Depending upon the severity of the crash; which could be just a slight tap on your rear bumper due to some one's foot slipping off the brake at a stop light. It could be a major collision, totaling your car, and causing you or your passengers severe long-term whiplash and other medical injuries.
Call the police. Even if your rear-ender is a slight bump; in order to facilitate your insurance claim, you will need a police accident report. Insurance companies need legal documentation that an accident actually occurred; when, where, how, what happened, and the parties and their vehicles involved.
Police will help both parties to get the information they need, but you need to be sure you have their data as well, and if you are able, do so before police arrive. You will need your insurance card, and your vehicle tag registration. Each party should get a copy of the police accident report. Assuming both parties are medically able, here is a list of the information you will need to exchange with the other driver:
- Name(s) of drivers and owners of the vehicle
- Phone numbers, home, work, and cell
- License tag numbers
- Drivers License numbers
- Name of insurance company, and agency
- Their phone numbers and claims numbers
- Physically look at insurance cards and drivers licenses
Additionally, if there are any witnesses to the crash, get their name, address, phone numbers.
Try to remain emotional calm, even though you may be dazed or shocked by the crash. Do not get into a hostile confrontation. Usually the other driver is also shaken up, so try to be helpful, if anyone needs emergency aid let the 911 operators know if you are the one who summons the police.
If you have a camera with you in your car (ideally a digital camera kept in your glove compartment or a cell phone) take photos of the accident and damage done. Note any unusual circumstances that might have led to the cause of the crash, or if the camera would help the claims department of an insurance company, or attorney determine negligence, or percent of negligence.
As an example; here is a a typical rear-ender
- Driver A is stopped
- Driver B hits the car from behind.
Some states assume Driver B is at fault, but Driver B may argue against that presumption of fault. For example, Driver B may argue that Driver A stopped so suddenly it was impossible not to hit them. In that example, liability or fault may be split between the drivers. In a comparative negligence state Driver B may be 70% at fault and driver B is 30% at fault. Some states don't use comparative negligence, but many do.
Always purchase the best possible auto coverage you can afford, in case of an accident. You never want auto insurance until you need auto insurance. Make the process easy by getting free quotes and purchasing your car insurance coverage with CarInsurance.com.