In Athens, Georgia, rear-end accidents and collisions are among the most common car wrecks we see. The National Transportation Safety Board reports that out of all two-vehicle accidents in the U.S., about half involve one vehicle rear-ending the other.
While many accidents are minor, others lead to serious and expensive injuries, including neck and brain injuries.
But you don’t have to face this kind of accident alone. John Foy & Associates can help. Our Athens rear-end car accident attorneys have been helping accident victims for over 20 years.
How Is a Rear-End Collision Defined in Athens?
Rear-end collisions involve a wide variety of accidents where the front of one car or truck hits the back of another. The speed, the angle of impact and the circumstances surrounding the collision can vary from one accident to another.
Some rear-end accidents involve one car tapping the back of another while stopped at a red light or even while parked. Others involve high speed collisions where one car tailgated another on the freeway, or where someone changed lanes without warning.
Any of these types of accidents can be serious and cause both injuries and property damage. In Athens, most rear-end accidents are caused by one of the following:
- “Tailgating” or following too closely
- Distracted driving/texting while driving
- DUI involving alcohol, drugs or both
- Visibility issues like fog or rain
- Changing lanes illegally or in an aggressive manner
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What Are the Most Common Injuries in Rear End Accidents?
We see a wide range of injuries in rear-end collisions. Many of them can be life altering. Examples of common injuries include:
Whiplash and Neck Injuries
Any impact from the back of the vehicle causes passengers to be thrown abruptly forward. While a seatbelt will help hold you in place, your head and neck still snap forward, like the motion of a whip. This “whiplash” can involve tears to the neck muscles, which result in stiffness and pain that can last weeks, months or longer.
Head or Brain Injuries
Similarly, being thrown forward can cause your head to hit the steering wheel or dashboard. The impact can cause anything from a mild bruise to a serious brain injury. Many rear-end accident victims end up with a concussion or other head injury, which can result in swelling that damages the brain. All head injuries require immediate treatment and carry serious risks.
Broken or fractured bones are common in rear-end accidents. We see broken wrists when the driver’s arms hit the steering wheel and broken noses from being thrown forward.
All car accident injuries should be treated as serious and should receive medical attention. Many injuries can cause only mild discomfort at first, but go on to develop into severe pain and long-lasting conditions. The earlier you get a diagnosis, the more a rear-end collision attorney in Athens can do for your case.
What Makes Rear-End Collisions Different from Other Types of Car Accidents?
Rear-end accidents are treated the same under state law as any other kind of car accident, but the claims are different because it’s usually very easy to see who’s at fault in a rear-end collision.
Usually the driver of the rear car is the one at fault, because the accident would not have happened (or not been as severe) if they had stayed farther back. However, there are exceptions where the other driver may bear some or all of the fault—such as when they changed lanes without signaling or pulled erratically out in front of the other car.
Determining fault is the cornerstone of car accident claims in Athens. Because Georgia is a “fault state,” the insurance of the person who caused the accident will pay for both parties’ injuries. This is why it’s important to talk to a car accident lawyer before pressing your claim. You should get a professional opinion on who is at fault legally before you proceed.
What If I’m Partially at Fault for the Rear-End Collision?
While most rear-end collisions are clearly the fault of one driver, it is possible to share the blame. In Georgia, as long as one party is less than half responsible for an accident, they are allowed compensation. The amount is adjusted by the percentage of fault.
This means that if both parties are equally responsible, no one can claim damages. Part of the job of an Athens rear-end collision attorney is to persuade the insurance companies and the courts that your responsibility for the accident is as low as possible.
Dashboard Cameras Can Help Prove Driver Negligence
A common defense from the rear driver in these kinds of crashes is that the car in front hit the brakes too quickly to do anything. They could even accuse the front driver of doing a “brake check” to scare the rear driver into backing off.
A great way to prove or disprove these claims is to operate a dashboard camera in your car. Video is one of the strongest forms of evidence in the courtroom. Our investigators will check to see if the rear car had a camera and work to obtain that evidence.
What Costs Will Be Paid by My Rear-End Collision Claim in Athens?
If you are the victim of the accident, the law in Athens is that you can have all of your costs covered. You may also qualify for large financial awards for physical pain and suffering and other losses. The most common costs our Athens rear-end collision attorneys see include:
- Doctor visits, hospital stays and medical bills
- Rehabilitation, occupational therapy or physical therapy
- Damages to your car
- Any wages you missed because you couldn’t work
Typically, when you first file an insurance claim you will not be offered anywhere near the total amount you deserve. Insurance companies try to get away with paying you the absolute lowest amounts, and they have an army of lawyers to help them do it. You should always speak to a car accident attorney before accepting any insurance payment or signing away your rights.
How Long do I Have to File a Rear-End Accident Claim in Athens?
The local courts in Athens use deadlines set by state and federal law. If you miss the deadline, you will get no money for your claim—even if you would otherwise be entitled to a substantial financial recovery. In Athens, you may have up to two years to file your claim, but it can be much shorter, even a matter of weeks. Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible about your claim.
One thing that accelerates this timeline is if you get rear-ended by a government vehicle. This may include local public transit, police, fire, and similar vehicles. It is absolutely essential to your case to start it as soon as possible if a government vehicle was involved.
Talk to an Athens Rear-End Collision Accident Lawyer for Free
We began as a small local law office and have grown into one of the most respected and effective car accident law firms in the state. When you call John Foy & Associates, our Athens rear-end collision lawyers will sit down with you for a free, in-depth consultation and help you answer your questions about your legal rights.
By the end of the consultation, you will know whether you have a claim, how likely you are to win, and what the best steps are for you to take – with no obligation. Contact us and get your free consultation today.