Rear-end collisions are very common. According to facts and statistics on highway safety from the Insurance Information Institute (III), rear-end collisions make up about 7.2% of fatal crashes with a moving motor vehicle. That’s not including rear-end accidents that are not fatal but leave the victim with injuries and vehicle damage. If you were injured in this type of crash, you might be wondering, “can I sue for a rear-end collision?”
Although rear-end accidents tend to be less serious than other types of accidents, they can still be dangerous, especially if you were rear-ended while operating a smaller vehicle like a motorcycle. You can face costly medical bills, missed work time, disabilities, vehicle damage, and mental anguish as a result of your injuries.
If you did not cause your rear-end accident, you have a legal right to sue for the recovery of your damages (Georgia Code § 51-1-6). When getting a fair settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company is not an option, filing a lawsuit is sometimes the best option.
The Legal Process After a Rear-End Collision
The legal process is the same for any type of rear-end collision, whether you were riding a motorcycle or driving a car, truck, or another automobile. The first step is usually to seek compensation through the at-fault driver’s insurance company. You can do this through a personal injury claim.
Filing an Injury Claim
To file a claim, you will need to show that:
- The driver was negligent (and therefore at fault) in your accident
- Their negligence resulted in your rear-end accident injuries and
- You suffered damages as a result of your injuries and the accident
Thankfully, it’s often easier to prove fault in a rear-end collision. Although there are exceptions, the rear driver is almost always assumed to be at-fault for the accident. To make sure you accurately show the other driver’s negligence and your damages, it’s best to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer to help you with your claim.
Negotiation and Settlement
If you’re lucky, the insurance company will accept the compensation you’re requesting in your claim and pay you for your damages. This rarely happens, though. Most of the time, the other driver’s insurance company will be looking for ways to reduce what they have to pay.
The insurance company will likely offer you a very low settlement that barely covers any of your total damages. They might make this seem like the best offer you can get or pressure you into taking it to help with your immediate costs. Be very careful to never accept the first offer without speaking to a lawyer first.
If you accept any money or sign anything, you could sign away your rights to seek further compensation. Instead, contact a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you build a strong claim and negotiate for a settlement that is actually fair to you. To schedule a FREE consultation with one of our experienced lawyers at John Foy & Associates, call (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.
Filing a Rear-End Collision Lawsuit
Most rear-end accident cases end with a settlement, especially if your damages were less serious than the average accident. If you have a good lawyer on your side, they might be able to negotiate an ideal settlement and get you paid the money you deserve. However, there are some situations where the insurance company will not negotiate a settlement that works for you.
If you cannot get what you deserve through the insurance claim, you might want to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. This is a decision to make carefully and discuss in detail with your lawyer beforehand. Lawsuits can be lengthy and expensive, but they can also help encourage the insurance company to negotiate.
Negotiation Before the Trial
If you sue for a rear-end collision, it’s unlikely that your case will go all the way to trial. There will be several opportunities before the trial for each side to negotiate. Insurance companies do not like to deal with lawsuits, so you might be able to get a higher settlement during this negotiation process.
If you do end up going all the way to trial, your lawyer can help you gather evidence of the accident, the driver’s negligence, and your damages to fight for your rights in court.
What to Do Before Suing for a Rear-End Collision
Deciding to sue someone is a big decision, so you will want to discuss the following with your lawyer before filing the lawsuit.
Make Sure You Have a Strong Case
When filing a lawsuit, it’s vital that you feel confident in your chances of winning. Unlike personal injury settlements where you can either accept a lowball amount or negotiate, lawsuits are “all-or-nothing.” You could end up with a lot more money than if you’d accepted a settlement, or you could end up with nothing.
Most experienced lawyers will only go to trial with you if they feel you have a strong case, so this is something to discuss in detail, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’ll need to consider how a judge or jury might view and deliberate on your case.
Consider Your Chances of Getting Paid
Even if you win a high judgment in court, you might have trouble actually collecting that award if the at-fault driver doesn’t have the assets to pay it. This is common in cases where the driver did not have auto insurance.
You’ll need to ensure that if you win in court, you’ll be able to collect what you win, even if you have to set up an arrangement with the defendant.
Prepare for the Process
You should also make sure you’re mentally, physically, and financially prepared for the lawsuit process. It’s often a long road, even if you end up negotiating a settlement along the way. That being said, if you have a good chance of winning, it can be incredibly worth it.
Thankfully, most rear-end collision lawyers work on contingency, which means you don’t pay any upfront fees and the lawyer’s fee is simply taken as a percentage of whatever they win for you. If they don’t win you a settlement or award, you don’t pay.
Don’t wait to get started. If you decide to sue for a rear-end collision, you only have two years from the date of the accident to take legal action (Georgia Code § 9-3-33).
Speak to a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer for Free Today
If you were injured in a rear-end collision on your motorcycle, our attorneys at John Foy & Associates can help. We have been helping injury victims win the money they deserve for over 20 years. Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to get started with a FREE consultation.