How Is The At-Fault Party Determined in a Car Accident?

Determining the At-Fault Party

Atlanta is a fairly busy city with thousands of cars on every highway. It is, thus, no surprise that car accidents are a common occurrence on Atlanta’s roads. With the variety of accidents in Atlanta, it is important to be able to determine who is the at-fault party.

In the unfortunate instance that you get into a car accident, you will not be able to take any legal action without determining which driver was at fault. If you’ve gotten into a car accident, check our Ultimate Guide To Car Accidents In Atlanta

Figuring out which party is at-fault in an auto accident can be a confusing and tricky process. Our experts are here to walk you through the steps in determining the at-fault party in the aftermath of an accident.

Car accident at-fault determination

Why Is It Important To Determine The At-Fault Party?

The party that is declared at fault is legally responsible for any damages to the other party. That is why, if you plan to take legal action, determining which driver was responsible is highly crucial. Without this important piece of evidence, your claim will not be strong enough. 

What Does It Mean To Be At Fault In a Car Accident?

Being declared at fault in a car accident refers to your actions being the cause of the accident. Being at fault also makes you responsible for any damages, physical or emotional, incurred as a result of the accident.

There are different road laws in every state. According to these laws, fault can be assessed differently in every scenario:

100% At Fault

If a driver is determined to be 100% at fault in the aftermath of a car accident, they (or their insurance company) are solely responsible for any damages.

51% At Fault Or More

The exact percentage of fault matters in determining who will be liable for damages in an accident. It can often be the case that both drivers were partially at-fault in causing an accident. 

In such a case, the party who is determined to be 51% at fault or more is deemed responsible for the accident and any damages. 

50/50 At Fault

In certain cases, it can be difficult to determine who was exactly responsible for an auto accident. In circumstances such as these, there are no eyewitness reports to help figure out which party caused the accident.

In these cases, insurance companies often choose to split the fault 50/50. This makes both parties responsible for damages equally. 

At-fault after a car accident

How To Determine Who Was At Fault?

There are several factors that can contribute to determining who was responsible for an accident:

Police Report

The police report is one of the most crucial pieces of evidence in determining fault in an auto accident. A law enforcement officer is most likely always called to the scene of the accident. Upon arriving at the scene, the police officer will always make a report of the accident with important details. A police report will contain the following information:

  • A summary of the events of the car accident
  • Eye witness reports from the accident scene
  • Statements from both drivers
  • Insurance information of both parties involved
  • The police officer’s own opinion of the cause of the accident

Car insurance companies will always read the police report when it is filed. Because of how important it is, you should review the police report once you have access to it, and request any amendments if you think they are due.

Eye Witness Reports

Eye witness reports can help a great deal in finding out who was responsible for the car crash. If several people make claims that a certain driver is responsible for the accident, that party will most likely be deemed at fault.

If there were eyewitnesses at the scene of the accident, make sure their statements are recorded by the police. Ask them to stay around until the police arrive. If possible, also take their contact information in case you require their statement later on as well. 

Photos and Videos

Insurance companies can also look at any available photos or videos of the accident to assess damages. If anyone at the scene has footage, make sure you ask them for it. You should also take photos yourself to have ample evidence in case it is required. Take photos of the location of the accident, your car, and the other driver’s car. 

Traffic Laws

Oftentimes, traffic laws help in immediately determining which party was at fault. For instance, if a driver drives beyond the speed limit or runs a stop sign, they are in clear violation of a traffic law. This violation can deem them at fault for the car accident.

Rear-End Collision

If the car accident was caused due to a rear-end collision, the general rule is that the rear driver is at fault. This is because traffic law dictates that there should always be a certain distance between two cars. Tailgating is also strictly prohibited according to traffic laws. If the accident is a rear-end collision, it is most likely probable that the rear driver will be determined at fault. 

Admitting Fault

Some people may admit to the accident being their fault. It may be that they feel responsible for the accident, or they have perceived the accident was caused due to their negligence.

However, a car accident almost always involves several factors. You should not quickly jump to the conclusion that it is your fault and make any such statements at the scene. Even if you believe you are at fault, there may be many other factors in play. That is why Personal injury lawyers often advise their clients to not make any statements that make it seem like they are admitting fault. 

Contact Atlanta Car Accident Attorneys Today

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at The Fitzpatrick Law Firm can help you understand your rights and options and will fight for the maximum compensation possible. Determining fault in a car accident is a tricky business and you should not be left to handle the legal system alone. Call us today at (678) 607-5550 to schedule a free consultation!