The car insurance industry estimates that vehicle owners will file a claim, on average, once every 17.9 years. Drivers in Hampton are certainly no exception to this statistic. The odds are high a driver will be involved in at least a minor accident by the time they are 34, at the latest. In fact, there are over 10 million accidents that occur every year throughout the United States. While most of those accidents are minor, some are not. Car accidents can be very serious and come with life-altering complications. In those situations, it’s a good idea to involve a Hampton car accident lawyer for help with your legal claim.
John Foy & Associates has been helping car accident victims throughout Georgia for over two decades. We have seen everything from run-of-the-mill crashes to some extremely unique circumstances. And we put all of our knowledge and experience to work for you the second you walk into our office. Our team is fully dedicated to victims of personal injury accidents. We never work for insurance companies because we are passionate about getting accident victims back on their feet after such a traumatic experience. Let us give you a free consultation to get started. Call us at 404-400-4000 and get your free consultation today.
How Does Fault or Liability Work in a Car Accident Case?
To recover money damages for your car accident, you must prove that another driver or person was at least partially at fault for the incident. In some situations, this process is straightforward while in others, it can be very complicated.
You must be able to show that a driver was negligent as part of your car accident. Proving a driver is at fault is part of demonstrating they are legally liable for your injuries and damages. If you can prove fault, you are well on your way to being able to collect money damages to account for your losses.
“Fault” essentially means that the driver did something wrong. “Negligence” is a legal requirement. Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they are slightly different.
Proving negligence requires that you show the following four facts:
- The other driver had a duty to you.
- The driver violated that duty.
- The violation caused harm or damages.
- You actually suffered harm or damages.
Proving these four facts is necessary to recover damages in your car accident case. Fault, by contrast, only applies to the violation of the duty of care that another driver has to others on the road. Their wrongdoing will often lead to damages, but it isn’t technically required to show fault.
Here are some examples of situations where the driver is at fault for an accident:
- Running a stoplight and t-boning another vehicle
- Taking a corner too close and striking a car at the intersection
- Following too closely to safely stop when the vehicle in front of them stops
- Texting while driving and failing to notice the car in front of them stopping
In these situations, it’s easy to see how closely-related negligence and fault really are. But just because these drivers are at fault doesn’t always mean that there are damages. For example, if a driver was following too closely but they were able to stop in time to avoid a crash, no damages would likely result.
What Happens if More Than One Person Is At Fault for the Crash?
It’s actually fairly common for more than one person to hold blame for an accident. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a driver can’t file a car accident claim in court.
Georgia is known as a modified comparative fault state. That means you can be partially at fault for the accident and still recover a portion of your losses from the crash. The total money damages that you can receive is just reduced for whatever portion of the fault that is attributed to you.
Here’s an example:
Someone runs a red light and hits you as you are going through an intersection. They are clearly at fault, but you were also speeding slightly. The accident wouldn’t have occurred if you weren’t driving over the speed limit. That might mean that you are at fault, too.
The jury will consider all of these facts and assign a percentage of fault to each person. The other driver might be 95% at fault, and you are 5% at fault. That means whatever money damages you are awarded will be reduced by 5% to account for your portion of the fault.
Many people make the mistake of thinking they don’t have any legal options if they are even remotely to blame for the accident. This often just isn’t true. Talking to an attorney about the unique facts of your situation will help you determine your legal options and whether or not you can still seek damages.
How Much Time Do I Have to Start a Car Accident Case?
Every legal case in Hampton has a time limitation. For car accidents, you must start your claim within two years of the date of the accident. There are a few exceptions to this general rule, but they rarely apply. This might seem like plenty of time, but there are a lot of steps in the car accident claim process—and the sooner you can get started, the better.
It’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer as soon as you can after a car accident so you avoid any problems with this limitation. Your attorney can also start the investigation process right away. The insurance company starts investigating virtually immediately after a crash—and you should too.
Talk to a Hampton Car Accident Lawyer for Free
Car accidents can be overwhelming in a lot of ways—from the accident itself to getting the right medical care and determining how you are going to get back to work. Having John Foy & Associates on your side helps take some of these pressures off your plate. Let us give you a FREE consultation to discuss your options and how we can help. Call us at 404-400-4000, or fill out the form to your right and get your free consultation today.