Visitor Question

Police officer only did an exchange of information in hard collision?

Submitted By: Sarah (Washington DC)

I was rear-ended hard at a stop light yesterday. The light had just changed and I was beginning to accelerate when the collision occurred. The driver had not been stopped at the light but instead came up behind me. This was not a light fender bender but a hard hit.

The police were called and did an information exchange only.

In fact, the officer did not even ask me what happened. I was hunting for my registration while he was chatting with the other driver.

I was surprised given the velocity of the hit that the officer only did an information exchange, but I only had minor damage visible as I was in a Honda Element and the other driver a low Buick. He had a lot more damage. There is an imprint of his grill on my bumper, but not much else to see.

Immediately after, and continuing today, I have a lot of pain in my upper back and neck. I haven’t been to the doctor yet as I was hoping it would resolve in the next few days, but I can’t be sure. I reported the accident to my insurance company.

Should I file a police report after the fact? What will happen between the insurance companies? How can I make sure my injuries and medical bills are covered? Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Sarah,

Washington D.C. follows the “no fault” insurance rule. This means, under most circumstances D.C. drivers injured in car accidents must turn to their own insurance companies for compensation for personal injuries sustained in the accident.

However, Washington D.C. law does not require drivers who sustain property damage in a car accident to turn to their own insurance company for compensation. Instead, the driver may turn to the negligent driver for compensation.

Under the Revised Code of Washington Section 48.22.090, D.C. drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) car insurance.

There are some exceptions. Under the following circumstances those injured in a motor vehicle accident may turn to the negligent driver for compensation:

– The injury caused substantial disfigurement or permanent scarring

– The injury caused a substantial and “medically demonstrable” impairment which results in an inability to perform daily activities

– The injury causes a “medically demonstrable” impairment preventing the injured person from performing his or her daily activities for at least 180 days

– The medical costs from the injury exceeds the PIP benefits available under the driver’s no-fault insurance policy

It’s not too late to file an accident report. Under Washington D.C. law, if the accident resulted in $200.00 or more in damages, drivers must file an accident report.

Learn more here: Rear-End Accident Compensation

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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