What Happens In Vehicle Accidents in an At-Fault State?

Georgia ranks 5th for car accidents in the US. 10.5% of drivers have an at-fault accident on record, which is 20% higher than the nationwide average.

If you’ve recently been in an auto crash in the Peach State, you may be wondering what happens post-collision in an at-fault state. Read on to learn about the coming steps and how to get the compensation you deserve.

The Basics of No-Fault States

There are two basic types of states when it comes to auto accident results: no-fault states and at-fault states.

In a no-fault state, each driver’s respective insurance will pay for their own injuries after a collision. This is true regardless of who caused the accident. While fault does exist insofar as the person who caused the accident will need to pay for property damage, everyone is medically covered by their own insurance.

Only 12 US states are no-fault states.

What Is an At-Fault State?

The remaining 38 states are at-fault states. At-fault states are also called “tort states.” Georgia is included among these ranks.

In an at-fault state, the driver who caused the crash is responsible for compensating the other driver for all losses. These losses include medical bills.

Usually, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the damages. This is covered under the “property damage liability” and “bodily injury liability” section of a car insurance policy. However, if they’re not fully covered by the insurance, the driver may need to pay the other party out of pocket.

Comparative Fault

Georgia also recognizes comparative fault. This means that one driver isn’t often deemed as completely responsible for a collision. Instead, both drivers bear a percentage of the fault.

For example, consider an accident in which one party blew a stop sign and the other failed to look for oncoming vehicles. The legal system may recognize the former individual as being 80% at fault but also say that the latter bears the remaining 20%.

In another collision, perhaps one vehicle rear-ended another while not paying close attention. However, if the person who was hit was coming to jerky stops, they may also bear some blame. Perhaps a court would split fault 60/40 here.

In both of these situations, one driver is more at fault than the other. This driver will be responsible for paying the other driver’s medical bills post-collision. However, an at-fault driver who bears 60% of the fault will not be expected to pay as much as someone who was 80% at fault.

Basically, the more fault a driver bears, the more compensation they’ll be expected to give.

How Is Fault Determined?

An experienced car accident attorney will listen to the circumstances of your collision and help determine fault. We’ll investigate the situation to try to show that the other party bears the brunt of the fault after a collision. Some things we’ll look into include:

  • The location of the accident
  • What vehicles were involved
  • The weather conditions during the collision
  • Road situations (like construction or poor paving)
  • The behavior of both drivers (whether someone was texting/distracted, drunk driving, speeding, not paying attention, or not following road signage and laws)

This happens via a thorough investigation of the following:

  • Police reports that both parties filed
  • Photos of your injuries (and the other drivers’, if available)
  • Photos of both vehicles post-collision
  • Security or roadside footage
  • Eyewitness reports

The goal is to determine that the other driver bears a higher percentage of fault. You likely will bear a percentage in a comparative fault scenario because it’s rarely a 100/0 split. Your attorney will aim to show that the other driver has the highest percentage possible ascribed to them so that you can get as much compensation as possible.

How Can a Georgia Attorney Help You?

In addition to acquiring all the information to help determine that the other driver was at fault, a top-notch attorney will also help you determine how much compensation you can get.

Most drivers can get compensation for their medical bills from the at-fault party. How much depends not only on fault percentages but also on the initial costs of treatment. A lawyer will help you quickly get access to medical records and bills, assess them, and give you a ballpark sum of what to expect.

Attorneys will also look at reports of lost wages and pay stubs to determine how much money you lost due to injuries. You may be able to collect damages to cover the time you had to take off work.

Vehicle repair bills will also help them figure out whether you can get compensation for property damage. In an at-fault car accident, the other driver’s insurance should pay for these repairs.

Beyond Collecting Evidence

Communication is incredibly important during any legal process, and getting post-accident compensation is no exception. They’ll let you know what courts are saying about fault as more evidence comes to light. You’ll have a clear picture of fault percentages quickly so that you know what to expect.

Your lawyer will give you an honest and unbiased estimate of how much compensation they think you can get.

They’ll then negotiate with both your insurance company and the other drivers’ to help you get as much money as possible. Since quality attorneys have talked with insurance agents hundreds of times, they’ll know how to get you the most damages possible.

Lawyers also will keep you in the loop throughout the litigation process via phone, email, and meetings. This will ensure that you consistently know what to expect, how much the at-fault party will pay, and whether there’s anything you can do to increase your projected winnings.

Get Compensation After an Accident

Now that you know what happens after an accident in an at-fault state, it’s time to begin your path toward getting the compensation you deserve. The top Georgia collision attorneys can help you prove fault so that the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay your medical bills, lost wages, and more.

Our team is committed to applying our 25+ years of experience to help you collect damages. Contact Scholle Law to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can provide results-driven legal counsel and services to drivers like you.