| Read Time: 3 minutes | Car Accidents

Were you recently rear-ended while stopped? Not only are you likely dealing with injuries, but you are probably asking yourself questions like, Is my insurance premium going to go up? Can I be held liable? Where will I get the money to pay medical bills and auto repairs? These questions are valid concerns, so we put together a five-step guide on what to do after getting rear-ended while stopped.

Top Rear-End Accident Causes

Rear-end accidents can be particularly terrifying because you almost always don’t see it coming, and usually, there is some negligence on the part of the driver who hit you. The top causes for a driver rear-ending you include:

  • Tailgating or following too closely,
  • Speeding,
  • Reckless driving,
  • Road rage or aggressive driving,
  • Driving while intoxicated, or
  • Driving while distracted (e.g., texting).

Sometimes, the other driver simply took their eyes off the road, but no matter the reason, they may be liable to you for damages. Notably, California is an at-fault state, meaning the driver at fault for the accident is responsible for injuries and damages. A seasoned personal injury attorney can help you hold the other driver accountable. 

What to Do After Getting Rear-Ended While Stopped in California?

It is common to panic after being rear-ended and be unsure of what to do in the moments, days, and weeks after the collision, so we put together a list of five steps to guide you through the aftermath. Remember, every situation and accident is different, and every step might not apply to you. On the other hand, there may be specific steps you should take that won’t apply to most other accident victims. 

The following five steps provide a general guideline on what to do after being rear-ended.

Call 911 & Seek Medical Attention

Depending on the speed the car was going at the time it hit you, you can end up with severe, even life-threatening injuries. If that is the case, 911 should be called immediately. However, even if you believe you are uninjured or suffered only minor injuries, seeking immediate medical treatment is essential. The shock, terror, and adrenaline from the crash can mask the pain you feel and the injuries you might have. Injuries often get worse over time, especially with soft tissue injuries. 

After a rear-end crash, there are a handful of expected injuries, including whiplash, fractured bones, lacerations, sprains, soft-tissue tears, burns, and even paralysis.

No matter the nature and extent of the injury, you may still need treatment by a doctor or other medical professional, including:

  • Emergency room care, 
  • Primary care services,
  • Surgery,
  • Orthopedic services,
  • Physical and occupational therapy,
  • Radiology and other diagnostic services, and
  • Pharmaceutical care. 

Always follow up as directed by your doctor, and do not stop treatment unless your treating physicians have approved it. 

Gather Information About the Accident Scene

If you are able, gather any evidence and information you can. Snap pictures or videos with your phone of the accident scene, injuries, vehicles, location, and anything else you think might be relevant. It is also good to exchange information with the other driver, including their name and insurance information. 

If the police respond to the crash, they will likely ask you for a statement, and you should calmly and matter-of-factly tell them what occurred. The officer will document this in the accident report, which you will obtain a copy of later. 

If you notice people present at the scene, ask them for their information. Eyewitness accounts can be crucial to proving liability.

We also encourage you to note any nearby surveillance or traffic cameras and write down quick notes about what you can remember before and after the crash. 

Stay Off Social Media

In an age where social media is available at every moment, it is important to resist the urge to post about your accident on your social media accounts. While you may think a post or picture is harmless, the insurance company may use it against you to avoid liability. 

Avoid Speaking with the Other Driver’s Insurance Representative

You will be contacted by your insurance company and the other driver’s insurance company and asked to provide a recorded statement. While it is necessary to do this, you should consult with a lawyer first to protect your rights.

Consult a California Car Accident Attorney

If you’ve been rear-ended in California, you should speak with an attorney to discuss your legal rights, options, and obligations under the law. While this is hopefully a one-time event in your life, we handle these claims daily. We know the law and understand how insurance companies and the justice system operate. Let us use our expertise to help you get the compensation you and your family deserve. It is important to remember you typically only have two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. Don’t wait.

At Frederick Law Firm, we always take an aggressive yet personal approach with each of our clients. We aren’t afraid to challenge big firms or insurance companies. We’ll fight tirelessly for you. Contact us to schedule a no-cost, compassionate consultation today.

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