Atlanta Rear-End Collision Lawyers
What to do if you or a loved one was injured in a rear-end collision in Atlanta?
We offer free consultations over the phone about your case — or we can come to you
Many people who have been in a low-speed auto accident, such as a parking lot fender bender, don’t suffer a serious injury and may not need to hire a lawyer. If the damage isn’t significant and you get better in a few days, then you might be able to handle your claim on your own.
But if you were seriously injured, have questions about the process, or don’t trust the insurance company, we can help you.
With a growing population and increasingly congested roadways, it’s not surprising that rear-end collisions are a daily occurrence in the Atlanta metro area. In fact, fender benders are the most common type of collision of all time. Sooner or later, every American driver will be involved in an auto accident (according to the statistics), so odds are that you’ll experience a rear-end collision in your lifetime.
It’s vital that you understand what to do, what to expect, and what your rights are when a rear-end crash happens to you.
If you or a loved one was recently involved in a rear-end collision, don’t make the mistake of ignoring your pain or thinking you can handle everything on your own. Rear-end collision injuries can be extremely serious — physically, emotionally and financially. Meet with an experienced and knowledgeable professional who can explain your next best steps and give your case the attention it deserves.
Contact us to schedule your face-to-face FREE consultation with one of our experienced Atlanta car accident lawyers. We’ve helped many crash victims get through this difficult period and secure financial recovery. Let us help you, too.
Rear-end car crash statistics
- Rear-end collisions accounted for 7.2 percent of fatal crashes (2,456 fatalities) in 2017.
- Though they only account for around 7 percent of vehicle fatalities, rear-end crashes account for nearly one-third (29 percent) of all crashes.
- More than 556,000 people are injured annually in rear-end collisions.
- The majority (81 percent) of rear-end crash events involve a stopped lead vehicle, while other collisions occurred under conditions of a decelerating lead vehicle.
- Most rear-end collisions occur during the day on dry, straight and level roads.
- Male drivers that are 25 to 34 years old are nearly 2 times more likely to be involved in a rear-end collision compared to other age groups.
- In 2016, there were 172,574 reported rear-end collisions across the state of Georgia. That’s nearly 6.5 times the entire population of downtown Atlanta proper…per year. Of those, 13,473 crashes (7.8 percent) were caused by distracted driving.
Common causes of rear-end car accidents
While there are many possible factors that can contribute to a rear-end collision, here are the most common causes of fender benders in Atlanta:
- Distracted driving. Taking your eyes from the road even for a second can spell disaster if the person in front of you slams on their brakes to slow down for traffic or a light, or to avoid a pedestrian or other obstacle. While Georgia’s hands-free law has helped to reduce the number of accidents caused by texting and driving, distracted driving continues to be a big problem in Atlanta and statewide.
- Following too closely –“Tailgating,” which simply means following the vehicle in front too closely, is one of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents. Even at low speeds, cars should leave sufficient stopping distance to prevent a collision. This is especially true when following a smaller vehicle like a motorcycle, which has a shorter stopping distance than a car. It’s also important to leave extra space when following large trucks because it can be difficult to see road hazards as they appear in front of the larger vehicle.
- Aggressive driving. We’re all taught to drive defensively, but many Atlanta drivers don’t follow this rule. Common examples of aggressive driving behaviors that result in rear-end collisions include speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and following cars too closely (or “tailgating”).
- Road rage. Whether caused by the endless traffic or impatience, many drivers become angry and frustrated when behind the wheel. This can also lead to aggressive driving and angry gestures, which result in a collision.
- Drowsy driving. The “lull” of the road can lure fatigued drivers into a trance, causing them to drift off while behind the wheel and decreasing reaction times. In the hectic and non-stop city of Atlanta, drowsy driving is an especially common problem and regular cause of fender benders.
- Intoxicated or impaired driving. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law in Georgia, yet that doesn’t stop thousands of people from getting behind the wheel anyway. These substances can impair a person’s depth perception and vision, making a rear-end crash more likely.
- Bad weather. Wet or icy roads, as well as foggy conditions, can reduce a driver’s visibility and make it impossible for them to stop in time to avoid a collision. Though you can’t change Mother Nature, you can change how you drive in response to poor weather conditions. For this reason, such accidents are still considered matters of negligence.
- Mechanical failure – There are cases in which a rear-end accident happens when both drivers involved were following the laws of the road and displaying safe driving practices. Mechanical failure may occur at no fault of the driver, and result in a collision. Malfunctioning brakes and a stuck or defective gas pedal are examples of mechanical defects that may cause a rear-end collision. While both parties potentially have a claim against a third party, such as the automaker or parts manufacturer, a Georgia court would historically rule against the rear driver.
Common rear-end collision injuries
All crashes, collisions and accidents have the potential for causing catastrophic and even fatal injuries. While deaths caused by rear-end collisions are rare, it is common for crash victims to experience the following injuries:
- Whiplash and neck injuries
- Back and spine injuries (herniated disk)
- Head and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Airbag injuries
- Facial disfigurement and scarring
- Arm and wrist pain
- Seatbelt injuries
- Soft tissue (internal) injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Knee injuries
- Shoulder injuries
Georgia rear-end collision and negligence laws
Georgia code 40-6-49 states:
“The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”
Simply put, this law means that you, the driver, should never follow a vehicle too closely. Rather, you should leave an appropriate amount of space between your vehicle and all other vehicles based on the conditions of the road and the speed at which all vehicles are going. Even if the driver in front of you is forced to slam on their brakes or perform an emergency maneuver, you should have enough time to come to a stop or veer out of the way to avoid a collision. For this reason, in most rear-end collision cases, the following vehicle who hits into the leading vehicle is considered to be responsible.
Georgia also follows a theory of negligence known as a modified comparative fault. This means that the person who is suing for damages (the plaintiff) can still file a claim and recover damages even if they are partially at-fault for the collision. However, they have to be less than 50 percent liable for the accident. If they are more than 50 percent responsible, then they are unable to file an injury claim.
For example, let’s say that Driver A slams on their brakes to avoid hitting a deer that is crossing the road. Driver B isn’t paying attention and hits into the back of Driver A. Driver B suffers severe neck injuries in the wreck, and so they decide to sue Driver A. The court finds that Driver B was 90 percent responsible for the rear-end collision since they were distracted and failed to stop in time to avoid the crash; therefore, Driver B will not be able to recover for their injuries since they were more than 50 percent liable. Driver A, however, could sue Driver B if they sustained any serious injuries or damages.
Compensation for Rear-End Accident Damages
Victims of rear-end accidents are typically entitled to compensation. Medical bills, missed time from work and vehicle damage can all add up. Georgia courts typically award compensation to help victims cover the cost of medical evaluation, treatment, and, if necessary, ongoing physical therapy.
A car accident victim may also receive compensation for lost wages if he or she must miss time from work to recover.
If the victim’s attorney demonstrates mental anguish or pain and suffering, he or she may be awarded compensation to cover those intangible “general” damages. In accidents that cause the victim’s death, the victim’s family may file a wrongful death claim and receive compensation for damages including funeral expenses and loss of companionship, if the victim has a spouse.
If the driver who rear-ends the victim was discovered to have been under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a judge may award the victim punitive damages. Other factors that may warrant punitive damages include a display of disregard for the victim’s life and general reckless behavior at the time of the accident.
An experienced Georgia rear-end accident lawyer can uncover the facts of your case and help you fight for compensation in court.
Rear-end car accident FAQs
What is a rear-end collision?
A rear-end collision is a crash between 2 or more vehicles that occurs when 1 car collides with the vehicle in front of it. Rear-end crashes are also commonly referred to as “fender benders” or “shunts” (in the U.K.).
Who pays in a rear-end collision?
It depends on who was at fault for the crash. Georgia is an at-fault state, which means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for paying for the victim’s damages. In a rear-end car accident, the following driver who crashed into the back of the leading vehicle is typically presumed liable for the crash since Georgia law requires drivers to leave ample space when driving behind another vehicle.
Is the person who hit into the lead vehicle automatically at fault in a rear-end car accident?
Georgia law implies that drivers should always travel at a speed and distance that allows them to safely make an unanticipated stop without colliding into the vehicle in front. In most rear-end collisions, the rear vehicle was driving too close to stop in time, which is why the rear vehicle is usually considered to be at fault.
However, there are exceptions. Here are some examples where the front car might be at least partially liable for a fender bender:
- If the front car’s tail lights were broken or had some other defect, thus making it difficult or impossible for the rear car to see them braking.
- If the front car’s driver made a sudden maneuver that didn’t allow the rear car enough time or space to react.
- If there’s a domino effect (a string of rear-end collisions), the rear-most driver will likely absorb most of the liability. However, if the other drivers didn’t leave adequate space between vehicles, they may share some blame as well.
How long do I have to file a rear-end collision injury claim?
For most auto accidents in Georgia, the deadline for filing an injury claim — known as the “statute of limitations” — is 2 years from the date of the accident. That said, there are some exceptions that can shorten this deadline such as if you’re involved in a collision with a government vehicle or if a teen driver is involved. It’s vital you contact our Atlanta rear end collision lawyers as soon as possible so that we have more time to build a strong case on your behalf.
What should I do after a rear-end collision?
Immediately following a crash, you should first and foremost check to see if anyone is injured (including yourself). If so, dial 911 and answer their questions. If not, you should still call local police and wait for them to arrive at the scene.
While you wait for police to arrive, gather as much information as possible by taking pictures of the accident scene and writing down the names and contact information of witnesses. Exchange your name, license number and insurance information with the other driver, but try to avoid talking to them as much as possible. Keep the conversation short and cordial. Never apologize.
Once police arrive, answer their questions and wait until they say you can leave. Then, notify your insurance company that you were involved in a crash as soon as possible.
Even if you don’t think you were hurt, see your doctor as soon as possible and tell them you were involved in a car accident. They’ll do a thorough checkup to make sure you didn’t suffer any unseen injuries. Some injuries, like whiplash and soft tissue damage, might not show symptoms for several hours or even days. Only your doctor can give you a clean bill of health.
Last but not least, contact a rear-end collision attorney near you if you suffered serious injuries or property damage. If you were too injured to gather evidence or help file a police report, our accident scene investigators will secure the documents and evidence we need to help reconstruct the collision.
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Why hire an Atlanta rear-end collision lawyer at Scholle Law
Here at Scholle Law, we’ve seen our fair share of rear-end collision cases in the Atlanta area. For example, attorney Charles Scholle represented a local sheriff who was hit hard from behind in his truck. After the crash, he began experiencing neck pain and believed he’d suffered a whiplash injury. When the insurance company offered him a small settlement amount of approximately $2,500, he nearly took it.
When he came to us for a second opinion, we advised him not to accept the settlement until he knew the full extent of his injuries. Upon receiving an MRI, doctors discovered that he had a herniated disk in his neck, which ultimately required spinal surgery. Had he settled for $2,500, he would have been forced to pay for much of his treatment out of his own pocket. Instead, with our help, we secured him a substantial settlement of over 6 figures.
As one of Atlanta’s most experienced personal injury law firms, we’ve recovered millions of dollars for our clients in personal injury verdicts and settlements for over 20 years, including rear-end collisions and fatal crashes.
Following your crash, we’ll help you navigate the complex and nuanced legal process by providing the following services:
- Investigating and documenting the accident scene, then gathering evidence to prove fault
- Calculating the full extent of your damages — including economic losses (medical bills, lost wages, loss of income, etc.) and non-economic losses (pain and suffering, loss of consortium, etc.)
- Filing the necessary paperwork and meeting deadlines to ensure you get compensation sooner
- Negotiating on your behalf with the other party and insurers to make sure you receive a full and fair settlement
- Skillfully representing your case in court (if necessary)
Your first consultation with our Atlanta rear end collision lawyers is 100% free — no cost, no commitment. During this initial meeting, we’ll listen to you, answer your questions and evaluate your case to determine your best legal options. If you decide to hire us to represent you, you only pay for our services when we win your case. If we don’t win, you don’t pay. It’s that simple.
We serve clients throughout Metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia.