Being involved in a rear-end collision can be costly both physically and financially.
I Just Got Rear-Ended. What Should I do Next?
On top of having to deal with the collision itself, navigating a rear-end collision settlement can be a stressful and time-consuming process.
At the Pritchard Injury Firm, our Georgia car accident lawyers want you to feel protected, and we want to make sure you get as much as you can out of a bad situation.
We will help you figure out:
- What damages you might be able to recover
- How much you should settle for,
- Why it is important to contact a lawyer if you have been rear-ended in Georgia
What Causes Rear-End Collisions?
Rear-end collisions are tricky and usually difficult to avoid, especially if you are the driver getting hit. There are several causes of rear-end collisions. Knowing the causes can help you to better understand your incident, and may help to avoid future accidents from happening.
The most common reasons for rear-end collisions are:
- Distracted Driving: Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for a rear-end collision. This could include texting, using your phone for any other reason, applying makeup, eating, or drinking.
- Severe Weather: Weather conditions can greatly affect the likelihood of a rear-end collision. Rain for example can cause slippery roads and increases the time that it takes for a car to completely come to a stop. Other weather conditions such as fog, snow, mud, wind, or ice can also contribute to such accidents.
- Tailgating: Not having a safe distance between you and the driver in front of you can increase the chances of a rear-end collision.
- Driving Under The Influence: This can include both drugs and alcohol.
- An abrupt halt: A sudden stop can easily lead to a rear-end collision. Sudden stops may not always be caused by the front driver, however, and may include circumstances in which the driver had to suddenly stop in order to avoid hitting a person, a flying object, construction, or an animal.
I Got Rear-Ended, How Much Should I Settle For?
The short answer is “it depends.” There is never a clear-cut formula to determine how much you should settle for.
However, knowing your rights and having a strong advocate in your corner can help you maximize your settlement.
The monetary compensation that you are entitled to receive will depend on a couple of factors.
Things to take into consideration include the following:
- The severity of the accident
- The severity of your physical injuries
- Your medical expenses
- Property damages
- The ongoing costs that you are facing (including things such as loss of wages)
- Emotional distress
How Compensation Is Calculated: Am I Even Entitled to Any Recovery?
If you sustain injuries in a rear-end collision and the other driver is at fault, they may be responsible for your damages.
Georgia is a Comparative Fault State
But it is also important to note that Georgia follows a comparative fault rule when it comes to personal injury claims.
This means that even if you were partially at fault in the rear-end collision, you can still get some compensation for your damages.
For example, let’s say you are at a stoplight and you don’t notice when the light turns green. While it’s green and you still haven’t moved yet, you get rear-ended by another driver who wasn’t paying attention. Just because you might be partially at fault does not mean that you should not contact a lawyer to discuss your rights, options, and potential recovery.
If the other party was more at fault than you, they may still be responsible for covering some of your expenses.
Damages Associated With Your Rear-End Collision
Damages are all of the costs associated with your rear-end collision.
Knowing what types of damages apply in your case can help you determine how much you should settle for.
Documenting all of your damages can help ensure that you are made whole in the aftermath of your rear-end collision.
A rear-end collision settlement in Georgia might involve economic damages, non-economic damages, or both. Economic damages are damages that generally have a definite value or can be easily determined or calculated.
Non-economic damages, on the other hand, are less concrete and may not have a clear dollar amount that you can easily associate with them.
A few examples of economic damages are:
- Medical expenses (including hospital bills, x-rays, medications, rehabilitation, and physical therapy);
- Lost wages;
- Property damages;
- Out-of-pocket expenses; and
- Lost earning capacity.
Because they often involve paperwork and other evidence, the economic damages above are easier to prove.
Non-economic damages include the following:
- Pain and suffering,
- Emotional distress,
- Stress and anxiety,
- Humiliation, and
- Loss of enjoyment of activities.
Knowing how to accurately calculate your damages can have a huge impact on how much you can ultimately recover.
For example, non-economic damages are more subjective than economic damages.
For this reason, they are harder to calculate, which can affect your settlement.
If you do not know what a reasonable calculation is for your non-economic damages, you could miss out on a lot of money that you may be entitled to.
Personal injury lawyers have experience with evaluating non-economic damages.
We highly recommend consulting with a personal injury attorney about your rear-end collision.
Common Injuries Caused By Rear-End Collisions
Injuries caused by rear-end collisions include the following:
- Whiplashes: Whiplashes are the result of the neck or spine being suddenly jerked, or in severe cases, snapped beyond what our bodies can handle. It leads to severe pain and stiffness in the shoulder area, or around the neck.
- Herniated or Bulging Discs: This is one of the most common types of injuries associated with rear-end collisions. It's extremely painful and could potentially lead to the dislocation of your spinal discs in your lower back area.
- Other Back Injuries: Other back sprains or strains can be caused as a result of a rear-end collision. Another example of a back injury is a spinal fracture or spinal stenosis.
- Muscle Strains: Muscle strains are very common after a rear-end collision. These pains may be intermittent or persistent, depending on the severity of the accident.
- Concussions or Other Head Injuries:
- Headaches or Migraines: It's common for headaches and migraines caused by a rear-end accident to form weeks after, and in some cases months after the car crash. Treatments can include massage, soft-tissue therapy, or electrical nerve stimulation therapy.
- Face Injuries: It's common for a driver's or passenger's face to collide with the steering wheel, or with the backside of the driver's or passenger's seat in front of you.
- Bruises: Bruises may appear on various parts of the body, including the face, neck, back, legs, or arms.
- Arm or Wrist Injuries: Arm or wrist injuries after a car accident are common but oftentimes overlooked. It's important to receive medical treatment and ensure that you are doing everything necessary to help with your healing process.
How Much Money Can I Get After A Rear-End Collision?
Georgia does not have a cap on how much money you can recover for economic or non-economic damages in a rear-end collision. In general, this means that there is no limit on what you can settle for.
As long as the amount is reasonable to compensate you, you do not have to settle for less.
Why Should I Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer?
You might be thinking that you can handle a rear-end collision settlement on your own. You might even think that hiring a lawyer will cost more money than you could win in a settlement. However, hiring a lawyer is a crucial step in the process to make sure that you get as much out of your settlement as you can.
A personal injury lawyer who knows the law inside and out can help you navigate a complicated process. A lawyer will take your best interests into account and help you determine your reasonable and appropriate damages. All of this is extremely important in reaching a fair settlement.
When involved in a rear-end collision, do not admit any fault, make a deal, or accept any payment from the other party without first consulting a lawyer. Even if it seems like a good deal at the time, it may not be enough to fully compensate you for all of your damages. A personal injury lawyer can help you get an even better deal through a potential settlement.
How We Can Help
Being rear-ended can be scary, but dealing with the aftermath doesn’t have to be. If you or someone you know has been injured in a rear-end collision in Georgia, the team at the Pritchard Injury Firm can help you determine your damages and fight to maximize your settlement.
Contact us for a free consultation today!