As you drive to work, you bump your head to the music you're listening to as you think through the tasks you will have to complete that day. All of a sudden, though, you hear the sound of crunching steel, and your head ends up moving back and forth violently. You have just been rear ended.
In some cases, a rear-end accident leading to serious injuries in Georgia is the result of the carelessness of another driver. For instance, perhaps your fellow driver was trying to text and drive -- or, engaging in distracted driving -- when he or she hit and injured you. In this situation, a few steps can help you to protect your legal rights in the long run.
What are my first steps?
Directly after the accident, checking on any driver or passenger involved in the accident right away is important, as someone -- including you -- may need emergency care. However, it is best to avoid moving another injured individual, unless it is necessary to do so, to keep him or her safe.
Another important first step at the collision scene is to contact police, who can file a report on the accident for you. Police reports might not necessarily be admissible in a civil court, but these reports can certainly provide victims with leverage when they are giving their particular versions of events in court.
What else must I do at the accident scene?
Gathering information is also critical at the motor vehicle accident scene. This information includes the telephone, address and name of the driver who rear-ended you, as well as the policy number and name of this driver's insurance company. Additional information that may be helpful to obtain includes statements from witnesses, along with their contact information. Photos of the accident scene might also be useful down the road.
Filing a suit
If you have suffered an injury in a Georgia rear-end accident, you have the option of filing a personal injury claim against the driver who struck you, seeking damages. If you establish liability before the civil court hearing your case, based upon a showing of negligence, a judge will determine your claim for damages. A monetary award in a successfully fought case may help you to cover your medical bills and even the loss of wages if your accident-related injury kept you from working for a period of time.