There is a myth that the driver behind a vehicle is always at fault for a rear-end accident. While that is often the case, there are exceptions. If you have been involved in an accident, find out if you are at fault or if you can sue for damages.
The Concept of Negligence — The Key to Proving Fault
When you drive a vehicle, you must follow the established standard of care. The concept is based on what a reasonable person would do to avoid an accident.
Drivers follow the established standard of care by paying attention to the road, looking for hazards, stopping at a reasonable time, and driving the proper speed. This includes adjusting the speed based on road conditions, such as wet pavement. Yielding the right of way, using turn signals, and following at a safe distance are also part of the established standard of care.
Typically, when someone hits another person from behind, he or she has failed to follow the established standard of care. This is usually due to following too closely and not yielding in time.
That isn’t always the case, though.
When Is the Driver in Front at Fault?
The driver in front can be found negligent for a variety of reasons. For instance, if the driver reverses suddenly and causes an accident, he or she will be at fault. The same is true if the driver comes to a sudden stop or fails to move out of the way and put on hazard lights after experiencing a flat tire. Also, if the driver’s brake lights are not in working order, he or she can be deemed negligent.
These are just some examples. If you are unsure if a driver is negligent, contact an attorney for help.
What if Both Drivers Are at Fault?
Sometimes, both drivers are at fault during an auto accident. This is called comparative negligence. Some states that have comparative negligence do not allow people to recover damages if they are 1 percent responsible for the accident. However, Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence law with the bar set at 50 percent.
If both parties share 50 percent of the responsibility for the accident, neither person can recover damages. However, if one person is less than 50 percent at fault, he or she can sue for damages. This is true even if one person is 51 percent responsible and the other is 49 percent responsible. The driver who holds 49 percent of the responsibility is eligible for damages.
How Much Can You Recover?
The amount you can recover depends on how much of the fault you share. Damages are reduced based on the percentage of fault. If you are 30 percent at fault for the accident, the amount of damages you can recover is reduced by 30 percent. However, if you are not at fault, your damages are not reduced.
Because Georgia is a comparative negligence state, establishing fault is critical. You cannot simply say that someone else was at fault. You must prove it.
A car accident attorney can investigate the matter for you. This includes gathering police reports, speaking to eyewitnesses, and teaming up with expert witnesses.
Get Help from an Accident Attorney
If you want to recover damages from an auto accident, an attorney can help. An attorney from Butler Law can investigate your case and work to establish fault for the other driver. Our team builds cases to go to court to maximize the damages, and we are ready to fight for you.