A lot of people don’t think of rear-end collisions as serious accidents, especially compared to head-on crashes. However, getting rear-ended can be just as severe, leading to life-threatening injuries and serious vehicle damages. No matter how your rear-end collision happened or how serious it was, though, you still deserve compensation if the accident wasn’t your fault.
You might wonder if you can sue for a rear-end collision. The answer is that yes, you do have the right to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for your damages. That being said, it suing might not be your only—or even your best—option.
What Happens Legally After a Rear-End Collision
No matter how an accident happens, the legal process still looks the same. If you’re well enough to do so, there are things you can do at the accident scene to begin building your case. Those actions include:
- Calling the police to report the rear-end accident
- Taking pictures of your injuries, vehicle damage, and the entire accident scene
- Exchanging information with the other driver
- Talking to witnesses and getting their contact information
- Calling for an ambulance if you or another person needs emergency medical attention
In rear-end accidents, the person who did the rear-ending is almost always at fault. So, if you were rear-ended, you will likely hear from the at-fault driver’s insurance company within the next few days.
The Settlement Offer
The insurance company might offer you a settlement. It might even seem like a pretty good deal, especially if you’re stressed about how to pay for your medical bills, make up for lost work time, and more. However, the insurance company is hoping that you will take their first offer out of desperation because they know it means signing your legal rights away.
You should never accept the first offer from the insurance company. Instead, you should contact a personal injury lawyer if you haven’t already.
Negotiating with the Insurance Company
Your lawyer can look at the insurance company’s offer and calculate your damages to see if it’s actually a good offer. Since the first offer is rarely enough to cover even a portion of your damages, your lawyer may try negotiating with the insurance company for a higher settlement.
Most rear-end collision cases actually get settled at this point. Hopefully, your lawyer is able to get the insurance company to agree to a settlement that covers all of your damages. But if the insurance company won’t budge, then the next step may be preparing for a lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve.
Suing for a Rear-End Collision
Before suing for a rear-end collision, you will want to weigh the pros and cons with your lawyer. If you decide to go ahead with filing a lawsuit, you’ll begin gathering evidence for your case.
You will need to show that:
- The other driver caused the collision, breaching their legal duty to refrain from causing injury (Georgia Code § 51-1-6)
- You were injured as a result of the driver’s negligence
- You suffered damages that were directly caused by the accident
The first piece of information you can obtain regarding the accident is the police report. If you called 911 to report the accident, responding officers would have created an accident report on the crash.
You will also need to compile all evidence of your damages from the accident, including:
- Medical bills
- Prescription medication receipts
- Evidence of lost wages and earning that you can no longer get because of your accident
- Vehicle repair or replacement payments (or quotes)
- Calculations for future medical treatment needs
- Evidence of pain and suffering damages
Some of these damages are easier to demonstrate than others. For the others, such as pain and suffering damages, you’ll need to help of a personal injury lawyer to prove them.
Filing Your Complaint
After you have your evidence, your lawyer will file the complaint document. The complaint form details what happened in the accident, how you were injured, and how you are seeking compensation from the at-fault party for your damages.
The complaint is the first official step in suing for a rear-end collision. It’s important to understand that this doesn’t necessarily mean you will go to court. A lot of rear-end collision lawsuits still get settled before the case makes it to trial.
Sometimes, you can get a higher settlement offer after you file a lawsuit and before trial. The insurance company may agree to a fairer settlement in order to avoid the lengthy and expensive trial process.
Don’t Wait Too Long to File Your Rear-End Accident Lawsuit
In Georgia, you have two years from the date of your rear-end collision to file a lawsuit. Be advised that this is not actually a lot of time when you consider how much evidence needs to be gathered. Plus, you might have serious injuries that need to heal before you can accurately calculate your future medical costs.
To make sure you stay on track, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after you are rear-ended. Schedule a consultation to discuss the details of your accident and the best options for your case. This will help you get the ball rolling and make sure your legal rights are protected from day one.
Talk to a Georgia Truck Accident Lawyer for Free Today
At John Foy & Associates, we have worked on countless rear-end collisions cases, ranging from minor to very serious, over the past 20 plus years. We know what it takes to win cases, and we are not afraid to stand up to the insurance companies and fight for your legal rights. If you decide to file a lawsuit to seek the compensation you deserve, we’ll be there every step of the way.
Call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online to schedule a FREE consultation and get matched with the best lawyer for your case. Not only is it FREE to call us—it’s risk-free to work with us because we don’t charge a fee unless we win you money. Call (404) 400-4000 to get started today.