June 29, 2020

Pitts Carr and Alex Weatherby

Determining Fault in a Georgia Auto Accident

Determining who is at fault in a car accident is not always straightforward. While there are some basic rules of fault, determining who is at fault often depends on the facts of your case.

In Georgia, a driver who caused an accident in Georgia is responsible for damages reasonably related to and caused by the truck accident or auto accident.

If you’ve been in a car accident and have questions surrounding fault, you should speak with a Georgia accident attorney today.

Basic Rules of Fault

In any car accident, general rules of fault exist to guide the parties involved. Generally, a person is at fault for causing an accident when:

  • They drove negligently, such as holding their phone while driving;
  • He or she broke a traffic law, such as speeding, that resulted in the accident;
  • Their car was in a defective condition, which caused the accident; and
  • In rear-end accidents, he or she was the driver who rear-ended the other driver.

However, the basic rules of fault do not clearly apply to all car accidents. For example, it can be difficult to determine who was at fault when one driver was using their phone and the other was speeding. In many cases, fault may lie on both sides.

To get an idea of whether you could be deemed at fault for causing your accident, you should contact a Georgia accident attorney today.

Who Determines Fault?

Insurance adjusters often make the initial determination of who is at fault in a car accident. Insurance adjusters tend to decide fault because people involved in car accidents submit claims through their insurance company. Evidence that insurance adjusters use to decide fault includes:

  • The police report;
  • Photos of the accident scene;
  • Statements from the parties involved, including any witnesses;
  • Photos of damages to the vehicles; and
  • Weather conditions on the day of the accident.

However, an experienced auto accident attorney can place you in the best position to arguing your case for fault. An attorney can challenge an insurance adjuster’s determination of fault and fight for a settlement.

Can Both Drivers Be at Fault in an Accident?

Under the rule of comparative negligence, both drivers can be at fault in an accident. Comparative negligence reduces the damages a person can recover based on their percentage of fault.

Georgia is a modified comparative negligence state, meaning that if a person is 50% or more at fault for causing the accident, he or she cannot recover any compensation. However, if a driver is less than 50% at fault, his or her percentage of fault reduces their damages. 

For example, if a driver suffered $100,000 in damages but was 30% at fault, he or she would recover $70,000. If the other driver was 70% at fault, he or she cannot recover any damages because their degree of fault was over the 50% threshold.

Contact Our Accident Lawyers at Carr & Weatherby

If you’re the victim of an accident in Georgia and are having issues regarding fault, contact our accident lawyers at Carr & Weatherby. We have been providing effective legal services since 1973. Our lawyers take immense pride in resolving complex legal problems. We work our cases from beginning to end with a hands-on approach.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Explains Insurance Letters and What They Mean

An insurance company sent my client a letter today. That sounds really good on paper, but it’s not that good if you know the ins and outs of the law. The letter reads as follows. “If you agree to protect us, we will discount our lien by 25% if the case is settled or one third if the case goes to trial,” and it says, “Just sign here agreeing to that.”

Well, while it sounds like they’re giving you some great discount, in actuality, the vast majority of insurance plans will have to accept a bigger discount than 25% or even one-third of their lien.

That’s because, in Georgia, the majority of insurance plans have to prove that the plaintiff has been fully and completely compensated.

That’s really hard to do when you’re dealing with pain and suffering, and it requires a whole other lawsuit even if you wanted to do it.

Now, there’s one exception, and that is a federally funded ERISA plan. That’s going to be when generally you’re a part of a bigger organization or company that has a lot of people paying in, like a teacher’s union or something like that.

I’ve seen it on smaller companies, too, but it’s just not as common. In that case, a 25% reduction is a big deal, because it’s governed by federal law, not state law, and the benefits to the consumer are just not as big.

However, if you get a letter like this, it’s just one of the reasons why you need to consult with an attorney that knows what they’re talking about. It sounds good on paper. It’s not that good in practice.