Understanding Fault in Car Accidents: Determining Liability

Liability in car accidents is based on many different factors. For example, when a motorist suffers injuries when another driver rear-ends into their car, the rear-ending driver will likely be liable for the accident. However, if the other motorist swerves into oncoming traffic, colliding head-on, they will likely be found liable too.

In Georgia, the decision of who should pay for injuries or damages in vehicle accidents solely lies on the state motor vehicle acts. Always hire a qualified attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and property after a car accident. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you prove liability and damages for compensation. Call (404) 609-1724 to speak with the best auto crash lawyers in Marietta and learn about fault and liability in your case.

Car Accidents

Statutory Instructions for Motor Vehicle Accident Liability

It used to be that liability in car accidents was based on common law ideas of fault. However, after much lobbying from automobile insurers, the state began to base liability on motor vehicle acts.

Of course, this made it rather easy for automobile insurers to dispute liability and fault when the claimant has broken a traffic law, especially since all motorists must carry liability insurance.

For example, if you were speeding, you may not be awarded full compensation for your damages, even if the other party was the one that caused your accident by shifting into your lane without signaling.

How is fault determined in motor vehicle accidents?

After an accident, the police will examine the scene, take witness statements and make an official report including their opinion of fault. The report can’t be used in court but provides a good basis for establishing liability and tracking witnesses. The involved insurance will do its own investigation too. They may ask you to give statements and reports.

It’s best practice to have a lawyer present to protect your rights. Your lawyer will also collect evidence and employ the help of expert witnesses to prove liability and damages and support a compelling case. They can argue the following types of faults:


Negligence in car accidents refers to inadvertent or careless actions of motorists that result in damage or harm. It’s one of the most common causes of automobile accidents. If your lawyer plans to argue negligence, they must show that the other party breached their duty of care, causing your accident and damages.

Wanton conduct or recklessness

Recklessness refers to a motorist’s intentional disregard for the welfare and safety of other road users.

Intentional torts

In other cases, such as aggressive driving or road rage, some motorists cause harm rising to the level of intentional crime. This can result in bodily injuries leading to criminal litigation.

Strict liability

Strict liability is when an accident happens due to a vehicle’s defective/faulty parts. Under Georgia laws, car parts makers are strictly liable for design or production defects and can be held responsible for accidents due to faulty products.

Who may be at fault in a car accident?

Individuals/entities that may be found liable for car accident dangers and injuries include:

  • The vehicle driver
  • Other drivers on the road
  • Careless pedestrian
  • Car parts manufacturers
  • Taxi/vehicle company
  • Government
  • The facility that knowingly served the driver drinks

Georgia’s modified comparative negligence

However, in some cases, the jury or judge may determine that the plaintiff is partially to blame for their accident and injuries. This concept is known as comparative negligence.

Georgia adheres to modified comparative negligence standards meaning you can obtain compensation even for an accident that you partially caused, as long as you are not more than 50% to blame.

For example, if it’s proven that you were 49% responsible, then you can recover up to 51% of your damages.

It’s best to have an attorney in your car accident case, especially where there are significant damages, disputes about liability, and an uncooperative insurer. An experienced attorney will fight any disproportionate allocation of liability. They work with witnesses and experts such as medical specialists and physicians, mental health experts, engineers, actuaries, and accident reconstruction experts to present clear and objective arguments and increase the chances of obtaining rightful compensation.

Contact a qualified Marietta car accident lawyer today for help proving fault and liability in your case.

Related Posts