A rear-end collision can cause substantial damage to your vehicle and, in many cases, serious injury to everyone in the vehicle. When someone else hits you from behind, you may assume that driver will automatically bear liability for the accident. However, rear-end collisions may not always occur due to the negligence of the front driver–and regardless of who caused the accident, you may need to carefully consider the steps you need to take in order to protect yourself and your right to compensation.
Rear-End Collisions: Who Bears Liability?
Most of the time, the rear driver does bear liability for a rear-end collision. The rear driver may have caused the collision for a number of common reasons, including:
Stopping too late
However, rear-end collisions can also occur for several other common reasons. Under those circumstances, another entity could share or bear liability for the accident.
For example, suppose that, while sitting stopped at a hill, the driver of the front vehicle fails to apply his brake correctly. As a result, he rolls backward into the car behind him. In that case, the driver of the front vehicle might bear liability for the collision.
On the other hand, suppose that a brake failure leads to a rear-end collision. For example, the rear driver might press on his brakes, but discover that nothing happens. If the brake failure occurs due to a manufacturer error, either the manufacturer of the brakes or the manufacturer of the vehicle may bear liability for the accident. On the other hand, if the brake failure occurs because the mechanic who installed the brakes installed them incorrectly, the mechanic may bear liability for the collision.
If you have any questions about liability regarding your accident, talking to a rear-end collision attorney can help you learn more about your rights.
What Should You Do After a Rear-End Collision?
After a rear end collision, you should not just drive away from the accident. In fact, you may need to take several essential steps to ensure that you create record of the event and protect your right to file for future compensation.
1. Report the accident.
Report the accident to your local police department. If your rear-end collision resulted in serious injuries, you may need to call 911 to summon both an ambulance and the police. On the other hand, if you just need to report the accident, you can either use 911 or call your local non-emergency line.
Wait at the scene for the police to arrive.
2. Collect evidence.
If you did not suffer severe injuries in the accident, or did not suffer injuries that you can make worse by walking around the scene, you may want to take the time to collect photos regarding the accident. You might, for example, want to collect photos of the placement of the two vehicles before you move them, or you might want to snap photos of the damage to both vehicles. Photographic evidence can help establish how the accident occurred and later make it easier for you to gain the compensation you may deserve through a car accident claim. You may also want to check for witnesses who may testify on your behalf.
While you’re collecting evidence, take photos of the other driver’s license and insurance information. You should also take a picture of the driver’s license plate and the make and model of the vehicle so you can use that information as part of your claim later. You will need to tell the insurance company that basic information about the other driver’s vehicle when you file a claim.
3. Seek medical care (even if you do not think you sustained severe injuries).
Sometimes, it can prove very difficult to determine whether you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision. Signs of whiplash or even brain injury may not show up immediately. Adrenaline can even cause you to miss the presence of broken bones, since you may not feel the full extent of the pain immediately after the accident.
Let a doctor evaluate any symptoms you may have or rule out potential injuries. As a rule of thumb, if you suffered extreme property damage in the accident, you should see a doctor to rule out any serious injuries. If you suffered only a minor fender bender and feel fine, you may not need to pursue further medical attention.
Keep track of your medical records and any medical bills you pay as you pursue treatment. You will need to clearly show those bills and your costs as part of your injury claim, and having clear records cna make it easier to establish exactly what your medical costs looked like and how those financial challenges have influenced your life.
4. Talk to a lawyer about your grounds for an injury claim.
If you suffered injuries in your rear-end collision, you may have the right to pursue compensation through an injury claim. An injury claim can prove much more complicated than a property damage claim. The insurance company may try to prove that you contributed to the accident, that you caused the accident, or that you simply did not suffer the injuries you claimed in the accident, all of which can make it more difficult for you to get the full compensation you deserve. A lawyer, on the other hand, can help provide you with more information about your rights and fight to help you get the compensation you deserve.
Ideally, if you suffered any type of injury in your rear-end collision, you should talk to a lawyer before you speak to an insurance company. A lawyer can help give you more information about your rights, how to reduce the odds that you will accept even partial liability for the accident, and how to calculate the compensation you may deserve for your injuries.
Contact a Rear-End Collision Lawer in Georgia Today
If you suffered injuries in a rear-end collision, you may need a lawyer’s support to help guide you through the claim process. Contact a Georgia rear-end collision attorney today for more information.