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Was Your Georgia Car Accident Caused by Human Error or Improper Design?

August 10, 2012

Car accidents continue to cause serious injury and death to many throughout Georgia and the U.S., with over 5.5 million auto accidents annually. While no one plans to be involved in a Georgia auto accident, most drivers assume that if one occurs they can seek compensation from the other driver who caused their Georgia auto accident.

This assumption may be true provided there is another driver who was responsible for causing your Georgia auto accident. But what if you are the only driver. Few people anticipate being involved in a single vehicle accident in Georgia, but over 60 percent of all auto accidents involve only a single vehicle according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). When you are involved in a Georgia single vehicle auto accident, it may be harder to find a responsible party to compensate you for your injuries. Additionally, what if the other driver does not have enough insurance or assets to pay for the compensation you deserve for a serious injury, and if your own uninsured motorist coverage is not sufficient to make up the difference.

A public entity may be responsible for a Georgia roadway that is unsafe in its design, or the vehicle manufacturer in the case of a defective vehicle design, but if you are involved in a single vehicle Georgia auto accident proving fault of another party can be complicated. Insurance carriers for public entities or auto manufacturers will typically blame the accident on driver error. According to some studies, human error is the key factor in causing most vehicle accidents so if you are involved in a serious Georgia auto accident it is not surprising when driver error is asserted as a defense.

However, sometimes the notion of “human error” can be applied too broadly in the context of a serious Georgia auto accident. This bias sometimes is based on a misunderstanding of the notion of human error. A study by the Department of Transportation found that human error is a factor in up to 90 percent of auto collisions while less than 3 percent were due solely to mechanical fault and less than 5 percent were caused only by environmental factors. These studies sometimes blur the notions of “human error” and “human limitation.” Humans do not have unlimited ability to process environmental information and must rely on three fallible mental functions when driving: perception, memory and attention.

It is not that uncommon that what is considered driver error by insurance companies is really a failure to properly design a vehicle or roadway with adequate consideration for these normal limitations in driving ability. This tendency to overestimate the role of a driver in causing an accident as opposed to the surrounding conditions like the roadway conditions or design weaknesses in a vehicle is an example of a common error referred to as “fundamental attribution error.” This type of error involves overestimating human factors while underestimating situational factors when trying to explain the cause of an event like a Georgia single vehicle auto accident.

The bottom line is that many Georgia single vehicle auto accidents that an insurance company may blame on human error may be collisions caused by faulty analysis of limitations on human perception or response. When these substandard designs result in serious Georgia single vehicle auto accidents, the public entity that designed the unsafe road or the vehicle manufacturer that designed the vehicle may be liable if the design causes a Georgia single vehicle auto accident. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we have been representing those injured in Georgia auto accidents, including single vehicle collisions since 1984. Our experienced Georgia single vehicle auto accident lawyers are dedicated to providing our best efforts on behalf of our clients throughout Georgia as part of our ongoing commitment to establishing a reputation as the best Georgia auto accident lawyers.

Our Georgia motor vehicle accident lawyers are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and 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 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.