When a new client comes into the office to discuss their car accident in Atlanta, they have an awful lot of questions. Obviously, one of the first things they want to know is how much their case is worth. They also worry about how they’re going to pay their bills while they’re waiting for the insurance company to pay their claim. Other clients have more detailed questions about the crash. For example, a lot of people ask our Atlanta car accident lawyers if they can still sue if they were partly responsible for the accident. This is a logical question. After all, on TV and in the movies, the only time somebody sues someone is when the other person was clearly at fault.
The good news is that in Georgia, accident victims can still sue somebody even if they were partially responsible for their crash. This is because Georgia follows something called the comparative fault rule. Of course, if you were partially at fault, you’re not going to collect as much money as if you were completely innocent. That wouldn’t be fair to the defendant.
What we suggest is that you call one of our accident attorneys in Atlanta today so you can schedule your free, initial consultation. As a courtesy to our clients, we do offer a free, initial consultation so that they can discuss their car accident case without having to pay anything up front.
Here, we will briefly explain what happens if you were partially at fault for your car accident. We’ll also explain how your damages work if the court determines that you were partially at fault. If you have questions about your own car accident, we recommend that you call our office sooner rather than later. The earlier you get one of our Atlanta car accident lawyers involved, the sooner they can help you resolve your case.
Very Rarely is One Driver 100% at Fault
In our experience, it is very rare that one driver is 100% at fault for a car accident. Even if you’re extremely careful, there’s always things that you could have done better as far as your driving skills are concerned. For example, if somebody hits you from behind, they may be able to show that your brake lights were out. The same is true if you’re backing out of a parking spot in a busy mall parking lot. It’s completely feasible that you could have contributed to the accident in some way.
The defendant’s attorney understands this and is going to use it to their advantage. They are going to argue that you were the one responsible for the accident, not their client. Their goal is to cast enough doubt on you so that they don’t have to pay your full claim. This is one of the reasons that our Atlanta car accident lawyers work hard to settle our clients’ cases. We know that the goal of the insurance companies is to pay less than the full demand. The way we see it, it’s better to get a good portion of your damages up front rather than taking the risk of going to trial.
The Defendant’s Lawyer Will Claim That You Were at Fault
If you do have to sue the other driver, their insurance carrier is legally required to represent them. When your accident attorney in Atlanta files your complaint, they will have to serve a copy on the defendant who will then forward a copy to their insurance company for their review. When the insurance company files their response, they are going to assert that you were the one who caused the accident, not their client. They will argue that they have evidence proving that you were primarily responsible for the crash.
Most of the time, this is just a smokescreen to try and divert attention away from the fact that their client caused the accident. But it’s also one of the ways that the insurance company sets up the case to be settled. The good news is that your Atlanta car accident lawyer is well aware of their tactics. They will use whatever evidence they can find to help prove your case so that you can collect as much money as possible.
You May Still Be Allowed to Collect Damages
Even if the defendant’s attorney can prove that you were partially a fall, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to collect damages. The way the comparative fault rule works is that a plaintiff can still sue somebody even if they were partially at fault. The difference is that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, imagine that you were involved in a motor vehicle accident and suffered serious medical injuries. The insurance company denies your claim, so you go to see an Atlanta car accident lawyer. Your attorney decides the best course of action is to file a lawsuit against the other driver. In your complaint, your attorney demands damages in the amount of $500,000.
During settlement negotiations, the insurance carrier and their attorney argue that you were 30% responsible for the crash. Even assuming that they were correct, this will mean that your damages will be reduced by 30%. This means that instead of receiving the full $500,000, you would only be entitled to $350,000. The important thing to understand is that your accident attorney in Atlanta will have built in a cushion when they filed your initial lawsuit. This gives them wiggle room when it comes time to settle your case.
Your Accident Attorney in Atlanta Will Fight to Get You the Compensation You Deserve
Most people do not want to admit that they had anything to do with their accident. It’s human nature to want to point at the other person and say that it was their fault. What you need to understand is that there’s nothing personal about a personal injury lawsuit. It is all about business. Your accident attorney in Atlanta is going to fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. While this means that you may have to settle your case for less than the full demand, it is much better to walk away with something than to walk away with nothing. You should contact our office today so you can schedule your free, initial consultation during which your Atlanta car accident lawyer can explain how the process works.