| Read Time: 5 minutes | Car Accident
What To Expect After Being Rear Ended

Rear-end collisions can happen anywhere, though they are most common at intersections and in parking lots. Being rear-ended can cause considerable damage, not only to your vehicle but also to your body. If someone has struck you from behind, you should be prepared for a lengthy recovery and a possibly frustrating experience getting compensation for your claim. For help understanding what to expect after being rear-ended, contact a car accident legal specialist in our office today.

Expect Certain Injuries

Car accidents can cause many injuries, including broken bones, cuts or lacerations, and spinal cord injuries. However, rear-end collisions tend to see some common injuries, such as:

  • Whiplash. This is a soft-tissue injury caused when the head snaps back and forth like a whip. Whiplash often results in headaches, neck stiffness, problems sleeping, and dizziness or nausea.
  • Traumatic brain injuries. The whiplash motion can also shake the brain inside the skull, leading to a TBI. Common symptoms include slurred speech, blurred vision, headache, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and problems with memory or cognition. Some TBIs cause a victim to immediately lose consciousness.
  • Facial injuries. A passenger’s face could strike the dashboard, steering wheel, or another passenger’s. Even if there are airbags in the car, they might not deploy or could deploy too forcibly, causing injury.
  • Back injuries. Any trauma can cause injuries to the back, including sprains or displaced spinal discs. Back injuries can cause immobilizing pain.

Even if you feel okay after the crash, pay attention to your symptoms in the following days. Some injuries are slow to develop, but you will want to receive prompt medical attention.

Rehab Your Injuries

It is vital that you follow your doctor’s advice to get well. If you don’t, then the other driver could claim you are somewhat responsible for your pain. If your doctor wants you to go to physical therapy twice a week, then you should go. The sooner you get well, the sooner you can return to work and start earning money again.

Help Your Insurer Determine Fault

Generally, the vehicle that struck you from behind is at fault for the accident, though that is not a hard-and-fast rule. Instead, the fault is determined by determining who, if anyone, drove negligently. For example, you might have cut someone off, which could make you partially (or even fully) at fault for the crash. But a great many rear-end collisions are caused by a motorist following too closely the vehicle in front of it. As a result, the driver cannot brake in time and plows right into the back fender.
After reporting the accident to your insurer, they should work to establish fault for the collision. Under Georgia law, the motorist who is to blame for the crash is charged with paying compensation to those injured. That compensation can include damage to your vehicle as well as the cost of medical care and lost wages.
Your insurer will assign an adjuster to work on the case. In some situations, the fault for the crash is obvious. In others, there might be a dispute. At some point, you will probably need to explain how the accident unfolded to your insurance agent as well as the insurer for the other driver.

Prepare For Settlement Negotiations

Most cases settle, which can save time and money. However, not all cases settle quickly. There are several reasons that settlement might be delayed, such as:

  • There is a dispute over fault for the rear-end accident. The other driver might claim that you are to blame. The insurance companies usually to more fully investigate these crashes.
  • Your injuries are very serious, so you need more compensation than usual. Insurers will look closely at these cases.

The timing of settlement negotiations is key. You might find that your attorney wants to wait until you have recovered from your injuries before negotiating a settlement since at that point the full financial cost of the accident is known. The ideal in settlement negotiations is to receive full compensation for all losses, including pain and suffering.
Your attorney should handle negotiations for you, but they will never accept a settlement offer without your permission. As the client, you decide whether to settle and for how much. Some cases settle in as little as a week. Others can take months of intense negotiation.

Common Causes of Rear-End Accidents 

Despite rear-end accidents being extremely common, knowing this fact does not lessen the shock and terror you may feel in the moments after you have been rear-ended. There are potentially hundreds of specific causes of rear-end accidents. However, there are several common causes that we see time and time again. We describe these below.

To learn more about what to expect after being rear-ended, feel free to call us. We are happy to answer your questions and assist you in any way. 

Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers claimed the lives of 3,522 individuals in 2021 and are perhaps one of the most common causes of rear-end collisions. When most people think of distracted driving, they think of texting or using their phone while behind the wheel. However, distracted driving can be as simple as applying lipstick in the rearview mirror while driving or adjusting the radio. 

If you suspect a distracted driver rear-ended you, you must speak with an attorney immediately. Typically, drivers responsible for a rear-end crash do not exit the vehicle and admit that they were texting while driving. Proving their distracted driving and negligence often takes investigative work that a lawyer can assist you with. 


Tailgating or following too closely is a recipe for disaster. This often leads to rear-end crashes because the following driver does not allow enough space or time to stop adequately should the front driver stop abruptly. 

Drunk Driving

Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs are common causes of rear-end collisions. An intoxicated driver is unlikely to adequately gauge how much distance is between them and the car in front of them. They may be so drunk that they do not even see the car in front of them. 

Driving in Inclement Weather 

Inclement weather and poor road conditions can undoubtedly cause rear-end motor vehicle accidents. For instance, slick and slippery roads make for poor traction and inhibit the ability to stop. In fact, 1,235,000 crashes each year are due to weather conditions.

Tips for Avoiding Rear-End Collisions

Unfortunately, you cannot always prevent or avoid rear-end collisions. However, there are three tips you can follow anytime you are behind the wheel to help avoid being the victim of a rear-end crash.

Be Aware of Your 360 Degree Surroundings

Being aware of your surroundings seems somewhat obvious, but it is vital in avoiding rear-end crashes. When driving, being aware of your surroundings includes more than just keeping your eyes on the road in front of you. You should also be mindful of the proximity of cars behind you. For instance, if you drive on the freeway and suddenly see brake lights ahead, you should begin slowing down. However, the driver behind you may not see you slowing down. Or, they may not be paying attention to the brake lights ahead. Being aware that the vehicle behind you is barreling toward you at high speed may give you a second to veer toward the shoulder out of harm’s way. 

Use Your Signals

Always use your turn signals when driving. Remember, your signals are your way of communicating with other drivers letting them know your intentions. Failure to use your signals regularly can result in being rear-ended.

Check Your Vehicle

Check your vehicle regularly to ensure all lights and signals are working correctly. Burned-out brake or blinker lights can pose a hazard because other drivers cannot anticipate your actions. Ensuring these are in working order is an excellent tip to avoid rear-end wrecks.

Contact Our Award-Winning Legal Team Today

Rear-end collisions leave our clients in considerable pain and financial distress. Fortunately, our team knows how to obtain compensation for our clients. If you would like to discuss your rear-end collision with someone, please contact MG Law to schedule a free consultation.

Author Photo

Michael Geoffroy’s law practice focuses on auto collisions, premises liability, wrongful death, and catastrophic injury. He stands up for the cause of justice throughout Georgia and on behalf of his clients every day. He is a leader in both the courtroom and the community, having been recognized numerous times for his involvement in each.