Car Accident Laws
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What Happens After a Car Accident in Georgia?
After a collision, victims must understand their rights and responsibilities. They must understand how the settlement process works after the wreck to protect their rights. Georgia’s car accident laws outline how compensation for injuries can be obtained.
Georgia accident laws can be complex for victims. An experienced car accident attorney can guide you throughout the legal process, clarifying everything for you and handling all the heavy lifting on your behalf.
Educating yourself on the laws that apply to your case will help you better understand the process and your options. Tadeo & Silva Law attorneys discuss Georgia car accident law in this guide.
What Are Georgia Car Accident Laws?
According to Georgia law, auto accidents are dealt with on an at-fault basis. This means that the at-fault driver is responsible for the accident and must compensate the victim. As a result, all drivers must carry insurance, and the policy must cover any injuries they or others sustain in an accident.
Victims are entitled to compensation for damages and injuries from the at-fault party. The victim may also pursue legal action if the at-fault party fails to pay the damages. Moreover, Georgia’s accident laws also influence how comparative fault settlements are calculated.
The following are Georgia car accident law requirements to help you understand them:
Georgia Car Accident Reporting Requirements
A car accident occurs when a motor vehicle collides with another object, whether a person, a tree, a building, or another motor vehicle. The first step after a car accident is reporting to the local police department.
Georgia law requires you to call 911 immediately to report a car accident if:
- A reportable accident occurred
- Someone is injured or killed as a result of the accident
- More than $500 worth of property has been damaged
- It is a requirement of your insurance company
The Department of Public Safety policies require officers to respond to a car crash scene immediately after it is reported. The officers must complete the crash report if there are any injured victims, deaths, or property damage of $500 or more.
Law enforcement officials then submit the reports to the Department of Transportation. Car accident victims can get a copy of the police report by contacting the Police Department. The report is crucial when filing a personal injury claim.
Georgia Car Accident Insurance Requirements
In Georgia, the law requires motor vehicle owners to register their vehicles. They also need to pay a standard minimum auto liability insurance cover.
In Georgia, drivers must carry at least $25,000 bodily injury liability per person. $50,000 is required for multiple physical injuries. Also, the driver must have a $25,000 liability for property damages. The deductibles can be higher based on the insurance coverage policy.
Georgia law (OCGA § 40-6-10) requires drivers to keep proof of vehicle insurance in the car. So, if you have no insurance and get involved in a car accident, you may face fines and suspension of your license.
Comparative Negligence in Car Accidents
In a car accident where one party is at fault, the victim can recover compensation. But, when both or more drivers contribute to a collision, the reward is based on each party’s liability. This is known as comparative negligence (fault), in which blame is allocated between the plaintiff and the defendant according to their fault, making them both partially responsible for the damage.
As a result, comparative fault reduces the amount of damages that can be recovered in a negligence case, depending on the extent of the plaintiff’s negligence.
Comparative negligence can be either pure or modified. Based on a pure comparative approach, the plaintiff’s damages will be reduced by the percentage of their fault. Under a modified comparative approach, a plaintiff can only recover if they are less than 50% at fault.
In Georgia, the modified comparative negligence theory is employed. Georgia law allows injured victims of car accidents to recover damages from the other party, regardless of their level of involvement in the accident. However, the percentage of their fault must not equal or surpass that of the other party. No compensation exists for parties whose fault exceeds 50% of the accident liabilities.
Factors Used to Determine Negligence in Georgia
Each driver must follow the law by driving carefully to avoid collisions. A driver who violates a driving law and causes an accident will be held responsible for the damages incurred.
When determining fault in a Georgia car accident, the following factors are considered:
Failure to follow traffic laws
Impaired driving, e.g., DUI
Overspeeding during unsafe weather conditions
Improper vehicle maintenance.
What Are Your Legal Options After a Car Accident?
After a car accident, victims have legal options to pursue compensation for their injuries and damages. They can file an insurance claim or take legal action against the at-fault party.
Filing an Insurance Claim
The first step after a car accident is usually filing an insurance claim with your insurance company or the at-fault driver’s insurance company. This involves providing a detailed account of the accident, evidence, and medical records.
Filing a Lawsuit
If the insurance company fails to offer fair compensation or denies your claim, you can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver. In Georgia, you have two years from the accident date to file a personal injury lawsuit.
During a car accident case in Georgia, the injured party must prove that the other driver was negligent and caused the accident. The damages awarded will depend on the severity of injuries, resulting medical bills, lost wages, and emotional distress.
Do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident in Georgia?
After a motor vehicle accident, hiring an attorney is a good idea. An attorney can help you settle the case if you suffered injuries or property damages. But you can handle the claim if the accident is minor and nobody gets hurt.
It is advisable to consult with a car accident lawyer before any settlement for advice. At Tadeo & Silva Law, we provide legal guidance about car accidents. Our experienced attorneys will assist you in navigating the complex legal process and help you obtain a fair settlement. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our attorneys.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Happens if a Car Accident Results in Wrongful Death?
Georgia car accident statistics and trends show that fatal accidents claim many lives annually. Luckily, the deceased’s family members are catered for under Georgia’s wrongful death laws.
Georgia law allows families of deceased victims to file wrongful death claims under OCGA 51-4-2. This includes the deceased victim’s surviving spouse, child, or parent. Some of the family members of the deceased victim have more rights than others, even though they are all members of the victim’s family. The hierarchical order is as follows:
- The deceased’s surviving spouse is the first person who can file a wrongful death claim.
- If the decedent has no surviving spouse, their children must file the claim.
- The deceased’s parents can file a wrongful death claim if the decedent has no surviving spouse or children.
- A representative of the deceased’s estate may also file a wrongful death claim. Any damages won in this case will go to the deceased’s estate and be distributed to their surviving relatives.
Wrongful death lawsuits seek financial compensation for the loss of earnings, the loss of support, the loss of medical expenses, and the loss of funeral costs incurred. In these cases, the victim’s life value is claimed as compensation. Besides covering financial losses, intangible damages compensate survivors for emotional loss after death.
What Is the Georgia Car Accident Statute of Limitations?
The time limit to file car accident claims in Georgia is two years from the accident date. The time limit is the same as most Georgia personal injury claims. However, the statute of limitations for motor vehicle damages is four years.
Georgia’s statute of limitation for wrongful death is two years after the accident. A victim’s surviving family must file a wrongful death claim before two years are over.
What types of injuries can occur in a car accident?
Car accidents can cause a wide range of injuries, including:
Concussions and other head injuries
Soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains
Spinal cord injuries
Burns or lacerations.
Injuries can vary from minor to severe, and some may not be immediately apparent after an accident. It is essential to seek medical attention for any injuries sustained in a car accident, even if they initially seem minor.