So you've just been rear ended but

there appears to be no visible rear end damage. If your car is old, the answer seems to be simple. Ignore it and move on, but how do you respond based on each of the following cases?

  1. You are driving a work vehicle
  2. Your car is brand new
  3. You got a whiplash effect of your head hitting the back headrest
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[quote=“ablang, post:1, topic:1847”]
You are driving a work vehicle[/quote]Call your supervisor if you’re really that unsure. Otherwise, if you’re driving a work vehicle, that means there is probably a protocol to go through that the company has when this happens.

[quote]Your car is brand new[/quote]What’s the difference? No damage=no damage. A brand new car, in most cases, has full coverage (due to loan/lease terms) and probably a $500-1000 deductible. It’s your call. But again, no damage=no damage.

[quote]You got a whiplash effect of your head hitting the back headrest
[/quote]Call 911, get an ambulance there. My health is nothing to screw around with, especially with dependents. Who cares about the vehicle at that point; it could be totaled. If I have pain, I am going to get checked out right away. Not because I like to make a big scene, but because then it’s documented and in case there is longer term damage, I did “the right thing” back at the time of the accident. Note that I’ve been in four accidents and never once called an ambulance, but this thought has crossed my mind each time–“do I get an ambulance here, just in case?”


Move your car to the side of the road. See a doctor within 24 hours otherwise you may not get as much from a bodily injury claim. Some pain may not show up until the next day.


[quote=“Sparky, post:3, topic:1847”]
Some pain may not show up until the next day.
[/quote]This is very true especially with whiplash injury so it’s best to call a cop at the scene of accident for proper filing of police report. If it’s a company vehicle, I’ll definitely report it to the company regardless of damages to vehicle. If it’s my car and there’s no visible damages, I’ll still ask for the other driver’s insurance card and DL info. I will also take pics before our vehicles are moved.

In case I need medical care later on due to the accident, the police report will come in handy if I have to file claims with the insurance company.


The one issue at work is if they have some sort of motor vehicle incident policy. Then you may have to go to a “kangaroo court” (that’s the nickname at my job, technically the Automotive Risk Committee) to reflect on the incident and impose possible discipline. Even if it was the other person’s fault, if you did something which was not illegal but not safe driving, like follow the other person too closely (and thus requiring you to slam on the brakes) they could still discipline you. If you try to claim the company’s insurance since you were driving for work purposes in your personal vehicle, they will also haul you to kangaroo court, so when I had this happen to me I just filed on my personal insurance (heading from a meeting back to work).

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If you are in a company car, do you have to use workman’s comp instead of your normal health insurance? I believe that happened to a family friend but I can’t remember for sure at this point.

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Former patrolman here-

Every state and even locality is different as far as what the police will do for a minor crash. If you don’t regularly get in crashes and aren’t an expert on your state laws and local police department’s policies, call the police (non-emergency number) and have them tell you whether they will do a crash report, an information exchange, or nothing at all. Don’t be in a hurry. Wherever you were just headed… you’re going to be late, or you’re just not going to make it.

If there are any injuries, including just pain, call 911. If you are the one in pain, tell the officer, “I AM INJURED.” You can tell him that you do not want an ambulance (if you don’t), but if he says he has to call one because you said you are injured, don’t argue. When the ambulance gets to you, explain that you just have pain, but you do not need a ride to the hospital (unless you do). They will not take you against your will if you have no visible injuries and aren’t showing any signs of concussion or other head/internal trauma. [personal opinion - Don’t tie up the ambulance by making them take you to the hospital if you can get there safely yourself or by getting a ride from family/friends. Ambulances are a finite resource and any ambulance transporting someone with neck pain can’t save the life of someone having a heart attack.]

If you are normally comfortable just exchanging information and don’t feel the need to involve the police, that is fine, but be sure you are getting enough legit information from the other driver. If you try and call the police later because the driver gave you BS info, you might be out of luck because you didn’t call right after the accident. If the other driver is acting weird about giving you info, call 911 and tell the dispatcher that.

Don’t call your insurance company until after the ink on the police officer’s note pad dries. And don’t hand him the phone and tell him, “it’s my insurance company, they want to talk to you.” No they don’t. Not yet anyway.

And last but not least - PULL YOUR CAR OUT OF THE TRAVEL LANES!!!

If you have any car crash questions for a former police officer that used to handle a couple crashes a week (I am by no means an expert, but I’ve seen my share of weird situations working in an urban environment), feel free to ask them and I will do my best to answer.

Drive Safely.


So as OP I should give you the back story. This happened to me about 1.5 years ago. And even when I let the guy go, I knew I probably shouldn’t have.

I was driving the company car (a 2001 Chevy Lumina). We were stopped in a single lane of traffic waiting for the train to pass. I was probably stopped for 2 minutes when all of a sudden I was rear ended by the car that was stopped behind me.

His car went fwd and hit the rear of my car. I wasn’t ready for it so my head hit the headrest.

I pulled over and he followed. There was no visible damage at all to the rear bumper of my car and seemingly none to his front bumper. I found out he accidentally took his foot off the brake.

Thankfully I have had no long term effects from the whiplash, although I was rear ended by a guy going about 25 mph+ (when I was stopped) months earlier, for which I did get driven to the E.R. (by a co-worker; I felt like throwing up).

Was this your own company? I mean, a 16 year old company car? Oh, and did you have workers comp?

You are probably better off than if you knew it was going to happen. You were loose, instead of tense.

If he was stopped behind you and took his foot off the brake, the odds are that he was going less than 5 mph when he hit you. IANAD (or a chiropacter :smile:), but think whiplash is unlikely.

On the silver lining front, I don’t know the stats on the average number of accidents people get into, but it sounds like you’re good to go for a couple of decades. Oh, and check the tail lights on that Lumina.


Thanks for the very logical info. I’ve got a question or two about the “pull your car out of the travel lanes”.

Does this apply to any surface street?
Should you take pictures, safely, before moving the vehicles?

Thank you.

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I preached this before. Get a dash cam!


Yes, but that also records your speed. :smile:

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I didn’t bother to get one with GPS. I just don’t see a lot of value with that since I only got pulled over twice in my life and one of those with a seatbelt violation.


Duh! I thought they all had GPS.
Now I’m interested. Care to suggest any brands and / or models?


Best bang for the buck is A118, it’s under $50. A119 is the newer version that does better at night for about $90. Deals comes often so you just have to keep an eye out.

Dashcamtalk is the best place to check out for legit reviews. Amazon reviews are misleading and worthless.


If it was at work this would definitely be an HR issue. :slight_smile:


Generally speaking, yes, it applies to any street. The busier the street, the more it applies. If you’re on a 4 lane road (two lanes going in each direction) and it’s 11:00 AM, and you’re blocking the right lane for 30-45 minutes, it’s likely you won’t have much of a negative effect. But blocking a lane on the same street at 5:15 PM is probably going to cause quite a backup.

If you can’t pull your car out of the travel lane safely, don’t do it. Safety is paramount. But if there is a shoulder or nearby parking lot, and your engine runs, that’s where your car should be.


I’d ALWAYS get a police report, no matter if you or driver don’t SEE any damage. Cops don’t always like to do their job or feel there is something more pressing (like being inside if cold outside). I learned my lesson in a fender bender in a garage. It was obvious the other guy was at fault, the cop said “we don’t write reports for < $500 damage”. B/c of no police report, his sub-rate insurance wouldn’t pay b/c I couldn’t prove their client was even there (how did I get his insurance card? or name, etc?) In short, b/c of a lazy cop, I was out $650+ (guess his wasn’t a good auto adjuster after all, just lazy).

Which leads to another accident where I was hit from behind and requested a report, and the officer said “I don’t see any damage”. After back and forth, he finally wrote-up an accident report (incorrectly). End of the day, the “no damage” turned into an estimate by the guy’s insurance adjuster to be $700.

So, in MY experiences, when you know you’re not at fault GET A POLICE REPORT. It’ll save you a TON of hassle and will make getting your claim paid that much quicker as well.


To be fair, investigating car crashes are some of the worst parts of being a cop because you are essentially working for the insurance companies. Cops sign up for the job to catch criminals, not be a mediator in a parking lot fender bender. If you look at it objectively, there is absolutely no reason that the police should have to get involved if two people crash into each other in a parking garage. If both parties are willing to exchange information, there is no crime whatsoever. We have become conditioned to think that we need cops in order to handle all car crashes because when there is a traffic offense that leads to a crash (when you are driving on public roads and do something illegal), the cop is the one that determines fault and writes a ticket. That simply isn’t the case in most parking lot crashes.

But don’t confuse my soapbox stance above with me recommending you don’t call the police when you are in a parking lot fender bender. Call them. Maybe it will prove useful. But don’t be surprised if all they do is write down the other guy’s info and tell you the crash is non-reportable.


check your city/state for something like this… drivers can report their own crash without police involvement.

i’ve also called the non-emergency # to report a crash. easy way to get a police report without hassling a patrol officer.