It’s not uncommon for a driver to receive a 2 to 20% fault in an Atlanta car wreck. These percentages are never clear, and they almost always happen between car insurance companies. Meaning it’s one more thing that happens behind the veil that the rest of us have to try to figure out on our own.
So should you fight a fault percentage in an effort to get more compensation? it’s possible that you could, and there are pros and cons to starting that battle. Read through our insight before you decide to take charge and negotiate fault.
Contributory Fault in an Atlanta Car Wreck
Georgia and by association Atlanta has a contributory fault rule. What that rule means is that what you contribute to the crash is what is deducted from your possible compensation. It’s pretty straightforward, and compared to other systems, it’s probably the fairest way to approach crash resolution.
So, for example, if you were speeding, but someone hit you from behind, you would receive a small fault percentage. Although, in theory, your speeding should have reduced the likelihood of someone hitting you from behind, you are violating a traffic law.
That is where most small percentages of fault come into play. Any moving traffic violation and some parking violations can result in you taking fault to a small degree. Another example might be if your car was parked very far from the curb an A motorcyclist was not able to avoid it in traffic conditions. The result could be a small percentage of fault for the driver who wasn’t even present at the scene.
What Does Your Fault Percentage Tell You?
Fault percentage tells you what portion of the crash that the insurance companies involved believe you contributed to. The best example is a rear-end crash where the driver in front was also committing a traffic violation. Did they cause the crash? No. But, were they disobeying the rules of the road? Yes.
Fault percentage comes into play not only in determining if you’ll receive compensation but how much you can receive. In contributory fault states, your compensation award or settlement will be reduced by the amount that you contributed to the crash.
To see this in action, if you receive a $10,000 settlement and but contributed to the crash by 5% you’ll have a reduced compensation amount, which means that you’ll lose out of $500 because of that 5% contribution.
Fight it or Not?
In most situations, insurance companies make the determination on fault, and it’s not likely to change. Usually, the one way that you can change fault is to take your claim to court. When you take a car accident claim from private settlement negotiations to court, you run the risk of a judge giving you less compensation and possibly a higher fault percentage.
Now you can disagree with the determination of fault, and your insurance may bring in a mediator. This will substantially slow down the progression of your claim but can turn out in your favor. That third-party mediator may be at your expense, but they will make the final decision based only on evidence. That evidence bit is critical because, in most policies, the fault lies with companies in a “situational” element. Meaning that basically, insurance companies can negotiate a fault percentage for each driver that reduces payouts for both companies.
Where Should You Focus Your Efforts?
Honestly, most people should focus their efforts on getting full compensation rather than reducing fault. When it comes to settlement negotiations, people often don’t realize how many hundreds or thousands of dollars they’re losing out on. If you’re going to recover $500 for the 5% fault, it could be a big deal. But it’s generally more important to fight for the $3,000 that you didn’t know you should have had access to.
Always talk to your Atlanta car wreck lawyer because they can help you know when the fault percentage is too high. They can also take the lead on when your settlement offers are too low.
Get in Touch With Your Atlanta Car Wreck Lawyer
The Weinstein firm represents victims of car accidents. That doesn’t mean we turn away people who have a 1% fault percentage. In fact, what it means is that we want to protect you as much as possible during this process. We can help you assess how fault percentage can change your compensation possibilities.
Contact our Atlanta car wreck injury law firm to find a great car accident attorney for your claim. Our enthusiastic legal team Is ready to take on any challenge.