Atlanta, Georgia auto wreck attorneys will always provide the guidance that you should never admit fault. It’s true. You should not get out of the car and apologize, or elaborate on how you weren’t looking or weren’t paying attention. Fault is such a complex topic that it’s more likely for you to have contributed to some small percentage of the wreck rather than being entirely responsible. So, what happens if you are at fault in a car accident in Georgia?
You can take accountability for any of your actions without admitting that you caused the wreck because, in all reality, crashes rarely happen because of one driver. Getting an attorney on your case can help you access resources that you might not have known were available. They can breakdown the extent of your wreck, your injuries and recreate what happened.
Georgia Is a Fault-Based Accident State
Regarding automobile accidents, Georgia is not a “no-fault” state. In Georgia, they follow the traditional liability system when it comes to car accidents. This means that the liable party’s insurance company is responsible for covering the other party’s injury and property damages.
Whether it was intentional or not, the driver that caused the accident and their insurance company are liable to cover the compensation for any damages that occurred to the other driver.
Defining who is liable after a car collision is usually a complicated procedure. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident, you will need an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney with the necessary know-how to help you go through this challenging situation.
A complete investigation may be required to clear out which party is responsible for the crash, and it may include:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Videos from surveillance cameras
- Vehicle’s “black box” data
What is Modified Comparative Negligence?
As an at-fault state, Georgia runs under a modified comparative negligence system that identifies the share of liability for each party involved in the auto accident. Unless a car accident victim is less than 50% to blame, they cannot be able to recover any damages. Nevertheless, if the victim is partially to blame, the amount of recoveries will be reduced accordingly.
This system is also known as “proportional comparative fault,” meaning that each party involved in a vehicle collision has a percentage of the blame. The driver owning more than 51% of the fault, cannot claim compensation from the other party. This is why it is important to call the police to inspect the accident scene and gather the evidence needed to determine the fault shares. An Atlanta auto accident attorney is needed at this point to take care of the next steps.
How Fault is Proven?
When you live in an “at-fault” state like Georgia, what needs to be done is to prove who is to blame for the accident. Many people make the mistake to try and solve the dispute themselves. Even when the other driver is friendly, giving you all of their insurance information, you should still call the police to come there.
A report by a police officer is mandatory to claim damages or medical expenses, otherwise, it is your word against the other driver’s. Regardless of the honesty of the other party, their insurance company needs to be convinced about your losses in order to pay you the compensation you deserve. Without the police accident documentation, you will have a really hard time proving more than the other party is more than 50% to blame and get paid your damages.
People often misunderstand fault with traffic infractions. Georgia has a comparative fault system, which means that yes, a traffic infraction can attribute you to a fault. However, it does not inherently mean that the person speeding caused the wreck. Additionally, it doesn’t mean that someone driving under the influence, or driving passively caused the wreck.
What happens when you’re partially at-fault is that you will go through the claim process, and then the percentage of fault will be taken from the compensation. However, many people don’t really understand how fault works either.
The fault is the person who is ultimately responsible for causing the crash. A person getting onto the freeway the wrong way, pulling onto a one-way street in the wrong direction, or slamming on their brakes for no reason are obvious fault elements. But so are the more common fault elements such as following too closely, running red lights, and not adhering to signage.
Understanding the “No-Fault” Insurance System
Many states around the country use the “no-fault” insurance system for automobile accidents. In an insurance system like this, no matter who is at fault for the accident, drivers go to their own insurance company right after the accident. This means that if, for example, you need medical care for your injuries, the medical bills will be covered by your own insurance provider, even though the accident was not your fault.
Florida is an example of a “no-fault” state. In states where the “no-fault” system applies, lawsuits are blocked against the at-fault driver. There are exceptions to any situation; a lawsuit may be allowed depending on the damages’ severity and financial value.
Although it’s so natural to get out of the car and say, “I’m so sorry,” you simply can’t do it. Apologizing is the equivalent of admitting fault. If you said I’m sorry to the driver, then you’re saying, “Yup, I did it,” even if you didn’t.
Now, even when you believe that you’re at fault, don’t apologize. Let the insurance companies and any involved investigators sort that out. You may feel like you were at fault and not realize that this person was driving under the influence and didn’t signal when they changed lanes.
Then you would realize afterward that you didn’t notice the absence of the signal, you didn’t see them swerving, or changing speeds. There are many things that victims of a car accident don’t grasp because they’re in shock from the whole event.
Don’t Inform Your Insurance Company that You May be At-Fault
It some of the many tactics from the car insurance industry. “Do you think you had anything to do with it?” The answer to that question will determine how much help you get on your case and how they review the evidence. The goal is to get the help you need, not what they want to give. So, unless you were clearly following too closely, you should inform them that you don’t believe you’re at fault in any way.
Now you should also bring in a third-party person to help you get through the process of the investigation. An investigation will help you actually divulge who caused the wreck.
Go Through the Crash with a Third-Party
You’re simply not a reliable source for fault. You were behind the wheel, which means that you couldn’t see the crash from an unbiased view. There’s also the fact that you don’t know what happened on the other end of that crash, you don’t know what the other driver was thinking or what they saw.
Attorneys and investigators will review both statements and any witness statements to attempt to create a version of events that fits all accounts.
Evaluate the Crash with the Help of a Georgia Auto Wreck Attorney
The Weinstein Firm helps the victims of crashes, but often people will feel that they’re at-fault and then fall into the trap of being labeled as “at-fault” when they are not. Fault is not something that insurance companies work hard to evaluate. Typically if someone apologizes or admits fault, they call it a day and move on to the next wreck on their plate.
For you, it’s likely that you’re not at-fault or at least not fully at fault. Yes, you may have been speeding, but small traffic infractions don’t make you the person who caused the wreck. Contact The Weinstein Firm and let our Georgia auto wreck law office review your wreck and the fault involves.