What Is Comparative Fault?
As an example, Atlanta car accident lawyers use legal concepts like comparative fault on a daily basis. In Georgia law, comparative fault is a tort principle that assigns a percentage of the blame to the different parties involved. Comparative fault can reduce the amount you recover after a car accident if you’re partially responsible. For instance, if your negligent behavior contributed to the crash by 20%, you will be able to recover up to 80% of the damages.
How Does Comparative Fault Work for Multi-car Accidents?
Comparative fault comes into play when seeking compensation after a crash involving multiple vehicles because this concept means the drivers can share the blame. Depending on the circumstance of the accident, one driver might carry most of the blame while the other parties involved are only 10% responsible. If all the drivers were negligent, they can each share a third of the blame.
Modified Comparative Fault and Compensation
Georgia is one of the states that uses a modified comparative fault rule. This rule states that a driver must share less than 50% of the blame to receive compensation. In other words, if an accident is more than 50% your fault, you won’t be able to seek compensation for damages. This rule applies regardless of the number of vehicles involved. For instance, Driver A can share 15% of the blame while Driver B and C are respectively responsible for 5% and 80%. In this scenario, Driver C carries most of the blame and won’t qualify for compensation.
Who Pays the Damages in a Multi-car Pileup?
It depends on who is responsible for the accident. The plaintiff will have to recover damages from multiple parties based on their share of responsibility. For instance, Driver A is 55% responsible since they failed to signal a turn. Driver B is 20% responsible because they were driving slightly above the speed limit, and Driver C shares 25% of the blame because they were checking their phone. The accident also involves a cyclist who is not at fault since they followed traffic rules and signaled their presence. In this scenario, Driver A can’t seek compensation since they share more than 50% of the blame. Driver B can recover 55% of the damages from Driver A and 25% from Driver C. They can only recover up to 80% of the damages to account for their role in the crash. Driver C is in a similar situation. The bicyclist who is not at fault can recover 55% of the damages from Driver A, 20% from Driver B, and 25% from Driver C.
How to File a Claim for a Multi-car Pileup
Contact your insurance company. An insurance adjuster will investigate and determine who is liable. They can use the police report with the details of the incident and the information you provided. They will look at any traffic violations or reckless behaviors like speeding, a factor that contributed to 380 fatalities in Georgia in 2020. Once your insurance adjuster determines who is liable, you can file claims for a percentage of the damages with the insurers of the different parties involved. Since multi-vehicle crashes can be complex, insurance adjusters rarely agree on who is at fault. Plaintiffs should hire an attorney specializing in car crashes to negotiate with insurance adjusters or take the case to court if needed.
In Georgia, the comparative fault rule applies to multi-car crashes. The drivers involved in the accident can share liability, and their degree of responsibility will affect how much they can receive in compensation. If you were in an accident with multiple vehicles, you should file claims with the insurers of the different drivers. However, having an experienced lawyer help you with this process is best since insurance adjusters often have differing views.