How Speed is Factored into Car Accident Cases
Speeding often plays a role in car accidents, and therefore, is an important part of how fault is determined after an accident. Nearly one-third of fatal car accidents involve speeding, and the annual cost to society of accidents that involve speeding is around $40 billion. In addition, in 2016, Georgia ranked fourth highest in the country for car accident deaths.
While speeding is often a contributing factor in many car accidents, it is not always the sole cause of a collision, but one factor among several to be considered. For example, drivers making a left turn across oncoming traffic believe that the oncoming driver should be at fault because they were speeding. In such circumstances, speeding can sometimes be classified as a contributing factor when a collision occurs, but speeding alone may not be the only cause of the crash. As a contributing factor, it may be possible to still maintain a personal injury claim if but for the excessive speeding prior to the accident, the accident would not have happened.
There are also some cases where the fact that a party was speeding is inconsequential to the legal arguments pertaining to the accident. For instance, to use the same example as above, when making a left turn across oncoming traffic, you – generally – must yield to the oncoming traffic. Even if the other driver is speeding, and hits you after you fail to yield, you may still be found to be at fault in the accident if speeding was not the primary cause of the crash.
While driving the speed limit is the safest approach to driving, many drivers do not adhere to the speed limit and tend to drive above the posted speed limit. Some may justify this by saying that they were going a “reasonable” amount to go over the limit. Nevertheless, even a small amount may be relevant to a car accident case and determining fault. If the police report includes such information – that one driver was over the limit at all – this can be used to bolster the assertion that this driver was negligent, in violation of the law, and that this act was the cause of the collision. This, in turn, is important for purposes of deciding the value of a personal injury claim or case.
You may be curious how speeding is proven even when there is no radar proof. There are other ways to prove that a driver was speeding than the radar, including: eyewitnesses who may be able to provide insight into whether the other driver was speeding, the severity of the damage done to the vehicles, surveillance video, the presence of skid marks, and in some cases an expert can also assist in the determination of excessive speed.
Generally, persons are expected to drive safely based on the weather conditions, such that, when it is raining or snowing, drivers are expected to reduce their speed. If a driver is technically going the speed limit, but is failing to adjust to the weather conditions, this can be relevant to the case, as this may be considered driving “too fast for conditions.”
Speeding, as described above, can be an important element of a case, to show who was negligent and at fault. In Georgia, the type of fault determined is “proportional comparative fault,” which means each driver is assigned a percentage of blame. One driver might be 100% responsible, or it can be divided up proportionally, another way.
To use the above example again, if a driver is turning left and fails to yield, this would be relevant. Moreover, if one driver was excessively speeding, this would also be relevant. In this case, they would likely share fault. The party who is less at fault in that case can bring a suit, even if they were found to be somewhat at fault. However, the percentage that they were at fault reduces the amount recovered.
In sum, speeding is an important factor when analyzing any car accident case because it is a contributing factor to why the accident happened, and who was, therefore, more at fault, which has crucial implications in Georgia in determining monetary awards.
Having an attorney to assist you with your personal injury suit is essential. With a personalized approach designed to zealously advocate for you, the team of attorneys at The Millar Law Firm are here to help with every step of the way. Contact The Millar Law Firm today.