- This article will explain how rear-end car crash cases are handled and won in Georgia.
- The evidence that will help you prove your car accident case can be found using The Georgia Open Records Act, police cameras, witness statements and on-board electronic data from the vehicles.
- There are many ways to help pay for medical treatment if you are injured in a rear-end collision but don’t have health insurance.
- In Georgia, what evidence can be obtained and used to win your rear-end collision case?
- How to get the evidence you need to win a rear-end crash case
- Why certain injuries are caused by being hit from behind, and how to prove your injuries
- How can you get medical care paid for if you do not have health insurance?
- What are the best ways to recover maximum value in your car accident claim?
- How do insurance adjusters, lawyers, juries and judges value rear-end car accident cases?
How Georgia Rear-end Car and Truck Accidents are Handled and Valued
Unless you’ve been previously involved in a Georgia Rear-end collision accident, you may be wondering what to do and how to go about getting your damages compensated. This guide will explain how rear-end crash cases are handled in Georgia.
The Primary Causes of Rear-end Collisions
Negligent driving is usually the main cause of rear-end collisions in and around Georgia. The at-fault driver is usually not totally focused on the road ahead as they should be. These accidents are usually caused by:
- Texting and driving
- Talking on the cell phone
- Tailgating or following too closely
- Playing with electronic devices
- Stop and go traffic
- Road rage
- Equipment failures – tires or brakes for example
- Weather – rain or snow and icy conditions
Evidence You Can Use to Prove Your Rear-end Collision Case
Although the cause of your rear-end collision case may seem obvious to you, at-fault drivers and their insurance representatives could be trying to blame you. Excuses they use might be that you slammed on the brakes or changed lanes in front of them unexpectedly. The more evidence you can produce, the better your chances are of being fairly compensated for your damages.
It is usually best to begin gathering the evidence you need to prove your case immediately. Some of the things you may want to collect include:
- Cell phone calling records: Call logs will show the time of incoming and outgoing calls, and how long a call lasted. Cell phone records can be compared to the police report or the timing of 911 calls as evidence that the other driver was using the cell phone when he hit you from behind.
- Mobile data plan records: If the at-fault driver’s cell phone log shows that a large amount of data was being downloaded at the time he crashed into your rear bumper, it could be evidence that the driver was watching video or reading email and did not have eyes on the road.
- Black box data: Today’s newer cars come equipped with devices much like an airplane’s black box that records a “snapshot” of the vehicle immediately before and after the crash. This data can include speed, throttle position, timing of brake application, the deployment of airbags, seatbelt status, steering activity and other details which can help show precisely what happened when the other driver plowed into the back end of your vehicle
- Post-accident inspection: Some rear-end collisions happen due to bald tires or worn brakes. A mechanical or accident reconstruction expert can examine and analyze the at-fault vehicle for negligent maintenance or defects that may have contributed to the rear-end collision.
- Pictures: If you are not seriously injured and able to do so safely, take pictures of the damage done to vehicles and structures at and around the accident scene. Include any skid marks on the pavement that indicate how fast the other driver was travelling before he hit you from behind, Pictures of your own injuries and those of passengers will be important as well since much depends upon proving the severity of your injuries from this rear-end crash.
- Weather Data: The road conditions are often affected by the weather. Roads that are wet or icy can contribute to rear-end collisions since it takes longer to stop.
How to Get the Evidence You Need to Win Your Georgia Rear-end Crash Case
Talk to Witnesses
- Eyewitnesses to your rear-end collision may be able to remember details about the circumstances around your rear-end collision.
- Get passenger names and contact information as well as anybody who stops at the scene. Witnesses often remember details about the accident such as whether or not the driver was speeding, eating a hamburger, or looking out the side window.
- The police report may also contain witness names, addresses and phone numbers.
- Additionally, passers-by who call 911 may have their phone number recorded so that you might contact them later about the details about how your rear-end accident happened.
- Security Camera Video can also be helpful if your rear-end collision happened in an area where security cameras are operating.
- Intersection Cams are in use at many Georgia intersections. Request footage if such a camera was operating where the accident took place.
Police Reports and 911 Audio
- Police reports should contain a diagram drawing and a description of how the rear-end accident happened.
- Callers who contacted 911 dispatchers may have described how you came to be hit from behind.
- You should also ask for body-cam video footage of the officers who responded to the accident so that you can not only compare what was initially said by the at-fault driver to the official statement, but also see video images of the accident scene.
Subpoena Cell Phone Records and Data Plans
Once a civil suit has been filed, the court can issue a blank subpoena form you can fill out and use to demand that the defendant turn these and other records over to you. Cell phone records can be useful in proving that the driver was engaged with his cell phone during or immediately prior to hitting you from behind.
Weather records by date and zip code can be found at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA,) website, and may be useful in proving your rear-end collision case.
How Are Certain Injuries Caused by Being Hit from Behind?
Certain types of injuries are more prevalent after a rear-end impact than others. These injuries include:
Whiplash Caused by a Rear-end Collision
Whiplash can be caused by a rear-end collision. This type of injury is caused by your head being “whipped” back and forth by inertia when your vehicle is hit from behind. Most cases of whiplash, or neck sprain, get better after a few weeks of medical care. However, in some cases, people have had lasting pain and discomfort in their necks and shoulders.
This whipping motion can also lead to other soft-tissues injuries and fractures elsewhere in your body including the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your shoulders, back, arms, elbows, wrists, hands, ankles, knees, hips and thighs. The same traumatic forces can cause even more serious injuries including spinal cord damage during a rear-end collision. Some of these injuries are more difficult to prove and will rely upon the findings in your doctor’s examination records.
Herniated or Ruptured Disk as the Result of a Violent Impact from Behind
The same whipping motion that causes whiplash and back strains in a rear-end collision can also inflict damage to spinal discs. Spinal discs are structures meant to act as “cushions” between the vertebrae of your spine. They have a soft, jelly-like center that is surrounded by a tougher, rubbery exterior. In a rear-end collision, they can be jarred out of place or . Usually this means the discs are compressed so violently that they rupture and the inner “jelly” is pushed out through rips in the tough exterior of the disc.
Damage to Wrist, Shoulders, Hands and Arms Commonly Seen After Powerful Rear-end Impacts
At the time of the collision if your hands are on the steering wheel the jarring impact can easily cause fractures to the bones in your wrist, hands or arms. Debilitating shoulder damage, including rotator cuff injuries can also happen as a result of the rear impact.
Knee and Ankle Injuries Associated with Rear-end Collisions
The violent force of the impact in a rear-end collision is transferred to the impacted vehicle and extends to the people inside. The body’s natural impulse to brace itself before an accident can cause injuries to the feet, knees, hips, and back as mentioned previously. Knees can also be injured in a rear-end crash by hitting the dashboard or an ankle can be injured striking the pedals or floorboard.
Traumatic Brain Injury as a Result of Impact to the Head
Depending upon how violent the forces a in rear-end collision are, it is not uncommon for a person’s head to forcibly hit the steering wheel, the dashboard, or the windshield. Such blows to the head can cause concussion and/or serious brain trauma.
Bruising to the brain happens when the brain itself, which floats in fluid inside the skull, is banged around sufficiently to cause the organ to impact the boney walls of the skull. Rear-end collisions and their intense jolting movement can easily cause these kinds of head trauma.
Using Your Own Medical Insurance to Receive Treatment after a Rear-end Crash
Using Your Personal Health Insurance May be Necessary
Regular property damage insurance pays for damages to cars, not the people who are riding inside them, so you will need to use another option for paying for your medical care after you’ve been hit from behind.
In Georgia, you will need to obtain your own medical care after you’ve been rear-ended. Your regular health insurance plan works for this if you have it. You will be reimbursed for the cost of your care later, when your case settles.
Use Med-Pay Coverage if Available
Medical payments coverage, sometimes called Med-Pay, is insurance coverage designed to pay for medical treatment for you and your passengers following a rear-end accident in which you suffer an injury Med-Pay takes care of these expenses no matter who is at –fault for the rear-end collision.
What if You Don’t Have Health Insurance and are Injured in a Rear-End Collision?
Even if you don’t have health insurance, getting a medical examination following a rear-end accident is crucial. If you fail to seek medical help for any reason following a rear-end collision, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may try to argue that you weren’t injured at all and may refuse to pay for your damages.
Here are a few options:
This simply means that you pay the hospital or doctor on each visit following your rear-end accident. This is usually the most expensive way to obtain medical care after your rear-end crash but it works if there are no other good options.
Apply for a Legal Loan
Some financing companies will loan money to you for expenses following a rear-end accident . They do this on your promise that you will pay when your settlement is complete. This is a very common solution to post-accident money woes.
Medical Treatment on a Lien
This is an excellent solution for those who need medical treatment but have no health insurance. Many doctors will accept a lien against your settlement when it comes. It’s not just workable for clients who cannot afford the mounting bills, but doctors feel more confident knowing they have some assurance the money will eventually be coming.
Some lending companies advance money to accident victims for the purpose of securing medical care or taking care of other expenses while you wait for your claim to settle. These companies will obtain a pre-settlement lien against your claim for the money they advance to you.
Medical Financing is an increasingly popular way to insure that you get the medical care you need. Some of these loans are made without collateral or liens against your settlement. Conveniently, these services are available online
Make Arrangements for Monthly Payments
Many hospitals, doctors, and clinics will also accept reasonable and regular payment arrangements when there is no health or Med-Pay insurance available.
How To Get Medical Care for Common Rear-end Car Accident Injuries?
Go to the Emergency Room Immediately
You can almost always go to the emergency room for treatment, whether you rear-end collision just occurred or happened several days ago. For neck, back and shoulder pain you are likely to receive x-rays or CT scans, medication at the emergency room. There the staff will diagnose and treat serious injuries including broken bones or internal injuries. If you are not admitted, they will most likely recommend follow up appointments with a doctor or clinic later.
Your Primary Care Doctor Can Help
If you are not seriously injured or in great pain, you can certainly make an appointment with your regular physician for an examination after a rear-end collision accident. He or she will be able to document your injuries and make recommendations for treatment. A general practitioner might prescribe physical therapy or other treatment for your injuries such as whiplash or other soft tissue injuries. He or she might also prescribe medication to help relieve your acute pain or relax muscles that are painfully tense or bruised after your rear-end collision.
Emergency Clinics or Doc-in-the-Box Facilities for Non Critical Injuries
These clinics are geared for emergent situations and can help you if your rear-end collision injuries are not life-threatening. They are equipped to provide basic examinations and first-aid care after you’ve been hit from behind. Some can even provide imaging services to document injuries
Orthopedic Doctors May be Necessary
If bone, joint or ligament issues are present after a rear-end accident, you may be referred to an orthopedic doctor for evaluation or treatment. Even when you don’t have insurance, it’s important to follow your doctor’s instructions and do what is necessary including physical therapy in order to treat and heal your injuries.
Visiting a chiropractor following a rear-end collision can provide you with an examination and documentation of your injuries. Chiropractic care can also provide therapeutic options for stiff, sore muscles, tendons, and other painful soft tissue This can be particularly useful if you already have a relationship with him/her and have previous medical records there.
How Much is Your Rear-end Crash Case Worth?
At some point, you will want to know what your rear-end car or truck accident case is worth. While each case is different and there are no exact answers, cases are often valued based on the severity of injury and the length of time the injuries will disrupt or impinge upon your quality of life.
Sprain and/or Strains Only
If you have a case of whiplash, a back strain, or other sprain that are expected to recover in a few weeks with no follow-up care or treatment your case will have a lower value than a more severe injuries.
Most sprain-strain cases have a settlement value in the amount of the medical bills, lost pay, and an add-on for a few weeks of pain and suffering.
If your medical treatment after a rear-end crash is limited to chiropractic care, the value of your case will most likely be tied to the amount of your bills, time missed from work and compensation for pain. If you have not recovered fully after chiropractic treatment, you may need to consult with a specialist in order to prove your case has greater value.
Physician and Physical Therapy
If your injuries can be fully treated by a physician with physical therapy, the case value will probably depend on the amount of bills and the length of time it takes to recover. Soft tissue injuries that can be healed with physical therapy have value, but not as much as permanent injuries. One always hopes to recover fully, but if you are not getting results from physical therapy, consult your doctor. You may need to seek a higher level of care. Higher levels of injury often require specialist care in order to receive full settlement value.
Injections with Permanent Issues
More serious injuries justifying higher compensation may sometimes require injections for pain relief. Of course, this is up to your doctor. However, if you are being recommended for injections, it will be hard to recover the full value of your case unless you receive them. Cases where steroid injections are received often have a higher settlement or verdict value than chiropractic or physical therapy alone.
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Surgical Care with Permanent Impairment Rating
In more serious rear-end accident where injuries require surgery or will be permanent, your case may have a much greater value. For example, future injections or radiofrequency ablation, (RFA,) may be used to treat pain. The value of such cases will not only include your current medical bills, it may also include future losses based on medical needs, lost mobility and lost ability to work.
What Are The Best Ways to Recover Maximum Value in a Rear-end Accident Case?
In order to obtain full and fair compensation for your losses in a rear-end collision there are certain steps you should take to protect your claim. It’s counterproductive to exaggerate your injuries. However, you should also guard against making your claim look smaller than it really is by skipping doctor appointments, talking about your accident on social media, for example, or engaging in activities not approved by your medical care team like jumping on the trampoline or water-skiing the day after your accident.
Seek Medical Care Quickly
If you are injured, a delay in going to the doctor or hospital may make it harder to prove your case. If you wait a long time before going to the doctor, be prepared for the insurance adjuster to claim that your injuries were not very serious or have a cause different than being hit from behind an a car accident.
Dealing With Insurance Adjusters:
Insurance adjusters may want to question you about your injuries. While it is natural to tell your mother you are “fine” after a rear-ender. However, if you are not doing fine and you tell this to an adjuster, it is likely to become very difficult to receive a fair settlement offer.
How Adjusters, Lawyers, Judges and Juries Value Rear-End Crash Cases
How Insurance Adjusters Value Rear-End Collisions:
Adjusters will use minimal damage to your rear bumper to argue you were not badly hurt. But, we all know that human bodies are not as sturdy as bumpers.
Insurance companies will also look for any pre-existing condition you might have to minimize your claim. They frequently use things like your age and your lifestyle against you. Adjusters may say that your injuries are because you are “old.” Or, an adjuster will say you were injured because you played sports in high school.
They use such excuses in order to offer you less money for your claim. You can often overcome such obstacles with medical records and testimony from doctors.
How Lawyers Value Rear-End Crash Personal Injury Claims:
For rear-end accident cases, car accident lawyers will base case values on the severity of your injury. They also research what past cases have settled or received verdicts for. Lawyers may conduct Jury Verdict Research to help assess case value and will use the results to find a beginning place for settlement negotiations.
How Judges Value Rear-End Crash Cases:
Judges also look at previous cases with similar circumstances and outcomes in order to gauge the value of your claim.
How Juries Value Rear-End Accident Cases:
Jurors are very cautious. They tend to be skeptical and must be absolutely convinced you were really and truly hurt. The more visual evidence you can provide, the better. Juries like to see lots of graphic photos of extensive damage or “visible” injuries from pictures, x-rays or MRI studies.
Understanding the Nature of the Battle Ahead Can Help You Win Your Claim
Understanding what you’re up against is more than half the battle when it comes to dealing with an automobile accident. How rear-end collision cases are investigated and handled in Georgia are your keys to success. You deserve to receive the full and fair settlement to which you are entitled.
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