Before you start thinking about how much you can collect in a car accident case, you must determine fault. Of course, you aren’t expected to do this on your own. Most accident victims retain the services of a personal injury attorney in Brookhaven. Our associates have decades of combined experience handling cases just like yours. We understand the law and know what it takes to get our clients the money they deserve.
Of course, the only way we can get you any compensation is if we can show that the other driver was at fault. Rarely do we meet with a new client who admits that they were partially responsible for their crash. Everyone always wants to point the finger at the other driver. This is only natural. However, it’s important that we know the whole story before we make any final decisions on how to proceed.
Here, we’ll talk about how we go about proving fault. We’ll also explain what information your Brookhaven car accident attorney needs to do this. If you still have questions or concerns after reading this article, that’s okay. Feel free to contact our office directly. You can even go so far as to schedule your free, initial consultation right over the phone.
Your Personal Injury Attorney in Brookhaven Must Prove Negligence
One thing we try to explain to our clients is that you can’t count your chickens before they hatch. In order for you to collect a dime, you’ll need to prove the other driver caused the accident. This is sometimes harder than you would imagine.
For our Brookhaven car accident attorneys to prove fault, they’ll need to show negligence. This is the standard in just about every personal injury lawsuit. Negligence essentially means that the other driver didn’t behave the way they should have given the circumstances.
The four elements of negligence are rather simple. First, you need to show that the other driver owed you a duty of care. This won’t be hard to do. All drivers in Georgia owe each other a certain duty of care. At a minimum, they are required to obey all traffic laws.
The second element of negligence is that the defendant breached their duty of care. This is normally the hardest part of your case to prove. Since both drivers are going to blame each other, your personal injury attorney in Brookhaven will need to submit evidence showing that the defendant was at fault.
Third, you must show that you suffered an injury. Just because you were involved in a car crash, that doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to damages. If you can’t point to a specific injury, you won’t be able to prove your case.
Finally, your Brookhaven car accident attorney must demonstrate that your injuries were caused by the crash. If the defendant’s lawyer can show that something other than the crash caused your injuries, you may not win at trial. Of course, since very few cases make it to trial, your attorney may have to compromise on this issue during settlement negotiations. However, if you went for medical treatment immediately after your accident, you shouldn’t have any issues.
What Happens if Both Parties Point the Finger at Each Other?
Usually, what happens is that both drivers claim the other was at fault. Thankfully, as long as you have a police report, your attorney should be able to prove this isn’t the case. For example, when the cops come to the accident scene, they’ll do a thorough investigation. They’ll put notes in the file about how they think the accident happened. They’ll also include statements from any eyewitnesses who saw the crash.
In addition to the police report, your attorney will rely on common sense. For example, if you were hit from behind, there’s a good chance the defendant is at fault. While there are exceptions to every rule, the rules are there for a reason. As long as you can show that the defendant was more at fault than you were, there’s a good chance you’ll prevail.
Can You Still Collect if You Were Partially at Fault for the Crash?
In some states, if the defendant can show that you were partially at fault, your case will be dismissed, Thankfully, Georgia isn’t one of them. Georgia follows something called the comparative fault rule.
Under this rule, as long as you’re less than 50% at fault, you can still collect damages from the other driver. The difference is that your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault.
For example, imagine you demanded $300,000 in damages. The defendant is able to prove that you were 20% at fault. This means your damages will be reduced by $60,000. You’ll still collect a fair amount, but the defendant will be credited for any part you played in the accident.
How Can the Defendant Prove You Were Partially at Fault?
It won’t be easy for the defendant to prove you were at fault. However, very rarely is any driver 100% responsible for a crash. All the defendant has to do is show that you did something out of the ordinary during the crash.
For example, if you were involved in a rear-end collision, the defendant may be able to prove that your brake lights weren’t working. If this is the case, you’ll be held partly responsible for what happened.
Call Our Office and See if Our Personal Injury Attorneys in Brookhaven Can Help
If you have a feeling the other driver is going to try to pin the crash on you, call us right away. It sounds like you’ll need an experienced personal injury attorney in Brookhaven. Our attorneys know how to prove fault even in the most complicated of cases. We also know how to prove your damages. We recommend that you call us as soon as possible after the accident.
The longer you wait to reach out to us, the harder it will be to prepare your case. It takes time to gather the evidence needed to prove your case. We also need to make sure you don’t miss the Georgia statute of limitations.
Call us today and schedule your free, initial consultation. Once you sit down with a legal professional, you’ll have a better idea of how strong your case is. You’ll also know what to expect. Since the consultation is free, you really don’t have anything to worry about.