One of the first things that you must determine after a Georgia auto wreck is who was at fault. While you may think of yourself as a perfect driver, you might end up in a situation where you’re partially responsible. Accidents often have multiple contributing factors. Maybe you were speeding, or you didn’t slow down on approaching an intersection. Maybe you took your eyes off the road to take a phone call. If you got struck by an oncoming car, you would have to share some of the blame.
When this happens, you may wonder if you can still claim compensation for injuries and property damage. Luckily, you live in a state where you can recover damages even if you’re somewhat at fault. However, under Georgia’s comparative negligence laws, your degree of fault affects how much compensation you can get.
If you suffered injuries in a car accident caused primarily by another driver, you need to contact an attorney. Even though you were partly at fault for the crash, you may still be entitled to seek compensation. Before you assume that you’ll have to foot the resulting expenses alone, get an auto wreck attorney in Albany, Georgia to discuss your legal options.
Comparative Negligence Explained
Georgia’s car accident laws state that you can recover damages as long as you are no more than 49 percent at fault. If a jury finds you to be 50 percent or more responsible, you won’t be able to claim compensation. You can expect the other driver’s insurance company to claim you had a bigger role to play than their policyholder. This means you will need a skilled attorney to prove that your contribution to the accident was less than 50 percent. They will have to collect and present evidence to reduce any fault on your part.
It is important to note that even though you can recover damages, you won’t collect the full amount. Based on O.C.G.A. §51-12-33(a), the judge will reduce the amount in proportion to your percentage of fault. Let’s say you were awarded $10,000 in damages but you were 40 percent responsible for the accident. You would only be able to recover 60 percent of that $10,000 or $6,000. To ensure that you get the maximum amount of compensation, you’ll need to hire a Georgia car accident lawyer.
How the Percentage of Fault is Determined?
Determining who was most at fault for a car accident can be complex. Each party will have to present evidence to support their position. Your attorney will look for every possible method of proving that you were less responsible than the other driver. Since just one percentage point can affect whether you get compensation or not, every detail is important. Evidence can take several forms including written evidence, eyewitness and expert witness testimony, video evidence, and depositions.
One of the most important pieces of written evidence is the official crash report. That’s why you need to call the emergency services to the scene if you get involved in an accident. The police, sheriff’s department or Georgia State Patrol will respond. The insurance company will need the report and it will also help you if you need to go to trial. The report may include the officers’ opinion on what caused the accident along with reports from others on the scene. You can collect the incident report from the relevant department, request it online or ask your lawyer to get it. Keep in mind that the document may not be ready until several days after the accident.
In addition, you may be able to draw on witnesses to support your account of events. Eyewitnesses may have seen the accident occur while expert witnesses may be able to reconstruct the scene. The latter can testify to the likelihood that one party was more at fault than the other. Your attorney may seek out engineers, vehicle experts or accident scene reconstruction professionals depending on the nature of the crash.
Contact the Georgia Auto Wreck Attorneys at Joe Durham Jr. P.C. for Assistance
Our auto wreck law firm in Albany, Georgia has knowledgeable attorneys who will review your case and provide you with solid legal advice. Our team will assist you even if you were partly at fault for your car accident. We will do everything we can within the law to prove that most of the blame lies with the other driver. A lot goes into proving fault after a car accident so you may have a good chance of recovering damages. The sooner you contact us after your accident, the better it will be for you. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.