How is Fault Determined in an Accident?

Two men arguing after a car accident

Georgia follows the template of fault that applies in many other states. For many new Atlanta, residents are a little bit of relief that they can know what to expect. But there are some specifics with Georgia that making determining it is a little foggy.

A Georgia car accident lawyer can make all the difference in your case. Working with a lawyer can help you understand how Atlanta traffic laws apply to your case. They can also utilize the evidence you gathered at the scene to create a more realistic rendition of events than what insurance companies typically do.

“At-Fault” and “No-Fault”

At-fault and no-fault are terms that often aren’t clearly understood. Georgia is an “At-Fault” state meaning that in every crash there is a driver who caused the crash. It’s not always fair and there are many cases when both drivers seem genuinely without fault. But in Georgia, the insurance companies, a mediator, or a jury will determine that someone is at fault.

No-fault, a practice in very few states means that there are crashes where no one was responsible. Issues such as road conditions and weather often play a part in no-fault findings. Even in no-fault states, it is rare for a no-fault determination. So don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything living in an at-fault state.

In addition to operating as an at-fault state, Georgia employs a 50% bar rule. The 50% bar rule states that the driver who is 50% or more at-fault, is essentially responsible for the whole crash. While insurance companies may internally reach settlement agreements where the lesser at-fault driver’s insurance carrier pays some compensation it’s not required.

The driver with less than 50% fault cannot be pursued for compensation. Meaning that you cannot go after their insurance coverage or them personally.

Duty of Care or Negligence

Duty of care is the basis of nearly all fault decisions. Essentially anyone with a driver’s license, from any state, gives a promise to all other people on the road to act safely and in accordance with traffic laws. Everyone is told about this, in writing, when they receive their license.

Many drivers forget about this duty of care. They speed when they’re in a hurry, and blow through stop signs when they think it’s safe. Failing to provide a duty of care almost always involves breaking a traffic law. In cases where it doesn’t directly break the law, there is still the evidence of neglect.

Neglect can include everything from texting or drinking to failing to yield. By acting in any neglectful manner a driver is at risk of being the person determined as at-fault.

Negligence comes up in a variety of situations and you might find it comes down to often forgotten aspects of driving such as using a turn signal. A common example of negligence playing a role in determining at-fault is a driver signaling to switch lanes while another driver is in the process of changing lanes also. The person who failed to signal or signaled their intent to move to late is often deemed as negligent.

Apologies

A touchy subject, but many have now learned the hard way to not apologize after a crash. Not only is it unreasonable as you don’t have anything to be sorry for, but it’s an admission of guilt.

Even if you apologize as an act of concern rather than apologizing for action, the other driver can use it as a sign of guilt. An opposing insurance company or legal team may argue that by apologizing you may have seen possible evasive action and did not take it. Don’t apologize.

Find an Auto Accident Attorney in Atlanta

If you worry about being assigned any percentage of it, get legal help. A car accident lawyer in Atlanta can explain how Georgia law will factor in your case. They can also help guide you through the insurance claim process, and seek a settlement if you would rather avoid court.

The major determination of at-fault will impact your compensation and how much effort you have to go through to recover medical costs.

Get an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer

Get in touch with the lawyers at the Weinstein Firm to set the record straight. Have your side of the events heard and defend yourself? You can speak with a professional and experienced lawyer who’s interested in what you have to say about your case.

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