How is fault determined in a Georgia rear-end collision? Our Duluth auto accident lawyers can help you secure maximum compensation.
Like many states, Georgia automatically assigns fault in car accident cases that involve a rear-end collision. This means, in most cases, if another vehicle collides with the rear of your vehicle, the other driver is automatically liable. Or, if you collide with the back-end of a vehicle in front, you may be held responsible. However, there are some exceptions according to Georgia rear-end collision law.
If you were hurt in a rear-end car accident, you may be wondering if you can receive payment for your damages and injuries.
Is the rear vehicle always at fault?
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.
Common causes of rear-end collisions
There are many different causes of rear-end accidents. Three of the most common scenarios are listed below.
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.
Another major cause of rear-end accidents is speeding. While vehicles should travel at or below the speed limit, doing so may not be enough to avoid a collision. Sometimes it may be necessary to travel at a much lower speed to watch for road hazards, navigate challenging driving conditions, and allow time to respond to other drivers in the event that they need to make a sudden stop or if an accident occurs further ahead.
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.
Rear-end accident injuries
In addition to vehicle damage, drivers who are injured by a rear-end accident may require medical treatment. Neck and back injuries are among the most common complaints rear-end collision victims have following the collision. The force of the collision commonly forces the head forward and then abruptly backward, which may result in whiplash.
The force of the collision may also cause back injuries, bruises and even internal injuries. If the victim is not wearing a seatbelt, injuries may include broken bones, head injury, or even death.
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.
Find the best Georgia rear-end accident attorney
Even in minor accidents, contacting a car accident attorney will generally ease the victim’s process of becoming whole again. A Georgia injury attorney can handle settlement negotiations with the insurance company and, if necessary, file a claim in court and present the victim’s case before a judge. After a car accident, the victim’s top priority should be healing.
The attorneys at Scholle Law will do all the heavy lifting in your case and navigate the civil court process on your behalf while you focus on your recovery.