I Heard Georgia is a “Fault State”. What Does This Mean if I’m Injured in an Accident?
In some states, if a driver gets into an accident, their insurance company automatically covers their medical expenses and property damage. It does not matter who was responsible for the accident. Fittingly, this type of system is what we call a no-fault system. Twelve states operate in this way. However, in Georgia, someone involved in the accident has to be assigned blame. Multiple parties can share blame. The at-fault driver and/or their insurance company is responsible for paying the other party’s damages. This is what we mean by a fault state and most states in the US follow this system. An Atlanta car accident lawyer can provide more details.
Details on Georgia’s Fault System from an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
There is more than one type of fault system. Georgia operates on the basis of modified comparative fault. The assumption is that all parties involved in an accident were responsible in some way. Consequently, each driver is assigned a percentage of the blame and this affects the amount of damages they can claim.
This may sound like a fair system. However, one driver often ends up feeling like they got the short end of the stick. That’s because if you are found to be more than 50 percent at fault, you can’t claim compensation. The other driver’s insurance company will, therefore, work hard to prove that you were more at fault than their client. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer will have to mount an equally strident case in order for you to get more. This battle can be complex and time-consuming if neither side wants to admit to being more at fault. If the parties don’t reach an agreement, the matter will have to go to court.
Let’s say a speeding driver crashed into you. You may think they are completely at fault. However, if you did not signal that you intended to turn, you also contributed to the accident. The other driver’s insurance company will, therefore, determine the percentage by which you were at fault.
They will adjust their payout accordingly and it will be up to you and your Atlanta car accident lawyer to fight for more. The insurance company may determine that the other driver was only 60 percent at fault. You would be assigned 40 percent of the blame. If you were supposed to get $20, 000 in damages, the amount will be reduced by 40 percent. You would, therefore, only get $12, 000.
An Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer on What to Do if You Get Injured
Accidents resulting from injuries can be serious and expensive to treat. You may have to pay for medical tests, hospital stays, surgery, and rehabilitation. When you miss time from work, you will also lose out on wages. If the insurer reduces your compensation because you were deemed to be partly at fault, these expenses don’t go away. Since your damages can be reduced by as much as 49 percent, you may still be left with a hefty bill. Your Atlanta car accident lawyer should be able to help you look for additional avenues for compensation.
One option is Medical Payments Insurance if you have it. MedPay Insurance, as it is called, pays medical expenses for you and your passengers regardless of who was at fault. MedPay Insurance is not mandatory in Georgia but it can be very helpful in situations like this. You can also draw on your underinsured motorist coverage, if applicable, or your own health insurance.
If you receive injuries in an accident, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The next thing you should do in contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer. Even cases which seem straightforward can become complicated when insurance companies get involved. You will need an Atlanta car accident lawyer to bring legal experience and expertise to bear on your case. The other driver’s insurance company will be doing everything in their power to pay you as little as possible. They may not even want to pay you anything at all. However, your Atlanta car accident lawyer will fight for you and seek to get you the best outcome possible.
Contact an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer Today for Advice
Georgia’s fault system can be beneficial if you are the driver deemed to be less at fault. When most of the blame is assigned to you, you may not get the compensation you need to recover fully. However, you don’t have to accept the assessment of the other driver’s insurance company. Contact an Atlanta car accident lawyer for a consultation as soon as possible after your accident. At the Bethune Law Firm, we stand ready to advise you.