You may have heard of some states being referred to as “fault” or “no-fault” states. These titles refer to who absorbs most of the fault and any damages insurance companies will cover when accidents occur in that state. Georgia is considered a “fault state,” meaning that the person at fault for the accident is responsible for the damages. What if more than one person was at fault for an accident? Read below to learn more.
What is Comparative Fault?
Comparative fault occurs when more than one person is at fault for an accident. If more than one party is found to have caused the accident, both parties can recover damages from anyone with more responsibility for the accident than they have.
For example, perhaps two people were involved in an accident. Car A is found to be 30% at fault, and Car B is found to be 70% at fault. Once these percentages are determined through research and accident recreation, these percentages are used to determine how any damages awarded will be dispersed.
In our example, Car A could pursue damages from Car B, but their compensation would be lessened by 30% of the total damages as they were found to be 30% at fault. If the total damages awarded were $10,000, instead of Car A recovering the total amount, it would be reduced to $7,000.
It is important to note that if you are found more than 50% at fault for an accident, you typically won’t be able to recover damages. As you can imagine, the percentages of fault become less black and white when multiple cars are involved in an accident.
How is Fault Determined?
There are several ways to help determine what led up to an accident and who is at fault. The problem is, with the frequency of accidents and the short length of time it takes to get into one, it can be challenging to determine what happened. Eyewitnesses aren’t always accurate, details get forgotten or misrepresented, and emotions are sometimes high after an accident.
To combat this, all of the facts must be established. Accident recreation can help determine fault. Experts can research based on where the damage occurred on the vehicles, determine an estimate of speeds involved by each vehicle based on impact, what laws may have been broken based on the location of the accident, and more.
Collectively with research, police reports, any eyewitness or video/picture evidence, and damages that occurred, fault can be established.
What Types of Damages can be Compensated in Georgia?
Any necessary medical treatment for accident injuries can be covered in Georgia. This includes the immediate exam and any treatment needed and can also include pain and suffering due to the accident.
Another important aspect is the loss of wages that occurs after an accident. You may be temporarily unable to work, at least during your initial medical exam. Missing a few hours may not add up, but if significant injuries are involved, missed wages can add up quickly. Other medical appointments and physical therapy or other necessary therapy can be included. You may also be unable to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident.
These aspects will factor into the number of damages pursued in a car accident case.
What is a Common Mistake People Make After an Accident?
Accidents happen every hour of every day. You may not know what to expect if you haven’t been in one or a significant one. One common mistake that too many people make is settling with the insurance company or an attorney representing the other parties before consulting your own attorney.
Remember, an insurance company or an attorney representing the other party doesn’t have your best interest at heart, and they are protecting their client. Having someone on your side is crucial to protect you, help you negotiate settlement offers, and have your best interest at heart.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Even if you are partially at fault for an accident, as long as you are not found to be more than 49% at fault, you can likely pursue damages. An experienced attorney can help ensure that responsibility is established accurately for all parties involved.
An inaccurate representation may make you more at fault than the facts present, decreasing your chances of recovering damages. Years of working with clients give experienced lawyers the edge necessary to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Trained lawyers can help you assemble all the facts by gathering eyewitness information, video surveillance, facts regarding weather conditions or street conditions, and more to ensure the whole picture is presented accurately.
Lawyers will also work with medical staff to ensure that your injuries and respective treatment are documented accurately so they can be reflected in the damages requested.
Trusted lawyers can also handle negotiations with insurance companies, ensuring that you get the full extent of damages that are rightfully yours and more.
As mentioned above, it is an easy mistake to make in haste to resolve the situation after an accident and get back to your life. But if you take your time, consult professional legal guidance, and gather all the facts, you will likely put yourself in a much better situation to return to life as you knew before the accident without facing financial distress.
Contact our office today at (706) 954-6745 to get more information and learn how we can best assist you.