Riverdale Car Accident: How Is Fault Determined?

If you’ve ever been involved in a Riverdale car accident, you know what typically happens after the crash. You point your finger at the other driver while they’re pointing their finger at you. Neither one of you wants to admit that you may have been at fault. In fact, even if you were at fault, you should never admit this in front of the other driver. 

At some point, when the police arrive to do their investigation, they will ask both drivers to give a statement. Whatever you do, do not admit to being at fault. It will be hard enough for your Riverdale car accident attorney to prove your case. The last thing you want to do is make their job even harder.

The truth is, very rarely is one driver 100% responsible for a Riverdale car accident. Even if the other driver was primarily responsible, odds are, you played a part as well. For example, imagine that someone smashes into the back of your car at a red light. As much as you want to blame them, you remember that your brake lights haven’t been working for weeks. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance that you’ll be found to be partially at fault. 

But again, this is something that a defendant’s attorney can prove on their own. You don’t want to offer this kind of information to anybody except for your Riverdale, Georgia personal injury lawyer.

Your Riverdale Car Accident Attorney Must Prove Negligence

In order to prove fault in Georgia, your Riverdale car accident attorney must prove negligence. Negligence simply means that the other driver didn’t behave the way they should have during the accident. For example, if the other driver was driving above the speed limit, they will be found to have been negligent. The same thing is true if the other driver was driving the wrong way on a one-way Street.

As far as proving negligence is concerned, your Riverdale, Georgia personal injury lawyer must prove the following four things:

  • The Defendant Owed You a Duty of Care

This isn’t hard to prove. All drivers owe a duty of care to other motorists on the road. At a minimum, all drivers must obey the traffic laws. In addition, they must use common sense.

  • The Defendant Breached This Duty

In order to collect damages, you’ll have to show that the other driver didn’t honor their duty of care. An easy way to do this is by submitting proof that the defendant was issued a ticket at the accident scene. Or you may have an eyewitness testify that they saw the other driver texting moments before the crash.

  • You Have Suffered an Injury

It is not enough that you’ve been involved in a Riverdale car accident. Your lawyer must be able to show that you suffered some sort of injury. This can be a physical injury, or it can be a financial injury.

  • Your Injury Was Caused by the Defendant’s Breach

This typically isn’t difficult to demonstrate. As long as the defendant’s lawyer can’t show that something other than the Riverdale car accident caused your injuries, you should be fine.

The Defendant Will Argue That You Caused the Riverdale Car Accident 

In most Riverdale car accident cases we handle, the other driver’s attorney tries to argue that our client was at fault. They figure if they can prove that you were even partially at fault, your damages will be reduced. This is because the state of Georgia follows something called the comparative negligence rule. This rule states that a plaintiff can still collect damages even if they were partially at fault. However, their damages will be reduced by their percentage of fault.

For example, imagine that you sued somebody for $200,000. The defendant’s lawyer can prove that you were driving 10 miles over the speed limit at the time of impact. However, you have strong evidence showing that the defendant was drunk at the time of the Riverdale car accident. Obviously, the evidence against the defendant is much stronger than any evidence against you. But under Georgia law, you may still be found partially at fault. In this example, you could perhaps be found to be 20% at fault for the crash. This means that your demand for $200,000 will be reduced to $160,000

Riverdale Georgia personal injury lawyer

What Happens if You’re Found Partially at Fault?

As mentioned above, if you’re found to be partly at fault for your Riverdale car accident, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. As we stated, Georgia follows the comparative fault rule. There are other states that prohibit a plaintiff from collecting damages if they’re even 1% at fault. Thankfully, Georgia is not one of these states.

Given the fact that your damages could be significantly reduced if you’re found to be partially at fault for your Riverdale car accident, it’s critically important that you tell your attorney the whole truth when you first meet. The last thing you want to happen is have your attorney be blindsided when the defendant submits proof that your brake lights were busted. It can be hard to explain issues like this away when your attorney doesn’t have a chance to prepare for them. This is why we always urge our clients to be upfront and honest from the first time they meet with us.

It Can’t Hurt to Meet with an Experienced Riverdale, Georgia Personal Injury Lawyer

One of the reasons many of our clients call our office is because they’ve had a hard time getting their insurance claim paid. If the insurance company denied your claim because they believe you were at fault, you will have a chance to file an appeal. However, your Riverdale, Georgia personal injury lawyer will have a hard time winning on appeal if they don’t have all the facts. You also have to keep in mind that it’s doubtful the insurance company will approve your claim after an appeal when they’re the ones who denied it in the first place.

This means that you’ll more than likely have to file legal action against the other driver. Our Riverdale car accident attorneys are more than willing to do this on your behalf. Just keep in mind, if you think you were in any way responsible for the crash you have to disclose this to your lawyer. The only way they can help you and fight to get you compensation you deserve as if they have all the information from the outset.

This is why we suggest that you contact a Riverdale car accident attorney as soon as possible after your accident. You can schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.