Sometimes, a client asks one of our Buford car accident lawyers if Georgia is an at-fault state. When we tell them that it is, they still seem a bit confused. Therefore, it is important to explain what it means for a state to be an at-fault state.
We will also explain how Georgia’s being an at-fault state may impact your car accident lawsuit.
What Does It Mean to Say That Georgia is an At-Fault State?
In some states, if you get into a car accident, you just file a claim with your insurance company. It doesn’t matter who was at fault. Whatever damage you suffered would be covered by your own insurance policy.
Of course, when this happens, you’ll be responsible for paying the deductible. This could be a few hundred dollars or a thousand dollars. It all depends on the terms of your policy. It also depends on how much it costs to get your vehicle repaired.
All Drivers in Georgia Are Legally Required to Maintain Auto Insurance
You don’t have an option when it comes to a car accident. According to Georgia Code 40-6-10, there are certain minimum thresholds that must be maintained. This is important if you get into a motor vehicle accident.
When you file your claim against the defendant’s insurance company, the goal is for it to be paid in full. Unfortunately, there is a chance that the other driver’s insurance policy limits aren’t high enough to cover 100% of your damages.
One thing your Buford car accident lawyer can assure you of is that the defendant will have at least the following:
- Bodily Injury – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per motor vehicle accident
- Property Damage Liability – $25,000 per accident
Your Buford Accident Attorney Will File a Claim With the Other Driver’s Insurance Carrier
Since Georgia is an at-fault state, you won’t be filing your claim with your own insurance carrier. Instead, you’ll file one with the other driver’s insurance company. If they caused the crash, then their insurance carrier should have to pay your damages.
If you end up filing a claim with the defendant’s insurance company, they’ll have to pay the deductible. They’ll also be the one who has to worry about their insurance premiums going up as a result of the crash.
All But Twelve States Are At-Fault States
It should come as no surprise that most states are at-fault states. Georgia, along with thirty-seven (37) other states are at-fault states. The benefit of this approach is that it is more streamlined.
Let’s say that you have to file a claim with your insurance company. Once your claim is paid, your insurance carrier must pursue the defendant’s insurance carrier for reimbursement. This takes a lot of time and can be an administrative nightmare.
Living in an At-Fault State Can Impact Your Car Accident Lawsuit
One of the benefits of living in an at-fault state is that the person who causes an accident is held accountable. Of course, your Buford car accident lawyer must prove the other driver was at fault.
Once your attorney does this, they can focus on proving your damages. As long as the defendant’s policy limits cover your damages, you shouldn’t have any issues.
If their policy limits don’t cover your damages, you can pursue your own insurance carrier for the difference. Worst case, your Buford accident attorney can always sue the other driver personally for damages.
If the Other Driver Caused the Crash, Your Buford Accident Attorney Must File a Claim With Their Insurance Carrier
If your Buford car accident lawyer truly believes the other driver caused the crash, there are certain steps they need to take. The first thing they’ll do is help you file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company.
Along with your claim, your Buford accident attorney must submit the necessary documentation to prove that the other driver was at fault. This can include some or all of the following:
- A video of the crash and its aftermath
- Photographs of the damaged vehicle, the injured passengers, and the crash scene
- A copy of the police report
- Statements made by the drivers involved
- Contact information for both drivers, including their license, registration, and insurance information
- Contact information for any eyewitnesses along with their statements
Once your Buford car accident lawyer submits this information, the insurance adjuster will review it thoroughly. When they have completed their investigation, they will either approve or deny your claim.
The Defendant’s Insurance Company Should Cover Your Medical Bills and Pay to Repair Your Car
If the other driver caused the crash, they should be held liable for your medical bills. They should also have to pay to get your car fixed.
If your car was destroyed as a result of the accident, you will be entitled to the fair market value of your vehicle. The value will be determined at the time of the crash. You are not entitled to receive the replacement value of your car.
What Happens if the Insurance Adjuster Denies Your Claim?
Even if you insist the defendant caused the crash, that doesn’t mean the insurance carrier will pay your claim. They may deny your claim for a variety of reasons. Some of these include:
- The insurance adjuster believes you caused the crash – not the insured
- The insurance company doesn’t believe your injuries are legitimate
- You have a history of filing auto insurance claims
- You were issued a ticket at the accident scene
- Your claim is large and the insurance company thinks they can settle for less down the road
Regardless of the reason, your Buford accident attorney will do their best to overcome these claims. Worst case, they can file suit and fight to get you damages some other way.
It May Be Easier to File a Claim With Your Own Insurance Company
If the defendant’s insurance carrier denies your claim, you have options. Obviously, you can file suit against the other driver. Or you can file a claim with your own insurance company.
If you have collision insurance, it will cover the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle. In order to have your medical bills paid, you need to maintain personal injury protection.
If you have both types of coverage, you may walk away without paying anything out-of-pocket.
All Your Buford Accident Attorney Cares About is That Your Damages Are Covered
Your Buford car accident lawyer has one goal in mind. They want to make sure you receive compensation for your injuries. They also want to make sure you’re reimbursed for any bills you pay out-of-pocket.
Reach Out to One of Our Buford Car Accident Lawyers So They Can Help Get the Process Started
If you’ve been injured in a car crash, you may already know how overwhelming it can be. Dealing with insurance companies can be confusing and intimidating. That’s why we suggest you have an experienced Buford accident attorney handle things for you.
Depending on how serious your accident was, you probably need to focus on getting better. The last thing you’ll want to do is fight with insurance adjusters over whether they’re going to pay your claim.