In the first minutes after a rear end collision, drivers and passengers may have difficulty staying calm and remembering what they should do. Neither driver should admit fault as they interact with each other – this is the responsibility of law enforcement to determine. Drivers should have a basic idea of the procedure to follow if they are involved in a collision.
Check Cars and the Other Driver
Check yourself after you have rear ended another vehicle. If your car was moving quickly enough, your air bags will deploy, which may cause some minor injuries or major injuries if you were too close to the steering wheel or if your hands were improperly placed on the steering wheel.
Get out of your car if it is safe and ask the other driver if he is injured. You may have caused structural damage to the other driver’s vehicle as well as your own, so check both vehicles for damage that did not exist before the accident.
Move Vehicles to a Safer Area
If the accident scene does not pose a danger to you, the driver of the vehicle you struck or other vehicles passing by, leave your vehicles where they are. If your cars might cause hazard to other drivers coming by, try to mark where your vehicles were, then move them off the road.
Traffic officers who respond to the accident have to be able to mark where each vehicle was when the accident happened. It also helps them reconstruct the accident and determine fault.
Call 911 for Help
Law enforcement in your community needs to take a report of the accident. You or the other driver should call 911 and ask for an officer to respond to your location. If you are on a cellphone, remember to provide your location information.
Get a Copy of the Accident Report
Your insurance company, as well as that of the other driver, need copies of the accident report so claims can be paid. If you do not call law enforcement and no report is filed, the insurance companies may not pay out for damage claims. If anyone was injured in the collision, both drivers’ insurance companies need to know this as well.
Exchange Driver Information
Both drivers need to exchange names and phone numbers, Even if you are at fault, you should offer to exchange your name and phone number(s) with the other driver.
If there were any witnesses to the accident – passengers or bystanders – obtain their names and phone numbers as well, recommends the Memphis Injury Lawyer blog.
Contact Your Insurance Company
After you have called law enforcement and given your account of the accident, and exchanged information with the other driver as well as any witnesses, it is time to call your insurance company. Whether you were at fault in the accident or not, your insurance company has to start processing your claim.
If you were at fault, your provider may have to pay damage claims, not only on your vehicle, but that of the vehicle you hit.