a silver car with damaged rear end

I Rear Ended Someone Who Stopped Suddenly: What’s Next

December 13, 2023

Being involved in a rear-end collision, especially when it involves someone who stopped suddenly, can be an incredibly jarring experience, particularly when it comes to determining who’s at fault. If this does occur, it's always essential to know the steps to take in the immediate aftermath of the incident, not only for your safety but also to help you navigate the complexities of an insurance claim and help you get the compensation you deserve. So, what to do if you rear ended someone who stopped abruptly? Let’s take a look.

Make Sure You’re OK

First and foremost after any accident, you’ll want to check and make sure that you and any other passengers with you aren’t injured; always prioritise your and their safety and health above all else. If anyone is hurt, seek medical attention immediately - even if injuries seem minor, it’s wise to get checked out by a healthcare professional, as some injuries may not be immediately apparent.

Exchanging Contact Details With The Other Party

Once it’s clear that everyone is safe and healthy, you’ll need to exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver: this includes names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance company information. Even if you’re angry at the other driver for their reckless reversing, try to always be polite and cooperative, but do avoid discussing fault or making admissions of liability at this stage.

Assess the Damage

Next, you’ll want to evaluate the damage to both vehicles: if the vehicles are causing an obstruction and can be moved safely, it’s also best to move them to a safer spot nearby. However, if your car is badly damaged and moving it isn’t feasible or safe, leave it where it is.

Contact the Police

In the UK, you’re required to report any road traffic accident that leads to injury or significant vehicle damage to the police within 24 hours, so if the police arrive at the scene, cooperate fully and provide them with an honest account of what happened. They will document the accident, which can be imperative for your insurance claim later down the line.

Document the Accident Scene

You’ll also want to take photographs of the accident scene, including all vehicles involved, any visible damage, and road conditions. If there are witnesses, politely ask for their contact details as they might provide crucial statements later. Keep a note of the time, date, and location of the accident, as you might want to use nearby CCTV footage later on for proof of the other driver’s liability.

What Happens to Your Insurance

a blue car rear ended another car with the 2 drivers talking

After a rear-end collision where you’re at fault, you’ll need to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to inform them about the incident - always be honest about the circumstances, as any discrepancy can complicate your claim. Your insurance rates may increase due to an at-fault claim, but each insurance provider has different policies regarding rate adjustments.

Can You Claim Cases Like These?

Even in an own fault scenario, you can still make a claim under your insurance policy, and if you have comprehensive coverage, your claim may cover the damages to your vehicle. However, you'll likely be liable for the excess fee on your policy. For the damages to the other vehicle, your liability coverage will take care of those costs, up to the limit of your policy.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, if you rear-end another driver who stopped suddenly, it's important to remain calm and follow the steps outlined above. Always prioritise safety, exchange necessary information, document the accident, and promptly contact your insurance provider with an honest account of what happened. Remember, accidents do happen, but how you handle the aftermath can significantly impact the resolution process.


What if I disagree with my insurance company’s decision?

If you disagree with your insurer's decision regarding fault or settlement, you do have the right to dispute it, provided that you offer additional evidence or information that may support your case.

Can I make a personal injury claim if I was at fault?

Generally, if you are at fault, you cannot claim personal injury compensation for yourself. However, your passengers might be able to make a claim if they were injured, regardless of who was at fault.

How long do I have to report the accident to my insurance company?

The time frame for reporting an accident can vary by insurer, but it's typically within 24-48 hours of the incident. Check your policy for specific guidelines.

Will this accident affect my future insurance premiums?

Being at fault in an accident often leads to an increase in your insurance premiums. The extent of the increase depends on your insurance company's policies and your driving history.

What if the other driver doesn't have insurance?

If the other driver is uninsured, you should still report the accident to your insurer and the police. You may be covered under the uninsured motorist section of your policy, but this varies depending on your coverage.

Can I refuse to give my details to the other driver?

No, you are legally required to exchange your contact and insurance details with the other driver involved in the accident. Failure to do so can result in legal repercussions.