In Georgia, Is the Person Who Rear-Ended Me Always at Fault?

Written By: Darl Champion

Date Posted: 04.14.23

Category: Car Accident

Rear-end car accidents are one of the most common types of accidents on the road and can range from minor fender benders to serious collisions resulting in injury or death. Being involved in a rear-end collision can be stressful and overwhelming, mainly if you are unsure who is at fault and how to proceed with insurance claims and legal proceedings.

Whether you are a driver, passenger, or pedestrian, understanding the factors contributing to rear-end accidents can help you stay safe on the road and protect your rights if you are involved in a car accident.

It’s important to understand how Georgia views liability and fault in rear-end crashes and what you might need to do to secure full compensation.

Fault & Liability in a Rear-End Crash

Georgia law states that drivers cannot follow other vehicles “more closely than is reasonable and prudent,” which means drivers should pay attention to the speed of other cars and the environment.

Therefore, in a rear-end collision, the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle will normally be at fault. This is because drivers are generally expected to leave enough distance between their car and the one in front of them to avoid a collision and to be attentive and ready to stop if necessary.

However, there are some situations where the driver who was rear-ended may be partially or fully at fault. For example, suppose the driver abruptly stops or makes an unexpected maneuver without signaling and cuts off the other driver. In that case, it may be difficult for the driver behind to avoid a collision.

Additionally, there may be cases where the driver who rear-ended the other vehicle can argue that they were not at fault. For instance, if the other driver’s brake lights were not working, the driver who rear-ended them may not be fully responsible for the accident. Another common scenario involving rear-end accidents is multiple car collisions, where a car crashes into the car in front of them because another vehicle hits them from behind. In these cases, the rear-most driver will most likely be the one determined to be at fault.

Simply put, the driver who rear-ends another vehicle will be liable for most crashes. Still, fault in a rear-end collision can get complicated and will ultimately depend on the specific circumstances of the accident. It’s crucial to gather as much information as possible, including witness statements and photos, and to work with your insurance company and legal professionals to evaluate a read end collision.

Can Drivers Share the Blame for Rear-End Collisions?

Lead drivers can be blamed for causing rear-end collisions if they aren’t driving reasonably.

The driver who is hit from behind could be found liable for a rear-end collision if they:

  • Suddenly slammed on the brakes for no reason.
  • Cut off the other driver
  • Didn’t have working taillights.
  • Decided to reverse suddenly.
  • Weren’t following the rules of the road.
  • Stopped on the road without using proper warnings, like hazard lights or signal flares.
  • Made an illegal turn or didn’t use their turn signals.

Rear-End Crashes & Comparative Negligence in GA

In car crashes, the at-fault driver will hold the blame, meaning they’ll need to pay for the victim’s damages or injuries. They are considered negligent.

However, under Georgia law, they could share some of the blame if the victim could have avoided consequences themselves but didn’t take the appropriate actions or contributed to the accident somehow. This is called comparative negligence.

A crash victim may find their settlement reduced by the amount of blame they share in a crash. For instance, if a judge ruled a rear-end collision was 20% the lead driver’s fault, they could pursue 80% of the damages. If they were awarded $100,000, they could receive $80,000.

However, if it’s determined that you’re 50% or more responsible for a crash, you cannot recover damages under Georgia law.

Common Rear-End Crash Injuries & Damages

When a car is hit from the rear, it’s common for its occupants to be injured. It’s easy for injuries to appear minor, but they could be severe. Some injuries caused by rear-end collisions have lifelong effects.

Common injuries caused by rear-end collisions include:

  • Whiplash
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Back Injuries
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Concussions
  • Head Injuries
  • Neck injuries
  • Organ failure
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Traumatic brain injuries

If you’ve been injured in a rear-end collision, you can seek economic or non-economic damages if you are less than 50% at fault for the crash. This includes compensation for your:

  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of work
  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Pain & suffering
  • Property damage

Proving Fault for a Rear-End Accident

You’ll need to prove the driver that hit you was responsible for the wreck. Their insurance company will likely work to discredit or downplay your injuries to avoid a settlement. They may also try to show you were partly responsible for the crash.

You should be collecting evidence to strengthen your case. At the scene of the crash, you should get photographs or videos. You should also get photos of the area, including road signs and weather conditions. You can also use a police report. Witness statements can help your case.

A Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

You can file a claim after a rear-end collision alone, but you may miss some details or weaken your position by agreeing you share some of the blame. Remember, insurance companies don’t want to pay you after their client caused a crash. They’ll work to minimize their payout or avoid it altogether. They could offer a lowball settlement that won’t cover your needs, hoping you’ll give up and just accept.

An experienced Georgia car accident lawyer can identify these lowball offers and work to improve and reinforce your case after a rear-end car accident. They’ll help you find and preserve evidence, document your injuries and damages, and work towards securing the settlement you deserve. They’ll even be ready for court if necessary.

Get The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. Today

Rear-end collisions can be devastating and unexpected. Getting a settlement can quickly become more complicated than you imagined. You need to focus on recovery and leave the legal work to an experienced personal injury team.

The Champion Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.C. has helped clients like you, and we’re ready to help you with your case. We understand the trauma of a car crash and want you to secure the compensation you deserve after a rear-end collision. We have recovered over $100 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients. We understand insurance and liability laws and are ready to help you.

Call 404-596-8044 or use our online form for a free, no-risk consultation.

About the Author

Darl Champion is an award-winning personal injury lawyer serving the greater Metro Atlanta area. He is passionate about ensuring his clients are fully compensated when they are harmed by someone’s negligence. Learn more about Darl here.