Can I Still Sue if I Was Partially Responsible in a Car Accident?

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A woman gets out of her car after rear-ending another car in a car accident.Yes, as long as you were less than 50 percent at fault. Georgia is one of many states that utilizes a modified comparative fault doctrine for personal injury cases such as car accidents.

Can You Get Compensation if the Accident Was Your Fault?

In a civil court case, a jury is asked to assign some percentage of fault to both parties. They can decide that one party is 100 percent at fault and the other 0 percent at fault, or they can choose any percentages in between that add up to 100. A party found to be less than 50 percent at fault can be awarded damages from the other party.

One final condition of this rule is that whatever percentage of fault the less-responsible party has will be deducted from their damages. For instance, if you were found to be 15 percent at fault, and you were awarded $10,000 in damages, you would receive only $8,500. But if you were 0 percent at fault, you would get all $10,000.

Comparative Fault in the Real World

When we explain comparative fault this way, it sounds simple, but in reality, car accident cases aren’t always simple. First, it’s helpful to understand that apportionment of fault is very subjective. Sometimes a jury will have a very different idea of each party’s share of fault than you do. Having an experienced attorney on your side to build a strong case can help reduce the risk of an unfavorable outcome, but sometimes juries are unpredictable.

The second thing to understand is that many car accident cases aren’t decided by a jury. Most of the time, we negotiate a settlement with the other driver’s insurance company outside of court. Going to trial can be expensive, time-consuming, and above all, stressful for the client. As attorneys, our job is to support our client’s best interests, so if we can secure an appropriate settlement without putting them through a trial, we make every effort to do that.

Beginning a Car Accident Claim

First, we discuss the details of the case with the client and estimate how much their damages are worth. It’s very common for accident victims to underestimate their damages – many people don’t consider future costs or include all expenses. We also assign a team of investigators to gather as much evidence as possible to support the client’s claim and show that the other driver was at least mostly at fault (more than 50 percent).

Next, we file a claim with the other driver’s insurance carrier. They may reject the claim or make a lower counteroffer. Insurance companies don’t want to pay claims, and when they do pay them, the insurance adjuster aims to pay as little as possible. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand why the insurance adjuster often insists that the injured party is at fault in the accident, or mostly at fault.

There is no jury at this point, so the insurance adjuster’s opinion of how much at fault you are is just that, an opinion. However, their client’s perceived level of fault will still affect the negotiations. For instance, once we give the insurance company an idea of how much evidence we have of their client’s responsibility in the accident, they may be more willing to negotiate a reasonable settlement. Yes, they could refuse to pay, and we could take the insurance company to court. But if the odds of the insurance company winning are low, it will still be expensive and time-consuming on their end, as well. Additionally, a jury might award the injured party a large amount of money, possibly more than the insurer would pay in a reasonable settlement. For this reason, we can often negotiate a deal that satisfies both parties.

Do You Have to Accept a Settlement?

No. This is entirely your decision. We will explain any offer the insurance company makes to you and answer whatever questions you have. If we believe the offer is too low to cover all your costs, we’ll tell you that, but it will ultimately be up to you to decide. We can continue to negotiate with the insurance carrier, but at a certain point, they will make their best offer and you’ll need to decide if you want to accept. If the insurance carrier is refusing to make a reasonable offer and you want to go to trial, we’re prepared to fight for your rights in court.

Other Considerations About Fault

While most car accident cases begin and end in negotiations with an insurance carrier, there are some less common situations to consider:

Your Claim is Worth More Than the Insurance Policy Limit

Georgia law requires that drivers carry $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage ($50,000 per accident) and $25,000 in property damage liability. If you get in an accident with someone who has this minimum coverage and you suffer severe injuries, your medical bills alone could be in the six figures – to say nothing of other damages like pain and suffering, lost income and earning potential, and more. Even if we have ample evidence that the other driver was 100 percent at fault, we can’t make the insurance carrier pay more than the policy limit.

Are you out of luck in this situation? Not necessarily. You can sue the other driver personally for the remaining damages. Once again, we can negotiate with the driver’s attorney and may be able to settle out of court, especially if you have a strong case and they might not fare well at the trial.

However, we sometimes run into situations where the other driver has no significant assets that we can seize upon winning a lawsuit. When this happens, it may not be worthwhile to spend time and money on a lawsuit, only to receive nothing because the driver can’t pay the judgment. Again, we don’t advise clients to do anything that isn’t in their best interest.

But we may be able to find other opportunities for recouping the remaining damages. In certain cases, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may pay some or all of the balance. If you have MedPay coverage, you can use this for some of your medical bills. Occasionally we may also be able to sue a third party whose negligence contributed to the accident or your injuries, even if they weren’t driving. For example, if your injuries were more severe than they should have been because your airbag failed to deploy during the accident, you might have a case against the airbag manufacturer.

The Other Driver Doesn’t Have Insurance

This is unfortunately a common problem in Georgia, where 12.4 percent of drivers are uninsured. Here your options are similar to those in cases where the policy limit is exceeded. We’ll consider whether a lawsuit against the other driver would yield any compensation, and if not, we’ll look at your own insurance coverage and potentially liable third parties.

Contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm Today

Because there are often possibilities that the injured party may not have thought of, we always encourage people to call us for a free consultation to learn their options. If there is a way to get you the compensation you deserve, we’ll find it. Your initial consultation is free, and we never charge any fees until we win or settle your case. Talk with one of our experienced car accident lawyers today at 833-254-2923.

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Frequently Asked Questions

After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!

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Help Negotiating with Insurance Carriers

To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.

Do You Have a Personal Injury Case?

The best way to determine if you have a personal injury case is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Our legal professionals have the expertise to evaluate your case and determine a strong legal strategy so that you can obtain the greatest amount of compensation possible under the law. We will enlist investigators, assistants, and other specialists to collect accident reports, speak with witnesses to your accident, and put together a plan. While you focus on your physical recovery, we will remain committed to fighting for the compensation that you deserve.

Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm

Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.

What to Expect From Your Initial Consultation With a Personal Injury Attorney?

During your initial consultation with CEO Lawyer team, we will go over the important details of your personal injury accident, which include the nature and extent of your injuries, how your injuries have impacted your ability to earn a paycheck, the cost of your medical treatment, and whether further medical treatment will be required. We will answer any questions you might have, as well, in regards to our experience, our track record of success, and what to expect from the legal process. Many personal injury victims wonder if they will be able to afford the legal fees required to pursue a lawsuit. CEO Lawyer injury and accident attorneys will not ask for any type of upfront fee unless we are successful in obtaining compensation for you. That means that if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall accident, defective product accident, or any other type of personal injury accident, you can absolutely afford to contact our law office today for assistance. In fact, you cannot afford to wait. Reach out today. We understand that some accident victims might have already obtained the assistance of an attorney but may be dissatisfied with the services provided. We are standing by and prepared to help you change legal representation, regardless of where you are in the process.

Speak to an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of personal injury accident, you should not hesitate to speak with the experienced attorneys at CEO Lawyer personal injury law firm. Call, email, or fill out our online contact form today so that we can begin helping you pursue the compensation you deserve.