Have you been injured in a rear-end collision? The impact of a vehicle striking your automobile from behind can cause a common neck injury called whiplash. Even mild cases of whiplash can be extremely painful. In more serious collisions, victims may suffer concussions, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, or other soft-tissue injuries. The impact of a rear-end accident can be physically, cognitively, and emotionally difficult, with long-lasting and far-reaching financial consequences.
If a rear end accident was caused by another driver's negligence, you have the right to seek financial compensation for your medical care expenses, lost earnings, and pain and suffering. This article will explore some of the common causes of rear end collisions and 7 things to do if you get hit from behind.
What Is A Rear End Collision?
One of the most common type of auto accident is a rear-end collision. A rear end crash occurs when a driver strikes a vehicle directly in front of them, from behind. A common scenario is coming up on stopped traffic and not stopping in time. In some cases, a rear-end collision can push a vehicle into another vehicle or multiple vehicles. This may be referred to as a chain reaction or pileup accident.
Liability may be obvious in a rear-end collision where another driver was distracted or negligent. Insurance claims involving multiple vehicles can be complicated and require thorough documentation. Because Georgia is a comparative fault state, you may still be able to recover compensation for an accident even if you were partially at fault.
What Causes Most Rear End Collisions?
Most rear end collisions are caused by a distracted driver who is not paying attention to what is in front of them. Rear end crashes often occur on highways or freeways when drivers encounter traffic congestion, or at intersections or stop signs. Sometimes, a vehicle may stop to make a left-hand turn and the driver behind them may not be prepared to slow to a stop.
Who's At Fault In A Rear End Collision?
When is a rear end collision not your fault? This is a common question after a rear end accident. In the majority of cases, the driver in the car in front is not at fault for a rear-end collision. However, this is not always the case. A few situations exist where the driver in the front vehicle could be found responsible for a crash:
- The driver's brake lights are not functioning due to a wiring or electrical failure.
- The driver was driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- The driver was intentionally trying to cause a car accident. Intentional car accidents may be due to road rage or with the intent of fraudulently pursuing an insurance claim.
- The driver put the vehicle in reverse. This is common at an intersection to allow a pedestrian or cyclist more room. Driver's must check their surroundings behind them before backing up.
If you believe a vehicle accident you were involved in was not your fault, speak to an experienced personal injury attorney about the specific facts of your case right away.
7 Things To Do If You Get Hit From Behind
Below are 7 things you should do as soon as possible following a rear-end car accident.
1. If You're Able, Get Out Of Your Car and Check To See If Anyone Else Is Injured
Many people are involved in secondary car accidents following an initial collision. Immediately following an accident, make getting to safety a priority. Get off the road to a safe location as soon as possible. Make a quick assessment of the other party or parties involved and if they appear to be injured.
2. Call The Police and Report The Accident
Call 911 to report the accident. If you do not have a phone available, ask someone to call for you. Reporting the accident is necessary to document who was involved and what happened. The call will be recorded and your statements to the 911 dispatcher will be available later if needed. If you or anyone else is injured, an ambulance can provide immediate transport to the hospital. Under no circumstances should you agree to NOT report the accident.
3. Exchange Insurance Information With The Other Driver
Get names, addresses, phone numbers, and email contact information for the other driver, any passengers, and witnesses to the accident.
4. Document Everything - Take Pictures Of The Damage, Write Down The Other Driver's Contact Info, Etc.
The scene around a crash will change quickly when the debris is cleaned up and vehicles are removed for repair or inspection. Take a few minutes to take videos and photos of the crash scene, including damage to vehicles and surrounding areas. If tire marks are left in the road, take photographs of them, as they can be used to determine braking distance.
5. Get Medical Attention If You Need It
If you are injured or suspect you are injured, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your record of medical care will be part of your personal injury claim. If you delay seeing a doctor for several days, the insurance adjuster may question why you delayed seeking medical care and even if your injuries are as serious as you claim.
6. Contact Your Insurance Company
You need to report the accident to your insurance per the terms of your policy. You should report the facts only, and not speculate on cause or admit fault. Be careful of making statements like "I'm fine," as they can be used later to devalue your claim and discount the severity of your injuries.
7. Talk To An Attorney About Your Legal Options
As soon as possible following an accident, talk to a skilled and knowledgeable Atlanta car accident attorney. Our Georgia law office offers a free consultation to answer your questions and explain your legal options.
Get Help From An Experienced Rear End Collision Attorney
The Graham Firm has obtained numerous six- and seven-figure verdicts and settlements for vehicles of Georgia car accidents. Our dedicated personal injury lawyers advocate for our client's rights and negotiate the maximum compensation available for their injuries or the wrongful death of a family member. If you'd like to learn more about your rights to full and fair compensation after a rear-end car accident, contact us to schedule a free and confidential consultation.