Can You Sue If You Were Partly at Fault for Your Car Accident?

Car accidents are very rarely clear-cut and easy to investigate. The cases when only one driver bears 100% of the fault are almost nonexistent. This is why many accident victims are thinking twice about contacting a Union City car accident lawyer and filing an insurance claim.

They believe that, since they were partly at fault for their car accident, they do not have the right to seek damages. This is one of the many personal injury myths that insurance companies love to keep alive. An insurance adjuster will also tell you this lie if they realize that you do not have a lawyer.

Why? The reason is that insurers value their profits more than they value their duty. If one of their clients causes a car accident through negligence, they should pay the victim’s economic and non-economic damages, up to the coverage limit. In reality, you will need an experienced Union City car accident lawyer to win what is rightly yours.

Understanding Georgia Law on Contributory Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Like the majority of US states, Georgia applies an at-fault principle of recovery in personal injury cases. Thus, anyone who suffered economic damages in an accident will recover these damages from the at-fault party and their insurer. By contrast, in no-fault states, each party recovers damages from their own insurance company.

Therefore, in our state, the percentage of fault of all parties involved in an accident must be calculated, according to the Official Code of Georgia 51-12-33. This is necessary to determine who is liable and who has the right to seek compensation.

Our state uses a modified comparative fault principle to determine who is eligible to file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit. You must be less than 50% at fault for your accident.

Why It Is Essential to Have Your Percentage of Fault Accurately Determined?

Now, when an insurance adjuster cannot persuade you to give up the idea of filing a claim, they will move to a new tactic. They will try to make you appear more at fault than you really are.

On one hand, if they say that you were 50% at fault, you are no longer eligible to file the claim. On the other hand, even if you are eligible to seek damages, their total value will be reduced by your percentage of fault. Thus, it is in the adjuster’s interests to increase your percentage of fault as much as possible.

To give a simple example, if your damages are $20,000 and you are 10% at fault, you stand to collect $18,000. However, if you are 40% at fault, you may collect only $12,000.

An Experienced Lawyer Can Determine a Fair Percentage of Fault

On your own, you will find it nearly impossible to build a case and persuade the insurance adjuster that you are right. You will likely spend weeks in the hospital and then you will have to focus on rehabilitation therapies.

Also, even if the Official Code of Georgia is available on the internet, you do not know which sections apply to your case and how to argue their applicability. You are at the insurance adjuster’s mercy and they have no compassion for your pain, suffering, and economic losses.

Concept image for Union City car accident lawyer

A seasoned Union City car accident lawyer knows exactly what arguments to use and how to rely on available evidence. Over the years, we gained valuable insight into how insurance companies work and what tactics they use to deny or devalue claims.

In order to prove your case, the lawyer will take the following steps.

1. Investigate the Circumstances of the Accident

The police report, photos and videos, and witness testimonies are very valuable for a lawyer. They allow them to understand how the accident happened. This is crucial in determining the greater proportion of fault.

For instance, a driver who was driving just slightly above the limit has a lower percentage of fault than a driver who ran a red light. There are also cases, in which one driver is clearly more at fault than the other:

  • Rear-end collision
  • Left turn collisions
  • Reversing collision.

2. Look at the Other Driver’s BAC Test

Another instance when the other driver is more at fault than you is when they were driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. This is one of the so-called no-doubt liability cases.

A Union City car accident lawyer can obtain the breathalyzer and blood test results, indicating that their BAC was above the legal limit.

3. Obtain the Driver’s Driving History 

A driver who causes a car accident due to speeding, reckless driving, or aggressive driving is usually not at their first offense. A lawyer can obtain their driving history, and note that it is full of other traffic violations.

While this is circumstantial evidence, it indicates a habit of breaching the duty of care towards other users of the road, be they drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists.

4. Subpoena the Driver’s Mobile Phone Log

Texting and driving is illegal in Georgia. It also happens to be the most common form of distracted driving. Of course, the other driver will deny that they were using the phone at the moment of the collision.

They believe that you cannot prove otherwise. However, a Union City car accident lawyer can and will obtain their log from the mobile carrier. This log contains their entire activity on the phone – including the text they sent at the exact time of the crash.

Bring Your Case to a Dedicated Union City Car Accident Lawyer!

For Gilbert Sperling, III, P.C., each and every client is important. When it comes to determining fault, insurance companies will always try to protect their profits, to the detriment of truth and fairness. This is why you need an experienced Union City car accident lawyer to fight for your rights.

You are not able to negotiate with an adjuster from the hospital bed. In fact, all you should do is rest, keep a positive attitude, and focus on your recovery. Leave the rest to Gilbert Sperling, III, who will win your fair settlement amount.

The first step is to schedule a free case review with us and bring as much evidence as you can so that we can evaluate the merit of your case. If you have a valid claim, we will fight to win you the maximum compensation.