To have a successful car accident injury claim in Georgia, the injured party must prove the negligence of the at-fault party. In other words, the other driver had to have been responsible for causing the accident.
Sometimes it is easy to prove which party is responsible for damages. Maybe the accident is a type known as “no doubt liability.” This means that in specific situations, certain drivers are almost always at fault. In a rear-end collision, for example, the driver of the car that rear-ends another vehicle is almost always considered to be at fault. Another example of this type of accident is a left turn wreck. Cars turning left, unless protected by a green arrow, are usually at fault when struck by a car who is driving straight from the other direction.
However, these situation are not without exception. For instance, in a rear-end accident, sometimes the car that is rear-ended pulled right in front of the car who hit them. Or, maybe the driver who was rear-ended failed to maintain the vehicle’s brake lights, so the car behind didn’t realize the driver was slowing or stopping. These things can contribute to “comparative negligence,” which means that both parties contributed fault to the accident.
When the facts of the accident are not so clear cut, however, there are a couple of questions to ask of the actions of the other driver to determine whether or not he or she was negligent. Was the other driver doing something they should not have been doing, such as speeding, or failing to stop at a red light? Or maybe they were not doing something they should have been doing, such as making sure the lane was clear before trying to merge, or yielding right of way to the other driver? If either of these situations apply to one of the drivers involved, it is very likely that driver was negligent in causing the collision.
Police reports are one of the most important tools to be used to prove negligence. Usually a police officer will note on the report who was at fault for the accident. Sometimes, the officer places both parties at fault. Other times, the officer does not assign fault because he or she doesn’t have enough information to determine who caused the collision. Either way, police reports are very valuable in determining the facts of the accident. Police reports are not always right, but they hold a lot of weight to a jury who trusts the expertise of the investigating officer.
If no police report is made, it is still possible to determine liability by investigating the facts of the accident. An insurance adjuster will analyze the damage done to both vehicles and weigh each driver’s side of the story to determine who was at fault. Of course, an insurance adjuster isn’t always going to make a fair determination of liability. This is why it’s important to have an attorney represent you, and never to give a recorded statement to the insurance company without your lawyer present.
If the parties involved cannot agree on who was at fault, it may be necessary for a jury to make that decision. A jury will hear testimony from both drivers and any witnesses who saw the accident to help make a liability determination.
Ty Wilson is a Lawrenceville car accident attorney. Visit tywilsonlaw.com to order Ty’s FREE BOOKS, watch his videos and to read his many informative articles BEFORE talking to the insurance adjuster, signing any kind of form, or even before hiring a lawyer.
If you have questions for an injury lawyer in Atlanta today, give Ty a call at 1-866-937-5454.