Being rear ended by a commercial vehicle on the roadway can be a scary and jarring experience. In the immediate aftermath of an accident, it can be difficult to know what to do or who to talk to.
Insurance companies will want statements and offer settlements that may or may not actually cover the costs of your injuries.
You need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney before you make any decisions about your legal options after a commercial vehicle accident. At Cohen & Sinowski, our lawyers are here to advise you on your legal options after you have been rear ended by a commercial vehicle.
Given the size and force of a semi-truck, rear end accidents involving this type of vehicle can cause serious, sometimes permanent injuries. Some of the most common injuries seen after being rear ended by a commercial vehicle include the following:
Immediately after a rear end accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention for your injuries. Even if you think that the injuries are minor, seeing a doctor right after the accident will create contemporaneous documentation about your injuries, and in cases of internal organ damage you may be more injured than you realize because oftentimes those types of injuries are not immediately recognizable but do need immediate treatment.
If you are rear ended by a semi-truck, settlement for these types of accidents can include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages refer to the out of pocket costs associated with the accident, such as property damage, current and future medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future income and benefits.
Non-economic refer to compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, disfigurement, disability, and the loss of enjoyment of life. In the worst rear end accidents, where someone loses their life, the family of the victim can also seek compensation for wrongful death. This includes money for funeral costs and compensation for the loss of security, love, companionship, and consortium.
It is important to note that Georgia operates under a modified comparative fault rule for personal injury accidents, such as rear end accidents with commercial trucks.
Under the modified rule, the court determines the degree of fault for every party involved in the accident and reduces the overall award of compensation by that percentage of fault. If a party is found to be more than fifty percent at fault for the accident, they are barred from receiving any compensation for their claims. For example, if a victim was awarded $100,000 in damages for a rear end accident and was found ten percent at fault, the total award would be reduced to $90,000. However, if the victim was found 51 percent at fault for the accident, that person is barred completely from recovering damages for the injuries they sustained.
Because Georgia utilizes a modified fault rule, it is incredibly important that you secure the services of an experienced personal injury attorney to fight any claims of fault on your part for the accident.
It is almost always the case that in rear end accidents, the person being struck from behind is not found at fault, even when hit by a company vehicle. Drivers are supposed to keep a safe distance between them and the vehicle in front of them, regardless of the type of vehicle, weather conditions, time of day, or who owns the vehicle on the road. If you are rear ended by a commercial truck, they were negligent in their duty to maintain a safe following distance behind you.
Within hours or days after the accident, insurance companies will be contacting you for a statement about the accident and offering a minimal settlement for your claims. It is highly recommended that you do not speak with an insurer or discuss a settlement offer without a lawyer present. Initial settlement offers are almost always less than the true value of your claim, and insurers are trying to get you to make a statement against your own interests to try and claim that you were somehow at fault for a rear end accident. An experienced personal injury attorney knows these tricks and can protect both you and your claims.
A lawyer can negotiate on your behalf with the insurance companies to try and reach a settlement that is reflective of the harm you suffered as a result of the accident. If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer can take your claims to court and go to trial. You have many legal options after a rear end accident, and a lawyer can go over all of your options without the overbearing presence of insurance adjusters trying to force a settlement on the case.
If you have been injured in a rear end accident with a commercial truck in the Marietta area, you may have a claim for compensation for your injuries. Call the office or contact us at Cohen & Sinowski to speak with an experienced personal injury at no charge about your case.