Determining who was at fault for an car accident is important, especially in a state like Georgia where the at-fault driver is responsible for paying for the damages of those who were injured.
Many people assume the responding police officer will determine who was at fault. In reality, determining fault can be more complicated. Both parties may be assigned a percentage of the fault under a system known a comparative liability.
When a responding police officer issues a traffic citation, then the person who committed a traffic violation will usually receive most or all of the fault. Examples of traffic violations include:
- Texting while driving
- Failure to stop at a traffic control device
- Driving under the influence
If one vehicle rear-ends another, then the driver at the rear is usually at fault, unless the driver in front:
- Stopped for no reason
- Was driving without brake lights, or
- Was driving without tail lights in low-light conditions
Police findings on fault are not the final word, however. The insurance company of the at-fault driver can choose to disagree with police findings. If both sides cannot agree on fault, ultimately a court may decide.
If you suffered a serious personal injury in an accident, you should seek legal advice before you say anything to the other driver's insurance company. Even an innocuous statement such as "I may have been going a few miles over the speed limit" or "I didn't look both ways before entering the intersection" could result in a percentage of the fault being assigned to you.
In Georgia, your financial recovery from a car accident will be reduced by any percentage of fault that is assigned to you. If you are more than 50 percent responsible, you cannot recover compensation from the other driver's insurance company.
Perrotta & Cahn, Attorneys at Law in Cartersville, Georgia, offers a free initial consultation to discuss fault in accidents involving personal injury.