Rear-end accidents tend to be less serious than other types of car accidents, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. Plus, some rear-end collisions can be incredibly serious and leave you with thousands of dollars in medical bills, lost wages, vehicle damage, and more. If you aren’t able to recover your damages through an insurance claim, you may need to sue the other driver for the rear-end collision.
You deserve to be compensated for the losses you have experienced. Sometimes, filing a lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident is your best course of action. This article will explore what you need to know about suing for a rear-end collision.
What Happens (Legally) After a Rear-End Collision
After any type of auto accident, the legal process works the same way. In the days after the accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely reach out to you. They will probably offer you a settlement that may seem enticing—but don’t let it fool you.
The initial settlement offer is always way below what will actually cover your damages (which refers to the losses from your accident). The insurance company is hoping you don’t know this and that you accept the offer. If you do that, you will sign away your legal rights and be losing any chance of seeking more money for your damages.
The insurance company may also look for additional ways to use information against you. You will want to make sure your rights are as protected as possible—and the best way to do that is by contacting an experienced rear-end collision accident lawyer. A lawyer can research your case and let you know what an actually fair settlement offer will look like.
When You Can Sue for a Rear-End Collision Accident
Your first course of action after a rear-end accident should be filing a personal injury claim for compensation. In most rear-end accidents, the driver in the back is at fault. You will file your claim with that driver’s insurance company. The insurer may respond with a much lower settlement offer at first, but a lawyer can help you negotiate a fair number that should cover your medical bills, lost wages, and more.
However, sometimes the insurance company will not offer you a settlement that is enough to cover your costs. If they refuse to negotiate, your next step may be filing a lawsuit for the compensation you deserve. You have every right to do this, and your lawyer can help with each step of the process.
Preparing for the Rear-End Collision Lawsuit
If you plan to sue for the rear-end collision, you and your lawyer will need to take action immediately in the following ways.
At the Scene of the Accident
Of course, you can’t go back in time, but if you took steps to protect your rights at the scene of the accident, those can help a lot in court.
Right after the accident happens, you will need to protect yourself—both physically and legally. Make sure you (and everyone at the scene) get any immediate medical treatment that’s needed. Is there are any serious or life-threatening injuries, call 911 for an ambulance right away.
You should also:
- Take pictures of the scene, your injuries, and your vehicle damage
- Exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver
- Record how the accident has affected you, physically and emotionally
- Talk to any witnesses and get their names and contact information
All of this can help support your case.
Gathering Evidence of the Driver’s Fault
You will need to be able to demonstrate that the other driver was negligent, that their negligence caused your accident, and that your damages directly result from their negligence and the rear-end accident. The main piece of evidence will be the police report from the accident.
The police report is an official report of the accident, and it often contains details like who the responding police officers found to be at fault and the facts about what happened. The police report can make a huge difference in your case as it goes to court.
Demonstrating Your Damages
You will need to show exactly how the accident has impacted your life. Keep clear and detailed records of any and all expenses you face from the crash, including:
- Medical bills from doctor visits, hospital stays, prescription medications, tests, and more
- Future medical costs that you are expected to face
- Vehicle repair or replacement costs
- Lost wages from missed work time
- Lost earnings that you would have otherwise received if the accident hadn’t happened, such as work bonuses
- Pain and suffering damages that show how the accident has affected your ability to enjoy life as you did before
Some of these damages can be proven through bills, receipts, and pay stubs. Others will be harder to demonstrate, but that’s where a car accident lawyer can help. They will know what it takes to show the full extent of your losses, including emotional damages that don’t have a clear price.
Filing the Complaint
Once you have compiled the evidence you need for your case, you will need to file a formal complaint. This is a document that explains what happened, how you were physically hurt, and what you are requesting as compensation for your damages.
When writing a legal complaint in a personal injury lawsuit for a rear-end collision, you will need to clearly outline why you are seeking damages and include information about you and your lawyer. Your attorney can help you with this.
Once the complaint is filed, the legal process of suing for your collision begins. It doesn’t mean that your case will absolutely go all the way to court, but ti shows the at-fault party that you are serious about seeking compensation for the losses they caused.
Statute of Limitations to Sue the Other Driver
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of the accident to seek compensation for your damages (Georgia Code section 9-3-33). In some states, you have even less time to file. That means you will need to take action as soon as possible to avoid missing your chance at financial recovery.
Talk to a Rear-End Collision Accident Lawyer for Free
If you need help seeking compensation for your damages after a rear-end collision, we can help. At John Foy & Associates, we have 20 plus years of experience helping injury car accident victims win the money they need to cover their costs. We can help you, too—starting with a FREE consultation. Call us at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online now to get started with your FREE consultation.