Is Georgia a Comparative Negligence State?
Georgia is a comparative negligence state (otherwise known as comparative fault), meaning multiple parties may be partially responsible for causing a car accident. The state has a slightly modified understanding of comparative negligence law in that you cannot recover damages if you are more than 49% responsible for the accident and its resulting injuries.
Fault for an accident is determined by insurance companies and their insurance adjusters, who arrive at the scene of the crash to survey the damage. It’s in their interests to place the blame on your shoulders so that the insurance claim costs them less money. For this reason, one must never admit fault either to the other driver, the eyewitnesses, or the insurance adjuster, as this can be used against you later on.
The more evidence you and your car accident attorney present to back up your claim as the victim in the crash, the better chance you have of limiting your exposure to liability. At the end of the day, it is about proving negligence. The more negligent or reckless you look to the insurance company and the judge overseeing your case, the less your potential settlement is going to be. That’s why it’s vital that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible so that you may begin crafting your legal case right away.
What Are Considered Negligent Driving Behaviors?
Seemingly countless examples of reckless driving behavior could be considered evidence of negligence in a car accident or personal injury case.
Common negligent driving behaviors include:
- Aggressive driving.
- Distracted driving includes eating, grooming, drinking, or talking to car passengers while driving.
- Driver fatigue.
- Driving under the influence of drugs.
- Drunk driving.
- Failure to use turn signals.
- Failure to yield.
- Running stop signs and red lights.
- Texting while driving.
- Violating right-of-way laws and driving on the wrong side of the road.
If the other driver was clearly driving recklessly, proving fault in a car accident case may be easier than not.
How to Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
Fault for an accident resides in a few key factors: did the motorist drive recklessly, did they ignore the rules of the road, and did their conduct cause personal injury or property damage? If so, your attorney may be able to build a case that the at-fault driver is responsible for damages and can be sued for compensation.
In order to prove fault – and to prove that the fault does not rest with you – your lawyer may consider these strategies…
Never Admit Fault at the Scene of the Accident
In an effort to calm a situation or make ourselves small, we have a tendency to apologize for accidents or over-explain things. We might even claim that we’re unhurt when actually the opposite is true.
Resist these impulses.
If you so much as say ‘sorry’ to the other driver, any eyewitnesses at the crash scene, or the insurance company, that could be taken as an admission of guilt in your car accident case. By all means, make sure that the other drivers and their passengers are okay, but don’t take the blame for anything at the crash site. Hold your tongue until you speak with your lawyer.
Report the Car Collision to Law Enforcement and Seek Medical Care
Car accidents are the second leading cause of injury deaths in Georgia. Even if you feel fine, you should seek medical attention.
Contact the police as well. Their report will count as valuable evidence in the case later on.
You can begin building your legal case almost right away. While you wait for law enforcement to arrive, begin gathering evidence. Take pictures of the damaged vehicles, your injuries, and the road conditions. Speak with eyewitnesses and record their fresh testimonies if possible.
When your lawyer begins to build your case, they will use this information to help bolster their own evidence, including looking at security cameras, seeking testimony from expert witnesses, and getting ‘black box’ data from the wreck. The more evidence, the better.
Is it Important to Hire Car Accident Lawyers?
If you wish to limit your chances of paying the other driver a high financial settlement and maximize your chances of recovering compensation, it’s crucial that you consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately following your accident. With your lawyer’s help, you may be able to seek maximum compensation for damages and recover financial losses for medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Proving fault in a car accident case is no simple matter. But if you start building your case quickly, you stand a better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Today
Go Big Injury Law is dedicated to representing the rights of injured victims in Columbus, Georgia. As your legal representatives, we will strive to prove that fault rests with the other party. With a well-constructed legal case, you could recover the compensation needed to get back on your feet again following a frightening motor vehicle accident.
Our law firm offers a free consultation to all prospective new clients. Just give us a call and we’ll provide you with legal options for where to go with your case. And remember, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means if we don’t win, you don’t pay.
Call (800) 777-777 when you’re in trouble, and we’ll take care of the rest.