whos at fault in a car accident

A car hits another car. Or possibly, a car hits a motorcyclist, pedestrian, or bicyclist. Who’s at fault in a car accident? Determining fault after a car crash can be simple, or it can be a tricky thing. When multiple vehicles are involved, it can be even more challenging to determine who is liable and to what extent. On February 11, 2021, a 16-vehicle pileup on I-75 involved 9 passenger vehicles and 7 commercial vehicles. It may be obvious that a car in the middle simply could not have avoided being struck or pushed into other vehicles. But which drivers are liable, how are percentages of liability distributed to various drivers? 

Thousands of people are injured or killed in Georgia traffic accidents each year. The question of determining fault often comes up in an initial conversation with an Atlanta car accident attorney. The Graham Firm represents individuals in all types of traffic accidents caused by other negligent drivers, defective vehicle parts, and defective road design. For nearly 20 years, we’ve fought for the rights of our clients, recovering millions for victims of car accidents and other traffic collisions. When we meet with people for a free case evaluation, we are often asked about fault, and how it relates to the potential value of a claim. 

 

How Is Fault Determined In A Car Accident? 

Fault can be determined in several ways. Occasionally, a driver will make an admission that they didn’t see a traffic signal or were distracted by a cell phone. (Note: You should never, under any circumstance, make an admission of total or partial fault at the scene of a crash). Usually, police or the highway patrol will respond to the accident and take a report. Fault could be decided in the law enforcement report, or it may be later decided by an insurance adjuster, or even later by a judge or jury. 

In some cases, fault may be undetermined in the police report and only decided after an independent investigation coordinated by a personal injury attorney. This happens often when a roadway design defect or vehicle manufacturing defect contributes to loss of control of a vehicle. 

 

How To Prove You Are Not At Fault In A Car Accident 

What is a no-fault car accident? 

The term “no-fault car accident” refers to the way some states handle car accident insurance claims. “No-fault” is a bit of a misnomer, as a collision can still go on drivers’ DMV record if a driver causes it. In the U.S., 12 states are no-fault states: Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Hawaii, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Utah. In these states, a driver’s own insurance provider pays their claims regardless of who was at fault. Drivers are allowed to sue only if their injuries meet a certain severity threshold. The definition of this threshold varies by state and may depend on monetary damages or a doctor’s determination. 

What is an at-fault car accident? 

Georgia is considered an “at-fault state.” If you’re in a car accident and at least 51% of fault can be placed on another driver, you can file a claim for damages against the other driver’s insurance policy.

 

how is fault determined in a car accident

 

What to Do After a Car Accident

Being involved in a car accident is always unexpected and often shocking. It is natural to be overwhelmed and stressed, especially if you have never been involved in a collision. However, the actions you take after an accident can determine the outcome of your personal injury claim. 

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  • Stop. Stop and remain at the scene of the accident. This is required by Georgia law.
  • If at all possible, get yourself and your vehicle off the road so you are out of danger. 
  • Obtain names and contact information for other parties and witnesses. You should also take down the license plate and vehicle information, registration, insurance, and driver’s license information. 
  • Do not decline medical attention at the accident scene. Even if you do not take an ambulance, go to the emergency room or urgent care if you feel any pain. If you do not go to the doctor and later claim a serious injury, the insurance company will question why you did not seek prompt medical care. 
  • Report the accident to your insurance company (as required by your policy). Do not speculate on fault, provide a recorded statement, or agree to a quick settlement. 
  • Do not post about your accident, injuries, or daily activities on social media. Accident victims are well-advised to stay off social media entirely until a personal injury claim is resolved. 
  • Contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. 

The lawyer you choose to represent you may be one of the most important decisions you make after a serious injury. 

 

How Can The Graham Firm Car Accident Lawyers Help?

After you've determined who's at fault in a car accident The Graham Firm can help you protect your legal rights and recover the full and fair compensation you are entitled to following a car accident caused by someone else's negligence. When you hire us to represent you after a car accident in Atlanta and surrounding areas, we will handle all aspects of your case from start to finish. Under our contingency fee agreement, we will not charge any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you. Contact us today to speak with an attorney (404) 526-9955.