What To Expect after an Accident If You Are the At-Fault Driver
When you are involved in an accident that you do not cause, you may feel reassured by the fact that in the state of Georgia, the other driver’s liability insurance will likely pay for your injuries. However, if you are the at-fault driver, your level of confidence in how to handle the claims process will likely be much less, and you may worry about whether or not you are entitled to recover compensation for your injuries and property damages at all, how your fault will affect your driving record and car insurance premiums, and what other car accident penalties you may face. If you are involved in a car accident and are named to be the at fault driver, here is what you need to know about what to expect and the at-fault driver consequences:
You May Have the Option to Recover Damages Under Your Own Insurance Policy
While the state of Georgia implements an at-fault car insurance system, meaning that drivers (or their liability insurance) are responsible for paying for the accidents that they cause, if you have other insurance coverage types as part of your policy, you may be able to file a claim for benefits regardless of your fault. For example, some important coverage types that can help to pay for your own injuries in a car accident include:
- Medical Payments Coverage: Medical payments coverage covers necessary and reasonable medical and funeral services for both you and any of your passengers in an accident, regardless of who was at fault. Medical payments coverage is not required in Georgia, but should be offered at the time that you purchase your policy, and can be incredibly helpful if you are involved in an accident.
- Collision Coverage: Collision coverage helps to pay for damage caused your own vehicle in the event of an accident. According to the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner, collision coverage is not required, but is a worthwhile optional purchase for many.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Sometimes, fault can be shared, or unclear, in a car accident. If the motorist with whom you were in an accident does not have enough insurance, or does not have insurance at all, then your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may help to pay for damages in the event that you are only partially at fault, or the fault determination is reversed.
Comparative/Contributory Negligence and Your Car Accident Claim
After a car accident, many drivers wonder what their recovery options are if they were only partially at fault for the accident. Georgia’s contributory negligence laws address this dilemma.
While in some states, comparative negligence laws bar a plaintiff from recovering damages even if he or she was only partially at fault, this is not true in the state of Georgia. In Georgia, the law is different; the state’s contributory negligence laws prevent the plaintiff from recovering damages if the plaintiff’s degree of fault is more than that of the defendant’s. If the degree of fault is less than that of the defendant’s, then the amount of damages recoverable will be reduced in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault. In Georgia, then, you can still recover compensation even if you are found to be partially at-fault for your accident and injuries.
At-Fault Driver Consequences to Expect After a Car Accident
If you are found to be the driver who was at-fault in a car accident, there are some at-fault driver consequences that you should be aware of. First, and perhaps most importantly, are the at-fault driver consequences discussed above: recovering compensation for your own injuries can be very challenging to do.
In addition to having trouble recovering money to pay for your injuries and vehicular damage, you may also receive a car accident ticket. You will have to pay this ticket, which can range in cost.
The state of Georgia follows a driver point system – if you receive a certain number of points, then you may face subsequence consequence. For example, in the state of Georgia, a driver who accumulates 15 points over a 24-month period will have his or her driver’s license suspected, according to the Georgia Department of Driver Services. The more points that you accumulate, the more serious your consequences are. If you are found to be at fault for an auto accident, then you can count on points being added to your driver record.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
You may believe that if you have been found at fault in an accident, you have no options, and are not entitled to legal representation. However, this is false; regardless of your fault, you still have the right to a car accident attorney who has your best interests in mind. A car accident attorney can help you to:
A Car Accident Attorney Can:
- Disprove accusations of fault;
- Consider other parties who may have had a role in the occurrence of the accident (i.e. Did your vehicle have defective tires? Did you brakes go out?);
- Demonstrate why you were only partially, not totally, at fault;
- Understand your car insurance policy;
- Explore the avenues through which you can recover compensation; and
- Negotiate a fair settlement amount on your behalf.
Do not think that because you were the one who caused an accident, you have to pay for all of your own damages out of pocket.