Law enforcement officials often have to make a quick decision regarding the designation of fault after a motor vehicle collision. They will write up a police report at the scene of the crash after looking at the physical evidence and hearing testimony from the individuals involved in the crash itself and other witnesses to the collision and events leading up to it.
Sometimes, officers can miss important details in that initial stage or include assertions by one party that can impact the rights of the other. Someone facing financial consequences for a crash they caused could also attempt to show that the other party was partially or even fully responsible for the crash that occurred.
If you have already received a partial apportionment of responsibility for the crash or if you believe that the other party may attempt to blame you in court, it’s important to understand how Georgia views comparative fault or contributory negligence when it comes to personal injury claims.
Mistakes you could make that increase your liability
Perhaps the other driver looked down at their phone and crashed into you, but you were speeding or you failed to use your turn signal to indicate your intentions. Maybe the other driver pulled out in an aggressive left-hand turn, but your bald tires impacted your ability to stop.
If there is evidence of negligence, poor decision-making or inadequate maintenance on your part that impacted the outcome of the crash, that could result in the police, insurance companies or courts allocating a portion of responsibility for the crash to you, which they often call comparative fault or contributory negligence.
The amount of fault you carry will impact the compensation you receive
The circumstances that lead to crashes can be complicated. While one party may be primarily responsible, the other party may have contributed to the crash through mistakes of their own. The courts will determine what percentage of fault each party has after a crash.
The higher your percentage of fault in a situation, the less likely you will be to have a claim for compensation. Generally speaking, if your level of fault is 50% or higher, you cannot take action against anyone else involved in the wreck. However, if the courts declare you 49% responsible or less, you still have the right to pursue compensation. Still, the courts will reduce the final amount of compensation you received according to the amount of responsibility you had for the collision.