Determining the fault of an automobile accident is not always easy. If the driver of the vehicle that struck you was driving erratically, it is sometimes hard to prove on its own merit. But there are things you can do that will assist your car accident attorney in proving your case and putting the liability on the at-fault driver.
Supporting your case
- Gather information of witnesses
This is important. If there were people around that have no ties to you or the other driver, their testimony is a powerful tool that your attorney can use to show what was happening at the time of the accident. Get names and contact information from anyone who witnessed the accident.
Use your cell phone to take pictures of every vehicle involved. Start with the car that hit you. Be sure you get a picture of their license plate immediately after the accident in case they try to leave the scene. Photograph all sides of the automobiles before they are moved. Include shots of damaged property around the scene, like signs, fences, or anything else that may have been damaged. Be sure you can tell if the weather was bad causing wet or icy streets. Note: if you are injured, ask someone else to take the photographs. Your health is the main priority.
- Get police reports
This is very important. The police reports will contain information that your attorney needs to present your case. It will reflect if the officer thought the driver was under the influence of anything and any breathalyzer, urine, or blood tests that were administered.
- Do not assume
There are a few laws that people are familiar with and assume there is nothing that will sway those laws. The most common are:
- If you are rear-ended, it is always the other driver’s fault.
- If you are struck while making a left-hand turn and hit a car headed straight in the other direction, you are always at fault.
These two situations are accurate 99% of the time. But there are other things to consider. Was the other driver speeding? Were the taillights, blinkers, and turn signals working properly? By looking at all the reports and photographs, a good attorney may be able to show that the other driver was partially at fault. While the odds are against you, it is worth investigation to lower the financial cost of the accident, even if you were at fault.
Why is this important?
Georgia is a state that allows “comparative fault” laws. In Georgia, if it is decided that you are more than 50% at fault for the accident, you cannot claim damages. These percentages vary from state to state. The insurance company will take several factors into consideration to determine who was at fault. If it is found that the other driver was more than 50% at fault, your insurance company will negotiate with their insurance company for a fair settlement. With that said, the insurance company needs every scrap of evidence to make a liability decision. Leaving off any information, regardless of how small it seems, could be the difference between 50% at fault and 51% at fault. The latter will cost you a lot of money.
Gather all your information carefully. Keep notes and records on any issues you have after the accident. Keep receipts for any expenses the accident cost you. Never admit guilt or make statements like, “They came out of nowhere,” or “I just did not see them.” These minor statements are an admission of guilt. By Georgia law, you are required to notice what is around you at all times.
For more information, get in touch with a car accident lawyer today.