Car crashes are often physically, mentally, and financially stressful for all parties involved, even if the crash was just a fender bender. There are so many laws regarding car insurance claims, and the worst part is, every single state has different laws. Some states are no-fault states and require all drivers to have no-fault insurance. Other states are at-fault states and require totally different types of insurance. Additionally, each state has different rules about which party’s insurance company covers all car crash damages. Coupled with the adrenaline rush of a recent accident, all of this can get very confusing and overwhelming. So – is Georgia an at-fault state? Our legal team answers this question and more below.
If you have suffered major injuries from a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you have grounds to recover financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, vehicle damage, and more through an insurance claim or a personal injury claim. An experienced car accident lawyer at Ashenden & Associates can analyze the details of your car crash case and help you determine the best course of action. Call 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.
At-Fault States vs. No-Fault States
Before we get into whether or not Georgia is a no-fault state, it’s important that we explain the difference between at-fault states and no-fault states.
In at-fault states, an injured driver can recover compensation for their injuries and other damages through the other driver’s insurance company. Meanwhile, in a no-fault state, all drivers involved must seek recovery through their own insurance company, even if they did not cause the accident.
Is Georgia an At-Fault State?
Yes, Georgia is an at-fault state. In other words, Georgia abides by the tort liability system when it comes to auto insurance claims. This means that the injured party in a car accident can recover damages though the other driver’s insurance company.
What is Modified Comparative Fault in Georgia?
Georgia also follows the 50% modified comparative fault rule when an at fault car accident occurs. This means that the amount of medical costs and other damages will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault according to Georgia law (Georgia Code § 51-12-33).
This is how comparative fault works: let’s say you get into a car accident at a four way stop sign. The other driver is mostly at fault because they completely ran the stop sign and hit you. But during the accident, you were distracted by changing the music on your phone. Had you been fully focused on the road, you could have potentially avoided crashing into the other driver, even if they did completely run the stop sign. The insurance company determines that the other driver is 85% at fault while you are only 15% at fault. Because you share a small percentage of the blame for being distracted by your phone during the crash, your amount of damages will be reduced by 15%.
The 50% rule also states that if a driver happens to be more than 50% at fault for the car accident, then they can’t recover damages at all.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident in Georgia
Just like every other personal injury case, negligence plays a huge role in car accidents. In order to build the strongest case possible against the other party, you must prove the 4 elements of negligence. Atlanta car accident lawyers at Ashenden & Associates can help you do this.
- Duty of Care: Every person owes each other a specific duty of care while driving. This means that drivers must stay sober, focused, and careful while driving in order to protect their lives and the lives of other drivers.
- Breached Duty of Care: The driver breached this duty of care by driving recklessly, carelessly, or drunkenly.
- Causation: The at fault driver’s negligence directly caused the other driver to suffer serious injuries and/or vehicle damage.
- Damages: The at fault driver should cover the other driver’s damages through their own insurance company.
It’s important to hire experienced legal counsel after a car crash in Georgia. Atlanta car accident lawyers at Ashenden & Associates can help you gather evidence, obtain a police report from the accident scene, obtain witness statements, and navigate the complexities of auto insurance claims. Most importantly, we will protect your legal rights while you seek compensation from the other driver.
Insurance Requirements for Georgia Drivers
Most states require drivers to have a certain amount of auto insurance in order to drive. Having at least the bare minimum insurance policy is very important (especially in at-fault states) because accidents happen all the time, and one day it might be your fault.
Georgia law requires all drivers to have the following types of insurance:
- Bodily Injury Liability: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
- Property Damage Liability: $25,000 per accident.
This is just the minimum amount of auto insurance that all Georgia drivers must have. However, you can definitely get more insurance if you want to, such as physical damage insurance or uninsured motorist insurance.
Because Georgia is not a no-fault state, drivers do not need to get personal injury protection (PIP), also known as MedPay. However, our legal team recommends getting MedPay insurance just for the sake of extra protection.
How to Seek Car Accident Damages in Georgia
If you’ve never been in a car accident before, you may be confused about how to actually recover damages. After all, auto insurance information can be incredibly confusing, especially if you’ve never had to use it before. Below, our legal team lists a few ways that you can recover financial compensation after a car accident in Georgia.
- You can file a claim with your own car insurance company, and from there, they can seek compensation from the other driver’s insurance company.
- You can file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company.
- Or, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
What if Car Accident Damages Exceed Liability Insurance Coverage?
Sometimes an insurance settlement is simply not enough, especially if the car accident caused catastrophic injuries. In situations like this, the car crash victim can sue the other driver in civil court in order to recover an appropriate amount of damages. If you’re interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit, you must hire strong legal counsel. Atlanta car accident lawyers at Ashenden & Associates are the perfect legal team to have on your side during a civil lawsuit.
What if the At-Fault Driver Doesn’t Have Car Insurance?
Even though Georgia law requires all drivers to have a minimum amount of auto insurance before hitting the road, there are still people out there who evade the law. Getting into a crash with an uninsured driver can be a huge problem for all parties involved. Recovering adequate compensation can definitely be more complicated as well.
That’s why it’s beneficial to have uninsured motorist insurance. If you get into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, this type of insurance policy will make sure to give you a decent settlement.
It’s still important to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer at Ashenden & Associates especially after getting into an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. These situations can be complicated and confusing. We will help you negotiate with your insurance company so that you get the right amount of damages.
Car Accident Damages
If you decide to move forward with a personal injury claim, our Atlanta car accident lawyers can help you seek compensation for the following types of damages:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future rehabilitative bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity if your injuries prevent you from completing your normal job duties
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Mental health counseling costs
- Permanent scarring, disfigurement, and disability
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses if the car crash results in wrongful death
Georgia Statute of Limitations for Car Accidents
Georgia’s statute of limitations for car accident lawsuits is the same as any other personal injury lawsuit. Injured drivers must file a civil claim within two years of the date of the accident according to Georgia law. If you try to file a civil suit after the statute of limitations expires, usually your claim will be dismissed. That’s why it’s so important to reach out to our Atlanta personal injury lawyers as soon as possible after a car crash. We will get your civil claim filed as soon as possible so that you can obtain justice for your suffering.
Call an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer at Ashenden & Associates Today
If you have suffered major car crash injuries due to another driver’s negligence, you have legal options available. The legal team at Ashenden & Associates has decades of combined experience in helping their injured clients obtain proper justice and financial recovery after car accidents. Additionally, we’ll navigate all the complexities of auto insurance so that all you need to do is focus on healing from your accident. Call 770-394-8909 to schedule a free consultation with us today.