Montlick & Associates Reviews Rules of Thumb Regarding Liability in Common Types of Georgia Car Accidents


November 03, 2013

Our Atlanta Car Accidents Lawyers at Montlick and Associates often receive calls from individuals who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident with questions about fault. In some cases, the driver will have received a traffic citation or a law enforcement accident report indicating that the injured driver committed a traffic violation or otherwise caused the accident. If you are injured in an auto accident and concerned about fair compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, pain and suffering, lost earnings and other forms of loss, it is understandable that you many not find the prospect of being designated the at-fault driver a welcome development.

The reality is that many motor vehicle accidents are complicated, so despite his or her best efforts even an experienced law enforcement accident investigator may reach an inaccurate or incomplete conclusion regarding the cause of a collision. The law enforcement officer may have received false statements from witnesses in the other vehicle or drawn conclusions based on an erroneous interpretation of the physical evidence at the accident scene. Many accidents involve multiple responsible parties which also may not be reflected in a law enforcement accident report. If you experience an injury in an auto collision, it is worth seeking legal advice regarding your right to financial compensation.

While every car accident is unique and subtle distinctions in facts can have a dramatic impact on the assignment of fault, we have provided some general rules of thumb regarding liability based on common types of collisions. However, these are generalizations so we invite you to speak to one of our experienced Atlanta car crash lawyers for a specific assessment of fault based on your specific situation.

Rear End Collisions: If a driver slams into the rear of another vehicle, the driver who hits a vehicle from behind will usually be at-fault because drivers are required to observe a safe following distance that permits sufficient time to stop safely if the flow of traffic is interrupted. This does not mean that the other driver cannot also be at-fault, such as if the driver's taillights are not functioning at night, but usually the driver that rear-ends another vehicle will be at least partially responsible for the injuries suffered by occupants of a vehicle hit from the rear. As with all of the types of accidents in this list, there may be exceptions to this general liability rule, such as when the lead vehicle suddenly changes lanes cutting off a driver so that the trailing driver has no time to respond. Similarly, the driver of the lead vehicle may be responsible for the collision if he or she backs up into the other vehicle.

Side Impact Collisions: This type of auto collision occurs most typically at intersections when the front end of one vehicle collides with the side of another vehicle in a T-bone accident. Liability in this type of crash often is based on certain types of driver error. When a driver runs a red light or stop sign, the driver who commits this violation usually will be responsible for a T-bone intersection accident. These collisions also frequently occur when vehicles are traveling toward each other in opposite directions. A driver making a left turn in front of another vehicle will often be liable for failing to yield. However, there are exceptions to this rule of thumb because the other driver that is proceeding straight through the intersection may be speeding which can impact the assessment of fault.

Chain Reaction Crash: The assessment of liability in multi-car chain reaction accidents can be complicated because many times there are multiple responsible parties. When the collision involves multiple rear-end impacts, the drivers that strike other vehicles from behind often will share some degree of fault. However, these crashes require careful analysis of the accident report, vehicle damage, scene of the collision and witness statements to accurately determine how to assign fault.

With all of the crash scenarios above, these basic generalizations about liability can be subject to many exceptions so it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer. Every auto collision is unique so even subtle differences in the facts can drastically impact how fault is determined. Even if the police report assigns fault to the injury victim, there are many of these personal injury cases that yield financial compensation for the victim.  For example, an insurance company, and in some cases a judge or jury may interpret the accident differently when provided with testimony from an accident reconstruction expert and persuasive advocacy.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

If you or someone close to you is injured in an auto collision in Atlanta or the surrounding areas of Georgia, our Atlanta car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.