Fault in a car accident is determined by who acted negligently. Examples could include:
- A motorist who did not obey traffic laws.
- A government entity that did not maintain roadways.
- An employee of the city who was driving a bus, train, or another vehicle.
Fault could also rest with a parts manufacturer that produced a defective vehicle or vehicular component. The evidence in your case will determine fault and liability for your expenses.
Understand What Constitutes Negligence in a Car Accident
Determining fault in an accident comes down to negligence. In an accident, it’s rare that a driver intentionally causes a wreck. However, whether a driver meant to cause an accident or not, they can still be at fault if evidence shows they were negligent.
Negligence is failing to do something that a reasonable person would do in the same situation. So, for instance, suppose traffic was congested on a stretch of highway. A reasonable motorist would obey the speed limit, yield to the right-of-way, and use their turn signal.
A negligent motorist, however, might weave in and out of traffic, speed, or tailgate others. If the negligent motorist causes a crash, they can be held accountable for the victim’s expenses.
How do You Determine Negligence
There are four conditions that determine negligence. To seek damages, you must prove:
- The other party owed you a duty of care, meaning they had an obligation to drive responsibly.
- The other party failed to uphold this obligation.
- You were injured due to their actions or omission.
- You have incurred injury-related losses, like medical bills, lost income, and property damage expenses.
An accident attorney can demonstrate negligence.
Georgia Operates on Comparative Negligence Laws
After an accident, a portion of fault is ascribed to each party involved. O.C.G.A. § 51-12-33 states that you may receive compensation for damages even if you were partially at fault. However, you cannot be more than 50 percent at fault. In this case, you cannot recover compensation.
For example, if you were involved in an accident where your damages cost $100,000, but you were found to be 10 percent at fault, you could only recover $90,000.
Therefore, the money you receive will be reduced by the percentage of fault ascribed to you in the accident. There are many instances where more than one driver was partly at fault. In those instances, fault will be divided amongst those involved.
What Information Can Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
The evidence in your car accident case could prove who acted negligently. Some specific pieces of information could include:
The Police Report
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-273 says that for most serious car accidents, you need to notify law enforcement. They will file a report detailing the facts of your collision. You can also expect the following:
- The police will document the scene, talk to witnesses, and address any traffic violations that led to the accident. All of this information will be included in the police report.
- The officer can also provide an opinion regarding who is at fault. They factor in the time of day, weather conditions, the direction of traffic, and the angles of impact in their decision.
- The police can also use this information to issue a citation to the driver (or drivers) who caused the collision.
The details of the police report do not automatically make another party financially responsible for your losses. It can, however, prove invaluable when demonstrating negligence.
Your Own Documentation
If you’re able, take your own notes immediately following an accident. Your documentation can benefit your case more than you think. You should also:
- Take photos.
- Draw sketches that show the location of the vehicles, traffic lights, or any other critical factors that contributed to the accident.
- Let police officers do their jobs while they’re at the scene, but you’re free to document the facts about the situation on your own, too.
- Make notes about the accident scene, the other driver, and your damages.
If you are unable to do these things, our personal injury team can do them for you.
Traffic Camera Footage
Many public roads are equipped with traffic surveillance cameras. Your accident could have been recorded and detail:
- Inclement weather conditions
- The parties involved
- The license plate numbers of the involved vehicles
- What exactly caused your accident
- The moments before, during, and after the collision
While you may not have access to the footage, your lawyer might. They can use this evidence to demonstrate who is at fault in your car accident.
How will the Insurance Company Determine Fault for Your Collision?
Once you file your claim, the liable insurance company assigns an adjuster to the matter. The adjuster will:
- Use the police report to conduct their investigation
- Speak with witnesses, examine the damage on all vehicles, and review medical statements
- Verify details about the involved insurance policies
After they’ve gathered information and completed the investigation, the adjuster will determine who is at fault in the accident. However, their determination may not be correct. This is where a lawyer from our firm can step in and help you. We want you to get the settlement you deserve.
Call Our Firm to Learn More About Your Case’s Potential
While law enforcement officials and claims adjusters work to determine fault for accidents, having a lawyer on your side could be beneficial. Our firm will do everything we can to advance your claim and fight for fair compensation. Call Bader Scott Injury Lawyers at (404) 888-8888 to learn more about how we determine fault in car accident cases.