also important to contact an experienced car accident attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses.
If you have been involved in a rear-end collision accident, there are several options available to you for seeking compensation for your injuries. The first step is to seek medical attention immediately, even if you do not feel any pain. Whiplash and other soft tissue injuries may not show symptoms right away but can cause long-term damage if left untreated.
Compensation for your accident injuries
After seeking medical attention, you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you navigate the legal process and maximize your compensation. Your attorney will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.
In addition to medical expenses, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage. Your attorney can help you calculate the full extent of your damages and negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, your attorney may recommend filing a lawsuit to seek compensation through the court system. While this can be a lengthy and complex process, a skilled lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights.
It is important to act quickly after a rear-end collision accident to protect your rights and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. With the help of an experienced personal injury attorney, you can focus on your recovery while your legal team fights for your rights and interests.
Illinois rear-end car accident laws
In Illinois, the law recognizes that a driver who rear-ends another vehicle is typically at fault for the accident. This is because the driver who hits the other vehicle from behind is presumed to have been following too closely or not paying enough attention to the road.
However, there are some situations where the driver who was rear-ended may be found partially at fault. For example, if the driver suddenly slammed on their brakes without warning or made an unexpected lane change, they may share some of the blame for the accident.
Illinois uses a modified comparative negligence system to determine fault and damages in car accidents. This means that if both drivers are found to be partially at fault for an accident, their compensation may be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to them. If a driver is found to be more than 50% at fault for an accident, they may not be eligible to receive any compensation from the other driver.
It is important for drivers in Illinois to carry adequate insurance coverage to protect themselves in the event of a rear-end accident. Illinois law requires drivers to carry liability insurance with minimum coverage of $25,000 for property damage and $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for bodily injury. However, many drivers choose to carry higher levels of coverage to ensure they are adequately protected in case of an accident.
Predatory methods of insurance companies
Insurance companies can try to take advantage of victims of rear-end car accidents in a number of ways.
Downplay injuries: They may try to downplay the extent of the injuries suffered by the victim, in order to avoid paying out a larger settlement. For example, they may argue that the injuries are not severe enough to warrant a significant payout, or that they were not caused by the accident in question.
Rush settlement decision: Insurance companies may try to rush the victim into accepting a settlement offer before they have had a chance to fully understand the extent of their injuries and the long-term impact they may have on their life. This can be particularly problematic if the victim has suffered a head injury or other type of trauma that may not be immediately evident.
Victim intimidation: Insurance companies may try to intimidate victims into accepting a lower settlement offer by threatening them with legal action if they do not agree to their terms. This can be particularly stressful for victims who are already dealing with the physical and emotional aftermath of a car accident.
It is important for victims of rear-end car accidents to be aware that insurance companies may not always have their best interests at heart. By seeking the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer, they can ensure that their rights are protected and that they receive fair compensation for their injuries and losses.
Rear-end car accident statistics and facts
Despite common misconceptions about rear-end accidents, collisions can be devastating for drivers and passengers. Roughly one-third of all rear-end collisions involve a reported injury and 7% of all accidents involve a fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Depending on the weight of the vehicle involved and the speed the driver was traveling at, these injuries can follow the victim for years to come. For example, large vehicles like trucks, SUVs, or jeeps can easily crush and roll over smaller passenger vehicles during a rear-end crash, causing debilitating crush injuries.
Even between passenger vehicles, these collisions can cause serious trauma. During a crash, the force of the rear vehicle is absorbed by the vehicle in front of it. While the vehicle’s metal frame, seatbelts, and airbags are designed to minimize the risk of trauma, the bodies of the driver and passengers often absorb the majority of the accident’s force. In addition, if the collision is at an intersection, the vehicle could be pushed into oncoming traffic or into other stopped vehicles, leading to secondary injuries.
During a rear-end accident, drivers and passengers can suffer serious injuries including brain damage if a driver or passenger strikes their head on the car’s interior, or death, often due to a roof collapse.
Get in touch with Palermo Law Group
Any injuries can come with costly medical bills, a significant amount of time away from work, and devastating physical and emotional pain. However, if your accident was caused by another driver, then you may be able to recover compensation from their liability policy. To do so, you will need to thoroughly review your injuries with a doctor, calculate the damages you have suffered, evaluate all available liability policies (including your own), and file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, all the while recovering from your injuries.
Instead of bearing these legal burdens on your own, let the team at Palermo Law Group deal with the insurance companies so you can focus on your recovery. We utilize all of the resources available to help your case, including experts in accident reconstruction, photographers, and actuaries. Our established network of contacts helps us get the best outcomes. Get in touch today for a free consultation.