Is It a Mistake To Admit Fault After a Car Accident?

Georgia is an at-fault state for car accident claims. In other words, the party who caused the accident can be held financially liable for the injuries and damages caused by the crash. As a result, it is a mistake to admit fault after a car accident before you talk with a Lawrenceville car accident attorney.

You Might Not Actually Be at Fault for Your Car Accident in Lawrenceville, GA

You Might Not Actually Be at Fault for Your Car Accident in Lawrenceville, GA

Many factors can contribute to the cause of a car accident. You might believe you caused the car crash, but it could be that something else was responsible for the collision. Admitting fault before an attorney completes a thorough investigation to determine causation and fault is unwise.

Furthermore, the moments and days after a car accident are traumatic and overwhelming. Regardless of the severity of your injuries, the emotional distress can impair your judgment. The shock and stress of the accident could impact your memory, making it impossible to remember all of the details of the crash.

Another problem arises when multiple vehicles are involved in the accident. Each driver may dispute fault and blame the other drivers. You do not want to make a judgment about fault until you have all the facts about how the car crash occurred.

If you admit fault for a car accident in Georgia, you could be liable for economic and non-economic damages. If you were not to blame, admitting fault could negatively impact the outcome of your personal injury case, even though you realize that you were not at fault and retract your statements.

Contributory Fault and Georgia Car Accident Claims

Contributory negligence bars victims from recovering compensation for their damages if they are partially to blame for causing their injuries. However, Georgia does not use that type of law to apportion damages in a car accident case.

Instead, Georgia adopted a “modified comparative fault” standard for personal injury claims. Georgia’s comparative negligence law bars victims from recovering damages if they are more than 49% to blame for causing their injuries. Therefore, if a jury finds you are 55% at fault for your car crash, you cannot recover compensation for your injuries and damages.

You can recover some of your damages if you are less than 50% at fault for causing the car accident. However, the judge reduces your compensation for damages by your percentage of blame. For instance, if the jury decides you are 20% to blame for a rear-end accident, you can receive 80% of the damages awarded in your case instead of the entire amount.

How Do Insurance Companies Use Contributory Fault To Avoid Paying Your Car Accident Claim?

Insurance companies use contributory fault to avoid paying the total value of damages in car accident cases. They shift blame for the car crash to the victim to reduce how much the claim is worth. Insurance adjusters are very good at asking questions that could lead to statements implying fault.

For example, the insurance adjuster asks you what you were doing the day of the crash. They ask how you were feeling and if your day was going okay. If you say you overslept, were under stress, or felt under the weather, the adjuster may try to twist your comments to imply you were distracted while driving. Therefore, you must have contributed to the cause of the accident.

Your comments and words after an accident can imply fault. If you say you are sorry or apologize for the accident, the adjuster might allege you were admitting fault. Do not agree to a recorded statement or answer questions about the accident without legal advice.

Our attorneys strongly recommend allowing a car accident lawyer to handle communications with the insurance company. By the time you need to make a statement or provide a deposition, your attorney will have completed the investigation into the cause of the accident, so you have a complete understanding of how the crash occurred.

How Do I Prove Fault for a Lawrenceville Car Accident?

The injured party has the burden of proving the elements of negligence to recover compensation from an at-fault driver. You need to prove that:

  • The other driver owed you a legal duty of care
  • They breached the duty of care by failing to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle
  • Their actions or inactions were the direct and proximate cause of the car accident
  • You sustained injuries and incurred damages because of their breach of duty

The police report might state that one or both drivers contributed to the cause of the car accident. However, the police officer could be mistaken. They base their opinion of fault on the statements of the drivers and witnesses and the evidence they see at the accident scene.

Other evidence may prove that otherwise. Evidence we use to prove fault for a car accident claim includes, but is not limited to:

  • Statements by drivers, passengers, and eyewitnesses
  • Opinions from accident reconstructionists and other expert witnesses
  • Video from traffic cameras, dash cams, and other surveillance cameras
  • Photographs of the accident scene
  • Medical records
  • Physical evidence gathered from the scene and the vehicles
  • Information gathered from vehicle recording systems and black  boxes

If possible, take photos of the accident scene and make a video to preserve the scene precisely as it was at the time of the crash. Ask witnesses and bystanders for their names and contact information. The officer may not talk to them before they leave the accident scene.

Your attorney will conduct a thorough investigation, but the evidence you collect after the crash could be very helpful.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident in Lawrenceville, GA, to Protect My Rights?

First, call 911 to report the crash. You want an official report by the police. Also, request emergency medical services for yourself and other victims. It is wise to seek immediate medical treatment after a car accident to protect your health and document your injuries.

Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident. Instead, gather evidence and wait for the police to arrive. Tell the police officers what happened without embellishing or offering an opinion about fault.

Report the car accident to your insurance company. Again, keep your statements focused on the facts instead of admission or opinions regarding fault. As soon as possible, seek legal advice to protect your rights.

Get Help From a Lawrenceville Personal Injury Lawyer

Car accident claims can be complicated. The insurance company will try to deny or undervalue your claim if possible. Our lawyers fight to protect your right to a fair settlement. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Lawrenceville car accident lawyer.