On Georgia’s highways, tailgating and distracted driving are common causes of rear-end collisions. These crashes can cause painful injuries and expensive damage to your vehicle. When another driver is negligent and hits you from behind, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
In this situation, you may be wondering how much to settle for. Our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers will listen to your story and help build a strong foundation for your claim. Known as the Strong Arm in Georgia, we are ready to fight for the settlement or court award you deserve.
Contact us for a free case evaluation.
How Can I Recover Money After a Rear-End Accident in Georgia?
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, the person who caused the collision is liable for the expenses you incur. The at-fault driver or their insurance company should reimburse you for the cost of your injuries and property loss. These expenses are known as damages.
You must file an insurance claim with the other driver’s insurance company to seek financial recovery. A rear-end collision accident lawyer from our firm can help you do this.
If the driver who hits you is uninsured, your insurance policy will be responsible for compensating you, provided you carry uninsured motorist coverage. If you do not have this coverage, you may still be able to pursue reimbursement from the other driver through a personal injury lawsuit.
Uninsured motorist insurance is activated when the at-fault driver meets one of the following conditions:
- They don’t have insurance or do not carry enough to cover your damages.
- They left the accident scene, committing a hit-and-run offense, or cannot be found.
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Important Points to Remember After a Crash
In the aftermath of a rear-end collision, accept medical treatment if first responders are called. If you aren’t too badly hurt, you should exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver, but limit your conversation with them. Never admit guilt or apologize, and do not discuss any injuries you have suffered.
Do not discuss the details of the accident with anyone until you have spoken with a personal injury attorney. Even after hiring a lawyer, you should avoid talking about or posting about the crash on social media.
Never agree with an at-fault driver to keep the crash “just between us.” You must also refuse to accept money from another driver or anyone at the scene. Do not speak with a representative from the other party’s insurance company or sign anything until your lawyer has reviewed it.
The insurance company may try to deflect blame from their policyholder and pin the accident on you to minimize or deny a payout. Our firm has decades of experience and will push back to secure a fair settlement for you.
How Lawyers Reach a Settlement After a Rear-End Crash
A skilled car accident lawyer will speak with insurance carriers to show proof that the other driver was at fault and that you deserve full compensation.
They will have a professional legal team that can compile evidence from many sources to support your claim, such as:
- Records of medical treatment at the scene and afterward
- Auto repair bills and estimates
- Photos of the accident scene, your injuries, and damage to your property
- Receipts for items damaged in the crash, such as computers, car seats, or cellphones
- Video from dash cams or traffic cameras
- Cell phone records that show if the other driver was using their phone at the time of the crash
- Black box data that shows whether the other driver was speeding or braked before the accident
- Pay stubs showing your lost wages
- Reports from a third-party accident investigator
Discussing the fine points of each of these categories makes negotiating with insurance adjusters and lawyers tedious. An experienced attorney knows how to get the most reimbursement for every damage you have incurred.
They also know when a company is stalling to try to exhaust you and when it’s time to stop talking and file a lawsuit. Insurance companies are in the business of keeping their money, and they will use every tactic they can to get you to accept a lowball offer.
What Amount Is a Fair Settlement From a Rear-End Accident?
A fair car accident settlement is one that covers the past, present, and future expenses you will incur as a result of the accident. Because every case is unique, this amount can range from a few thousand dollars to hundreds of thousands.
When negotiating a car accident settlement, your lawyer will seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are those that often have a specific dollar amount associated with them. Non-economic ones are more subjective but no less relevant to your health and enjoyment of life.
Examples of damages include:
Your medical costs will likely make up a considerable part of your damages. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen with time and require ongoing care. It is important to accept medical treatment at the accident scene and follow up with your doctor for further assessment.
Keeping a record of your injuries from the moment of the crash makes it easier for your personal injury lawyer to connect the accident to your expenses. These records become critical if your injuries become more severe or disabling. Documenting everything also strengthens your personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Typical medical costs included in a settlement include the following:
- Doctor visits
- Hospital costs, such as ICU, ER, or surgery bills
- Emergency transportation costs, such as ambulance or helicopter
- Prescription medications
- X-rays and other tests
- Medical devices
- Physical therapy
- Home renovations to accommodate disabilities
- Travel costs to and from your medical appointments
In addition to maintaining a complete record of medical expenses, consider starting a pain journal to describe how you feel each day and any physical reactions to medications or treatment.
Depending on the size of the vehicles involved, damage to your car after a rear-end accident may be significant. You have a right to recover the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle. The same holds for damage to personal property in your car that occurred during the crash.
Take photos of your car and any broken items, such as laptops, work equipment, cellphones, or car seats, and collect repair estimates for everything. If your car or personal items are totaled or destroyed in the crash, your lawyer will help you gather evidence of the actual costs to replace them.
This step can be crucial for items that quickly lose value after purchase and use, and a fair settlement will cover what you would pay to buy a new car or other property.
You will likely miss work because of the accident and your injuries. However, your lawyer will help you pursue financial compensation for any lost wages you incur due to the collision. The losses could be even greater if you are self-employed or run a small business.
For example, if your work computer is damaged during the collision and you also lose the use of your car, your entire business could be at risk until those items are replaced. A skilled lawyer will help you fully account for what you are owed.
Damages related to pain and suffering are harder to quantify since they do not involve concrete numbers like a hospital bill or vehicle repair appraisal.
However, a rear-end collision accident lawyer can determine a fair amount of money for any emotional damages you have endured since the accident. Your pain journal can help provide documentation to support your claim for these non-economic losses.
Examples of emotional damages you can sue for after a rear-end collision include the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship with your family and children
- Loss of consortium with your partner
- Isolation from disability, scarring, or disfigurement
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Psychological trauma like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Distress brought on by adjusting to a disability
Emotional damage can be more debilitating than you expect. Even if a rear-end accident seems minor, you could suffer anxiety, fear, or panic about driving again. You may also lose sleep or experience bouts of uncontrollable crying.
The suddenness of an accident coupled with physical injuries can lead to psychological trauma, no matter how strong you are. Receiving compensation for these effects on your life can make it easier to take the time you need to heal.
Suppose you were rear-ended in Georgia, and you feel that the other driver was grossly negligent or acted with malicious intent. In that case, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages.
Punitive damages are additional financial awards meant to punish wrongdoers for their actions and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.
In order for a court to award punitive damages, you or your attorney must prove that the other driver either acted with reckless disregard for your safety or hit you on purpose. Drunk driving can sometimes lead to a court awarding punitive damages.
Insurance Companies Will Offer Less Than Your Injuries Are Worth
Negotiating with insurers to pursue financial compensation alone can be an uphill battle. The claims adjuster will always start with a low offer, hoping you accept it and close the claim. If more injuries or property damage appear later, you are left without the full reimbursement to recover.
A skilled attorney will always try to negotiate a settlement that covers all expenses. Our car accident lawyers are fully aware of the games insurance companies play, and they are not afraid to be aggressive when demanding fair compensation for your accident.
It may seem like your insurance provider is on your side, but you should be cautious. Even your own insurer is in the business of keeping costs down and will try to reduce what they pay you. If either insurance company continues to stall and offer low settlements, an attorney can help you file a lawsuit.
When to Take Your Car Accident Case to Court
While most car accident cases can be resolved through negotiation and settlement, there are situations where taking your case to court becomes necessary. Here are three instances where pursuing litigation may be the appropriate course of action:
- Liability dispute: If there is a dispute regarding who was at fault for the car accident, reaching a settlement through negotiation can be challenging. In such cases, going to court allows a judge or jury to evaluate the evidence and determine liability.
- Inadequate settlement offers: Insurance companies often try to settle claims for the lowest possible amount. If you repeatedly receive offers that do not adequately compensate you for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering, it may be necessary to escalate your case to court.
- Complex legal issues: Some car accident cases involve complex issues that require a thorough examination of evidence, expert testimony, or interpretation of specific laws. If your case involves intricate legal matters, it may be in your best interest to take it to court.
Deciding when to take your car accident case to court can be challenging. Consulting with an experienced car accident attorney can provide valuable insights and guidance. Our team will evaluate the unique circumstances of your case, advise you on the best course of action, and diligently represent your interests throughout the legal process.
Time Limit for Filing a Personal Injury Claim in Georgia
If you’ve been involved in a rear-end accident in Georgia and suffered injuries, it’s important to be aware of the time limit for filing a personal injury claim. In legal terms, this time limit is known as the statute of limitations. Failing to file your claim within this designated period can result in losing your right to seek compensation for your injuries.
In Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including those arising from motor vehicle accidents, is generally two years from the accident date. This means you have just two years from the incident to initiate legal proceedings and file your claim. It’s important to note that this time limit applies to both the negotiation and litigation phases of your case.
While two years may seem like a long time, it is best to get started with an attorney immediately. Building a strong case and gathering evidence to support your claim takes time, and waiting until the last minute can affect your chances of a successful outcome.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be exceptions to the general statute of limitations. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the accident is essential to ensure you understand and comply with the specific time constraints applicable to your situation.
Partner With a Qualified Georgia Car Accident Lawyer Now
If you want to know exactly how much to settle for after being rear-ended in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney to review your case. Rely on the rear-end collision lawyers of John Foy & Associates to negotiate the maximum compensation available for your losses.
Our attorneys also know when to stop wasting time and take your case to court to get the compensation you deserve. Our team has represented car accident victims for over two decades, and we know how to handle insurance companies. Call or contact us online to request a free consultation.