Rear-end collisions are a common occurrence on Georgia roads, but determining liability is not as straightforward as you might expect.
Understandably, prospective clients want to know how much their claim is worth. However, every case is different and how it plays out through the legal system is based on the individual circumstances of the wreck.
If you have been seriously injured in a rear-end collision because of another party’s negligence, contact an experienced Georgia collision attorney at Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C.
- Average Settlement Amount for a Rear-End Collision
- Factors That Can Decrease Rear-End Collision Settlements in Georgia
- Can Hiring a Georgia Lawyer Increase the Average Settlement for a Rear-End Collision?
- Contact Our Experienced Georgia Car Collision Lawyers
Average Settlement Amount for a Rear-End Collision
Some of the most critical factors in determining a potential rear-end collision settlement include injury type and severity, liability, damages, and available liability coverage.
Injury Type and Severity
Rear-end collisions can cause serious injuries. Some of the most common injuries include:
The severity of these injuries is vital in determining your case value. Someone with a severe spinal injury will likely have a higher case value than someone with a minor injury that resolves on its own.
Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state. That means you can collect a portion of your damages provided you are not primarily at fault for the collision.
The law in Georgia says you may still be eligible to collect compensation if your negligence is not 50% or more. For example, if a jury finds you 40% at fault, you could still collect 60% of your total damages. If the jury finds you 50% at fault, you will receive nothing.
A rear-end collision doesn’t automatically mean the rear vehicle is primarily at fault. Perhaps the front vehicle contributed to the crash by having no brake lights. Or perhaps the car changed lanes with no warning.
Multiple factors can alter a liability decision. You could have two victims with similar injuries, but different liability scenarios lead to very different settlements.
Total Amount of Damages
Damages from a rear-end collision can be divided into two main categories—economic and non-economic. Your economic damages are your tangible or financial losses. These damages include medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, future medical treatment, and loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic losses are more challenging to calculate as they are intangible items, including pain and suffering, emotional distress, or loss of consortium.
A pain and suffering settlement will vary from case to case because it’s directly tied to how severe someone’s injuries are and how long it takes for them to recover.
Potential Liability Coverage
Another determining factor in rear-end settlement amounts is the liability coverage of the negligent driver.
Georgia requires all drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance on their vehicles. The requirements are $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $50,000 per incident, and $25,000 in property damage liability.
If your damages total over $100,000 and the at-fault party only has $25,000 bodily injury coverage, you may struggle to collect the total amount. You would need to collect the rest from others who may have been at fault. For instance, if a work truck or vehicle rear-ends you, the company the driver works for may be held liable.
Whether you have uninsured / underinsured (UM) motorist coverage is another factor that determines the amount of a rear-end settlement. UM coverage is insurance against getting in an accident with a driver that doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your injuries.
There are two types of UM coverage, add-on and reduced-by. Add-on UM coverage stacks on top of the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Reduced-by UM coverage is reduced by the at-fault driver’s liability coverage. Under Georgia law, you have add-on UM coverage in the same amount as your liability insurance coverage unless you have chosen otherwise.
For instance, if your damages total over $100,000, the at-fault party has only $25,000 in liability coverage and you have $100,000 in add-on UM coverage, you can make a claim on your UM coverage for additional compensation.
Factors That Can Decrease Rear-End Collision Settlements in Georgia
Some factors in a rear-end crash can reduce your potential settlement. One of these is waiting too long to seek medical treatment.
If you wait weeks to see a doctor, the other driver’s insurance company may use that against you. They could claim your injuries are not as severe as you suggest or that another event caused your injuries, such as another vehicle collision, a slip and fall incident, etc.
A lack of evidence can work against you as well. You cannot claim $100,000 in damages with no proof of your damages. If you claim you missed three months from work, but you don’t have any documentation to support your claim, the other driver’s insurance company will not just take your word for it.
We work with doctors and expert auto collision reconstructionists who can discuss the specific details of your wreck and the factors that led to your specific injuries.
Can Hiring a Georgia Lawyer Increase the Average Settlement for a Rear-End Collision?
In most cases, hiring an experienced lawyer can help you get more compensation than you could negotiate independently. The reason for this is that skilled lawyers are excellent negotiators and case preparers.
We have nearly 40 years of experience dealing with insurance companies, which means we know the tactics they may use to undervalue your case. Insurance companies know you don’t have the same legal knowledge or experience as an attorney, which is why they rarely extend a fair offer to unrepresented victims.
An attorney will protect your rights. An insurance adjuster may try to get you to consent to a recorded statement in hopes you say something they can use against you. The adjuster might also try to get you to resolve your case before you have finished medical treatment.
By agreeing to a rear-end settlement and signing a release, you won’t be able to pursue additional compensation for future treatment and/or lost wages. That’s why we work with life care planners, medical experts, and crash reconstruction specialists.
These professional experts help us to build your case and prove that your damages were a direct result of the rear-end crash. They also help us to estimate future medical costs and lost wages so those costs can be added to your settlement amount.
Contact Our Experienced Georgia Car Collision Lawyers
Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C. has nearly 40 years of experience assisting injured victims. We will protect your rights and help you fight for the maximum rear-end settlement amount.
Our firm is highly dedicated to our clients and if necessary, our attorneys are not afraid to take a case to trial. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you.