What Do Georgia Laws Say about Car Accident Liability in Bad Weather?
According to the Federal Highway Administration, every year, bad weather causes approximately 1,258,978 car accidents, resulting in 445,303 injuries and 5,897 deaths. These figures represent 22% of all car accidents, 19% or all injuries, and, respectively 16% of all fatalities. This means that, out of the over 385,000 car crashes in Georgia, over 77,000 involve bad weather. Unfortunately, car accident laws do not hold bad weather liable for accidents, although they vary from one state to another. There are “no-fault” and “at-fault” states. When it comes to car accident liability, Georgia is an “at-fault” state, meaning that, in case of an accident, the insurance company of the driver at fault covers the damages.
If both drivers are at fault for the accident, they will share liability and cover any damages and compensations according to their liability percentage. For example, in an accident involving total damages of $100,000, with shared driver liability of 70%/30%, the first driver (the insurer) will be responsible for $70,000, while the second one (the insurer) will be responsible for $30,000. However, the parties may negotiate and reach different settlements. In “no-fault” states, each insurance company covers its client’s damages.
While the police report represents the foundation for establishing fault in most car accidents, many drivers choose to hire an Augusta car crash lawyer to defend their interests. Taking advantage of the concept of “shared car accident liability”, Augusta lawyers can prove that their client was only partially or not at fault for the accident, thus helping the drivers they represent to reduce or avoid accident repercussions. Their contribution is even more relevant when bad weather is involved.
Establishing Bad Weather Car Accident Liability in Augusta, GA
Most people mistakenly believe that, in at-fault states, the driver who broke the law is responsible for the accident. However, especially in car accident cases involving bad weather, the actions of the other driver matter just as much. Why?
Bad weather usually brings about slippery roads and reduced visibility. Cars are more difficult to control, and obstacles are more difficult to see. This means all drivers should drive slowly, signal their presence in traffic adequately, and pay more attention to the road and the other traffic participants. Failure to do so may qualify as negligence.
When establishing car accident liability, Augusta law enforcement officers, insurers, and judges will consider not only violations of the law, but also measures that may have helped prevent the accident or reduce the damage.
Thus, although one driver may have caused the accident, it is possible to prove that the other one was equally liable for the accident by not adjusting the speed to the traffic condition, not wearing a seat belt, or not having the headlights on. It all depends on the evidence and testimonies the parties collect, and on the experience and skills of the Augusta car crash lawyer representing them.
Alone, drivers often give in to their worries, anger, or anxiety, and neglect important aspects. Lawyers, however, will focus on taking photos of the cars involved in the crash and showing what measures each driver took or failed to take in order to prevent or avoid the collision.
They will look at vehicle orientation, skid and brake marks, video cameras that may have recorded the accident, drivers’ experience and driving records, whether the driver equipped the car adequately for the respective weather conditions, and more.
At the same time, they will advise their clients on what to say and do, in order to avoid jeopardizing their own interests by assuming fault or getting into fights or arguments that could bring about new charges and negatively affect their reputation in court, if everything ends with a court trial.
Among the cases ending up in court, some rely on complaints against third parties, namely the authorities in charge of maintaining the road on which the accident took place. These cases usually rely on the work and dedication of an experienced Augusta car crash lawyer who manages to prove that the administrator of the respective road or the company in charge of its maintenance failed to clear the snow, pour salt to melt the ice and prevent skidding, or renew/maintain the road marking and signage.
No matter the circumstances, proving bad weather car accident liability in Augusta GA is not easy. It takes a trained eye, knowing when and where to look, what evidence to collect, what witnesses to interrogate, and impeccable knowledge of Georgia car accident laws. It takes the skills, experience, and knowledge of a lawyer.
Consult with an Augusta, Georgia Attorney to Discuss Car Accident Liability
For a reliable and dedicated Georgia auto accident attorney, contact Ted A. Greve & Associates now! The preliminary consultation is FREE, so you have nothing to lose. You do have a lot to gain, from proving that you were not at fault for the accident, to proving the other driver’s liability and obtaining consistent compensation.