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September 2019

Distracted drivers, rear-end collisions and what to do next

According to data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, rear-end collisions accounted for about a third of all traffic accidents reported in 2014. They still happen daily and in large numbers nationwide.

If you become the victim of such a crash, would you know what steps to take afterward?

A little background

A report released by the NHTSA revealed that distracted drivers were responsible for 3,477 traffic fatalities and about 391,000 injuries in 2015. Inattentive drivers cause most rear-end collisions. Many people are fortunate enough to walk away, but some victims suffer serious injuries, including broken bones and head injuries.

Perform an injury check

If you are the victim of a rear-end crash, check yourself for any injuries, and then check everyone else involved, including bystanders. If there are injuries, even if someone just feels dizzy, call 911 to summon emergency medical personnel.

Call law enforcement

Call the police and report the accident. The officer who comes will write a report about the collision. Make sure you ask for a copy that you can give to your attorney. It will be important when the time comes to file a claim for insurance compensation.

Collect information

While waiting for law enforcement, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver. Keep the conversation to a minimum. Do not provide your opinion about the cause of the accident; let the police make that determination. If there were witnesses to the accident, ask for their names and contact information. Jot down the make, model and license plate number of the other vehicle. Note the location of the accident and the weather conditions at the time of the crash. If you have a cellphone, use the camera feature to take pictures of the vehicle damage from various angles.

Seek medical attention

Even if you feel fine except perhaps for frazzled nerves, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. The first priority is your wellbeing, but keep in mind that the physician will write a medical report. This will tie any injury you may have directly to the rear-end collision. Along with the police report, the medical report will provide valuable backup when your attorney negotiates an insurance settlement on your behalf.

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