If Someone Rear-Ends You, Whose Insurance Do You Call?

Whose insurance should you contact if you are rear-ended?
This is a frequently asked question in the Vehicle safety and insurance community regarding auto insurance.

When the lead driver’s negligence contributed to the accident and the applicable state law limits or eliminates the lead driver’s ability to recover damages from the trailing driver who was primarily at fault.

Let’s examine the aforementioned circumstances, how they impact a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages after a car accident, and more. (Learn the fundamentals of establishing fault in a car accident.)

After a rear-end collision, it may appear that identifying the at-fault driver is straightforward, but small details can drastically alter the liability picture.

Even if liability has been established, the amount of compensation to which the claimant is entitled may be contested, especially if they contributed to the accident.

 

Therefore, it is essential to at least consult with a car accident attorney, whose assistance can be crucial in all phases of a car accident lawsuit, including establishing fault.

A lawyer can ensure a favourable outcome in the car insurance settlement process if no lawsuit is filed.

Being involved in an accident or hit-and-run is one of the most stressful situations a car owner can face, but being thorough and well-prepared at the scene of the accident will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

If someone rear-ends you, you may not know whose insurance company to contact or what information you should obtain from the other driver.

Before you head to the body shop, there are a few things you should do at the scene of the accident, such as calling the insurance company of the person who rear-ended you.

ESTABLISHING RESPONSIBILITY FOR REAR-END CRASHES

Before we discuss whose insurance you should contact if someone rear-ends you, let’s examine the causes of rear-end collisions and how to establish fault.

Almost always, the driver of a vehicle that rear-ends a vehicle in front of it will be at least partially negligent (“negligence” is the legal principle that determines fault in a car accident).

This is due to the fact that every driver has a responsibility to follow other vehicles at a safe distance that varies based on vehicle speed, road conditions, and numerous other factors.

However, it is possible for the driver of the rear-ending vehicle to also be deemed negligent, such as when:

• the lead driver abruptly shifts to reverse

• The leading vehicle’s brake lights are not operational

• The leading driver performs a “brake check” on the trailing driver

The lead driver continues to operate the lead vehicle without turning on the hazard lights or stopping, despite the vehicle having an obvious issue, such as a flat tyre or mechanical issue.

In each of these scenarios, the driver of the vehicle that is rear-ended is likely at least partially responsible for the collision.

How this negligence impacts any potential monetary damages will depend on how your state handles situations in which multiple parties are at fault for an accident.

 

AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS AND THE IDEA OF NEGLIGENCE

Negligence is used to describe behaviour that causes harm to others and falls below a minimal standard of care.

Essentially, you are negligent if someone is injured as a result of your unreasonable behaviour. What constitutes reasonable behaviour in an accident depends on the surrounding circumstances.

To establish that a driver was negligent in a car accident, you must first establish that a duty existed. All drivers have a responsibility to other drivers on the road not to do anything that could cause an accident.

Second, you must demonstrate that the other motorist violated this duty. There are numerous ways in which rear-end collision drivers can breach their duty of reasonable care, including failing to:

• pay attention to the road and watch out for potential dangers

• stop in a reasonable amount of time

• maintain a sensible speed

• keep control of the vehicle

• grant the right-of-way

• employ turn signal

• maintain a safe distance.

Third, you must demonstrate that the accident was caused by the other driver’s breach of duty. If the defendant was legally intoxicated, but the plaintiff ran a red light, then it is possible that the plaintiff will lose the case.

You must also demonstrate that you suffered damages as a result of the accident. This includes automobile accident-related injuries and vehicle damage.

In theory, this is fairly straightforward, especially when it’s straightforward to identify the driver at fault. But what happens when two or more drivers are negligent and cause an accident?

 

Comparing Comparative Negligence versus Contributory Negligence

If multiple drivers are at fault for a car accident, the outcome will vary by state. The majority of states have adopted “comparative negligence” rules, while a few still use a “contributory negligence” system that is relatively harsh.

Let’s examine the distinction between the two;

Few states continue to subscribe to this system. Essentially, under the law of contributory negligence, Driver B cannot recover anything in a lawsuit against Driver A if Driver A can prove that Driver B’s negligence contributed in any way to the accident.

Therefore, if Driver B was 1 percent at fault for the collision, Driver A owes them nothing, even if Driver A was 99 percent at fault.

Comparative negligence is used to assign fault to drivers. If the other driver is partially at fault for an accident, the driver’s liability may be reduced but not necessarily eliminated. There are two variants of the system of comparative negligence:

Pure comparative negligence: Liability is divided according to the proportion of fault attributable to each driver. Therefore, if Driver A is 30 percent at fault for a car accident and has $10,000 in damages, Driver B is only liable for $7,000. (who was 70 percent to blame for the accident.)

Modified comparative negligence: Liability is divided in proportion to the percentage of fault, up to a certain threshold. Once a plaintiff reaches or surpasses this threshold, recovery is barred.

Typically, this limit is 50 percent. In other words, if a plaintiff is responsible for more than 50 percent of the accident, he or she cannot recover anything from the other at-fault drivers.

These rules of comparative negligence will apply in the event that your car accident lawsuit goes to trial, but insurance adjusters also consider them when negotiating a settlement after an accident.

RECOVERING DAMAGES AFTER A REAR-END CRASH

In the majority of rear-end collisions, the driver of the rear vehicle is legally obligated to pay for the lead driver’s financial damages.

The repair costs for the lead vehicle are typically straightforward to calculate, so many auto insurers are quick to cover them. However, when it comes to paying for the lead driver’s medical bills, complications frequently arise.

Back and whiplash injuries, which are common in rear-end collisions, are frequently difficult to quantify because they do not always manifest in diagnostic exams.

Contact your insurance company

Whose insurance should you contact if you are rear-ended? You will always contact your insurance company first if you believe you are not at fault in an accident or if you are involved in a hit-and-run incident.

Many individuals are hesitant to report an accident to their insurer for fear that their premiums will increase.

However, the majority of state laws prohibit insurance companies from increasing premiums due to accidents that are not the policyholder’s fault.

Regardless of who is at fault, informing your insurance company of an accident establishes good faith and can aid you in the future, particularly if the other driver is not determined to be at fault.

Regardless of whether you believe you are at fault, you should always report accidents to your insurer.

Your car insurance company is typically responsible for covering (depending on your coverage) the immediate costs associated with an accident or hit-and-run.

If you have collision insurance, filing a claim with your insurer is the first step toward having your vehicle repaired or replaced. While you may be responsible for a deductible or other costs, your insurance should cover the remainder.

In the event of an accident involving another driver, your insurance companies will work together, if possible, to determine who is at fault for the collision.

If you are found to be not at fault, your insurance company will work to recover any costs they or you may have incurred as a result of the accident.

Before this entire process can begin, however, you must assist your insurance company in resolving the issue by performing certain tasks.

COLLECT IMPORTANT INFORMATION AT THE SCENE

The final piece of information we will provide in this article on who’s insurance you should contact if you are rear-ended is how to collect vital information at the scene while contacting your insurance company.

In certain reporting systems, such as an MVR, insurance companies may incorrectly indicate that a non-fault accident was caused by the insured.

If you find yourself in this situation, you will be required to provide proof that the accident was not your fault so that it can be removed from this and other records.

Regardless of who you believe to be at fault, this is one of the reasons why it is essential to collect all pertinent information whenever you are involved in an accident.

Depending on the severity of the accident and the resulting damage, you should call the police and explain that you’ve been involved in an accident with another driver.

It is especially important to call the police if anyone has been injured, if your vehicle has sustained significant damage, or if other property has been damaged.

In order to prove fault in an accident, it is essential to have an impartial third party record a statement from you, the other driver(s), and any witnesses, regardless of the severity of the collision.

If possible, obtain a copy of the police report or the report number so that your insurance company can obtain it easily.

Numerous state laws, including Missouri’s, mandate the reporting of accidents involving death, bodily injury, and/or property damage exceeding $500.

Regardless of whether the police are called, there are some additional details you must collect on your own, such as:

• Name and address of the opposing driver

• Contact information for the opposing motorist

• Additional driver’s licence details

• The insurance company and policy information for the other driver

• Photographs of the accident site and any property damage

• Statements and contact information for any accident witnesses

Most insurance companies provide accident checklists and mobile apps that can be utilised at the scene of an accident to ensure that all pertinent information is properly documented and saved.

The person who struck your vehicle is responsible for contacting their insurance company, but you must provide their insurance information to your insurance company when you file a claim.

Your insurance company contacting the other driver’s insurance company ensures that the other driver’s insurance company is notified of the accident.

After you’ve gathered all the necessary information, your insurance company can assist in resolving the situation and getting you back on the road as soon as possible.