If you were injured in a car accident, you have a right to compensation. However, proving fault can be tricky. You must prove the other driver was negligent to win your injury claim. The insurance company will use various tactics to discredit your claim and blame the other driver. To fight back against these tactics, our experienced Atlanta car accident attorneys will gather evidence and interview witnesses to support your case. Call our office today at (833) 254-2923, to schedule a free consultation.
Georgia is an at-fault state. That means a driver who is found to be responsible for causing or contributing to an accident because of negligence will likely have to pay for any damages you caused. However, it is essential to prove that the defendant was at fault to seek compensation.
Unfortunately, establishing liability is not as simple. In most cases, you can use common sense to tell if someone acted carelessly, but you may need to know the laws or rules they violated. Making a case to the insurance adjuster may be easier if you can find evidence that another person caused an accident.
Georgia State Laws for Car Accidents
Georgia is a comparative negligence state, meaning that your damages will not be reduced by the extent to which you were responsible for your injuries, as long as the amount of fault attributable to you does not equal or exceed that of the other party or parties.
In cases brought under the theory of comparative negligence, the jury awards damages based on the percentage of responsibility of each party. Therefore, your recovery is reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to you. Besides, if a jury determines that you were more than 50% responsible for an injury, then you are not entitled to any recovery.
Here’s how you can prove a fault in an Atlanta car accident:
Determine if there is a Traffic Law Violation
Fault in car accidents is generally very clear-cut if the one party was clearly breaking traffic laws. This is because traffic laws vary by state, and there are numerous violations you can fall prey to while driving. These violations consist of failure to yield, speeding, failing to use turn signals, or running a stop sign.
Traffic laws vary by jurisdiction — state, county, and city– so you need to research the traffic laws where you are. The best places to start are the Department of Motor Vehicles or your local police headquarters. Many of these offices have handbooks that provide information on state motor vehicle laws, including traffic laws. Additionally, you may find online sources that provide access to this information, along with links to state government and court websites.
Go to your local courthouse. You can visit the courthouse in person or use the courthouse’s website to investigate. You may have to look under the county’s official government website for model jury instructions in some states. In other states, it will be listed on a separate site from the main county government site.
Most states have laws concerning how close vehicles may be to each other. These traffic laws give minimum distances between the cars, but the driver of the leading vehicle may be found negligent if they drive too close. However, the other driver’s responsibility will be reduced if they were partially to blame, such as having a faulty brake light.
In a left-turn car accident, the driver of a vehicle making a left turn is typically held responsible for the collision by most state laws. That is because they need to give more of a cushion between them and oncoming traffic. However, this responsibility may shift in situations such as when the vehicle traveling straight was speeding or ran a red light.
Knowing what to do if you are involved in an accident will help you understand how accidents are the fault of both the driver in front and behind.
Obtain a Copy of the Police Report
A police report is the first step in the process toward a settlement with insurers and getting your car repaired. But you should be aware that if you go to court, you will probably have to prove the other driver was at fault. If there is no police report, or if it does not indicate clearly who was at fault, your case will be much harder to win. This is why it’s crucial to request a copy of the police report as soon as possible after an accident.
The police can help sort out who was at fault for any accident. The responding officer determines and describes what happened in a written report. You can ask for a copy of this report from the agency handling your insurance claim or any local law enforcement agency. It’s a good idea to keep the original and give copies to everyone involved: your insurance company, car insurance company, and the defendant.
Although it’s not common, there are instances where an officer may not respond to an accident scene. Maybe there was no law broken, or the incident isn’t severe enough to warrant officer presence. Nevertheless, if this does happen, you will want to get to the closest police station as soon as possible after an accident.
If, for some reason, the officer who handles your case is distracted or not available, you will be required to take the defendant to the station yourself. You must maintain a professional demeanor at all times. If you don’t file a police report, your chances of getting paid for an accident will significantly decrease.
The police report can include witness statements, sketches of the accident scene, photographs, written statements made by the parties involved, and other important information proving liability in an accident.
Collect and Examine Physical Evidence
In the event of an accident, it is helpful to have objective evidence to avoid the potentially biased assertions of the parties involved. This evidence may be found in the damage done to both vehicles and any marks left by wheel and tire impressions on the road.
This evidence often becomes significant when combined with testimony from witnesses. Document the damage to the vehicles before repairs are done. Take pictures of the scene and note down relevant information about how the accident happened, especially if there are multiple vehicles.
Some damages to a vehicle speak volumes about how an accident occurred. For example, if you have front-end damage on your vehicle and back-end damage on the other, you can deduce that the accident probably happened as a rear-end collision. While this evidence alone will not prove that you were rear-ended, it certainly helps give the court some insight into what happened.
Additionally, if you have front-end damage to your vehicle and no back-end damage (or only partial back-end damage), this tells the court that something else caused your car to stop suddenly (i.e., you hit your brakes).
The purpose of accident reports is to gather information about the incident or accident for both parties to be compensated. This process can be complicated if there are no witnesses. If there are already witnesses at the scene, asking them to elaborate on what they have observed can help you better understand the situation, which could be a foundation for building your accident story.
Take pictures of the crash site and any vehicles involved. Make sure the pictures illustrate the point of impact and damage to your car, as well as any skid marks, debris in the road, and any relevant traffic signs. Photographs help establish a timeline of events and show the condition of traffic signs and road conditions at the site.
Seek Professional Guidance from Seasoned Personal Injury and Accident Attorneys at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm
As lawyers from a reputable Atlanta car accident law firm, we have a thorough understanding of what it takes for a claim to be proven. If you have been in an accident that was somebody’s fault, many people think they can call the police and their insurance company and start getting what they need from the settlement. However, it doesn’t always work that way, which is why you should hire a lawyer.
Proving fault in a car accident case is critical. With today’s high standards of proof, a judge or jury cannot find that a defendant is at fault unless the plaintiff presents a compelling argument that the defendant’s actions more likely than not caused a collision and damages. Our attorneys at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm can help you meet the burden of proof through clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fault. We’ll walk you through all the steps it takes to obtain compensation while you concentrate on recovery.
We will not only prove negligence, but they will pursue your claim to ensure you’re compensated for your injuries. Our injury and accident attorneys will do everything possible to ensure you receive a high amount of settlement money so you can continue to live your everyday life. We pride ourselves on providing prompt and professional service. Put our experience to work for your legal issues! Fill this online form or call us at (833) 254-2923 and get in touch with us today.