If you are hit from behind, the accident is probably the fault of the driver who hit you. This is because the driver in the rear is usually the one who could have avoided the accident by being more careful. There are, however, some situations where the driver in the rear is not at fault.
Rear end accidents are among the most common types of collisions, and they can happen almost anywhere, at any speed. Because they are usually caused by the driver in the back, determining fault is typically easy. However, getting the insurer to pay the cost of your rear end accident injuries can be difficult. A good car accident law firm near Atlanta, Georgia can help.
Does it matter who is at fault in Georgia?
Yes. Some states have no-fault insurance laws, but fault is still very important in Georgia car accidents. When a driver is at fault and has auto insurance, the driver’s insurance company must pay for ALL of the damage and injuries.
To be at fault in a rear end accident, a driver doesn’t have to have rammed you from behind on purpose. It’s enough if the driver was “negligent.” A negligent driver didn’t use the amount of care that a motorist should reasonably be expected to use. Negligent behaviors that cause rear end accidents include:
- Distracted driving. This includes looking at a cell phone, GPS, the scenery or other people instead of paying close attention to the road.
- Drunk driving. Drugs and alcohol affect judgment and response time.
- Excessive speed. Speeding or driving too fast for the current road conditions can make it harder to react quickly.
- Tailgating. Following too closely also shortens your reaction time.
- Aggressive driving. Drivers who accelerate quickly, weave in and out of traffic and make other risky driving maneuvers can cause accidents of all types.
When is the driver in back NOT at fault?
The driver in back is not at fault if the front driver’s behavior caused the accident. For example, imagine an aggressive driver cuts sharply in front of you without signaling. With no time to slow down and let them in, you hit them from behind. You are the car in back, but the accident was not your fault.
What kinds of injuries do people have when they are hit from behind?
The most common injury from being rear-ended is whiplash. You might have seen people on TV make fun of whiplash as a fake condition. That’s unfortunate, because whiplash is a legitimate neck injury that can be quite painful. It happens because when you are hit from behind, the impact “whips” your head back in forth, tearing the muscles and soft tissues.
The reason whiplash has a bad reputation is that you don’t usually know you have it until sometime after the accident. Whiplash doesn’t bleed or show up in x-rays, and many people ignore it at first. This makes it easy for the insurance company to accuse you of inventing an injury after the fact just to get a bigger insurance settlement.
Whiplash is not the only rear end accident injury. You may also have broken bones, head injuries, other types of muscle injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Can I get money to pay for my injuries?
If you were not at fault, you should be able to get all of your costs covered by the other driver’s insurance. This includes your medical expenses, lost pay, and additional damages for pain and suffering if your accident was serious.
You should know, however, that insurers will try to limit the amount they have to pay you. They will almost certainly offer you less than you deserve, and may use other tricks like saying your injuries aren’t as bad as you claim. It’s hard to battle an insurance company on your own, and that’s how a car accident lawyer can help. A lawyer knows how to use tough negotiating tactics to get the insurer to pay you the full amount you are entitled to.
Talk to an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Our law firm has a long history of getting money for people who have been hit from behind in a car accident. We only charge you a fee if we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation, with no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.