What if a single mistake ended up costing you thousands of dollars?
This happens every day to drivers who get in car accidents (especially if they don’t have the right car insurance). When an accident happens, usually one party is at fault. The party at fault may end up paying quite a bit of money to pay for the property damage and bodily injury they ended up causing.
Unfortunately, most drivers don’t know what makes them liable for a car accident. That means you could end up on the hook for a serious bill and not even know why!
To help prevent this, we put together a guide to car accident liability. Keep reading to discover what makes you liable for an accident!
Understanding Your Georgia Car Insurance
Even before you get into an accident, it’s important to understand how your car insurance works. Specifically, you need to understand how liability insurance is different from collision insurance and full coverage insurance.
Liability insurance only pays when you are liable for an accident. It only pays for the damages that you cause. This is why liability insurance is the minimum insurance in most states.
However, liability car insurance won’t pay anything for your own car repairs or injuries if you are found to be at fault. This is why it’s important to always have good collision coverage as well! If you add comprehensive coverage to your general liability and collision coverage, you have what is known as full coverage.
Determine If There Is a Liability Dispute in Your Georgia Car Accident
After a car accident, it’s important to determine who was liable for the accident. In some cases, though, there may not be a dispute about liability.
If one party admits to being at fault, then the matter doesn’t have to be decided by anybody’s insurance company. If drivers work out their own financial arrangements after an accident, nobody needs to file a claim. This can help keep insurance premiums from going up.
If neither party is willing to admit fault, though, then the police report will play a major role in determining liability.
Get a Police Report after a Car Wreck
The police do not necessarily intervene in every car accident. If the accident caused damage, caused injuries, or is blocking a major stretch of road, a police officer will arrive on the scene. Alternatively, either driver may call the police after a car accident.
While there, the police officer will make observations about the accident. He will note if there were any injuries and write down whether either driver received any traffic citations due to the accident.
The police report will play a key role in how your insurance carrier determines fault. This is why it is in your best interest to review the report.
Reviewing a Car Accident Report
Each driver can request a copy of the police report after the fact. It is important to review this report for accuracy. If you think anything in the report is in error, you can provide some of your own evidence (more on this later) to have the report corrected. Additionally, you can request to have your own statement added to the report.
When your insurance carrier reviews the report to help determine liability, they will take your statement into account. They will also review any evidence that you compiled that may help your case.
The Role of Georgia State Laws in Car Accidents
One of the biggest factors when determining liability is state traffic law. In some cases, the law may have hard rules that dictate who is at fault in an accident.
For example, many states hold that in a rear-end collision, the driver who crashes into the vehicle in front of them is at fault. That seems straightforward enough, but fault becomes more complicated when one car causes multiple vehicles to crash into the cars in front of them.
Speaking to Your Insurance Company
Before determining fault, the insurance carrier may reach out to you for an official statement. They will record your responses, so it’s important to get your story straight and know exactly what you will tell them if they should ask.
You shouldn’t have to rely solely on memory to make this statement. After the car accident, once you ensure that everyone is okay, you should write down everything you remember. You should also take pictures of the damage and the surrounding area. If you have any dashcam footage, you should hold onto it.
Reviewing all of this should help you prepare an accurate statement. While it is not required, some drivers prefer to consult with a traffic attorney before they make their official statement.
Determining Fault in a Georgia Auto Accident
Eventually, the insurance carrier will determine who is at fault. To do so, they will review the police report, statements from each driver, and any evidence that you gathered and submitted.
Depending on the state and the nature of the accident, it is possible for both parties to be at fault for an accident. In these cases, the insurance company may determine who is more at fault, and this determines who pays for what. If one driver is found to be completely at fault, then he will pay for any damages (though their mandatory insurance will help them pay).
If you are found at fault and disagree with the insurance company, it’s possible to consult with a traffic attorney and take the matter to court. Such legal disputes are often expensive, so it’s important to determine if the costs of going to court are worth it or not.
What to Do After a Car Accident in Georgia
The first thing you should do after a car accident is to make sure the other driver and those around you are okay. If not, you need to call emergency services right away.
After that, take the time to document the accident. Take extensive photos and videos of the damaged cars and the surrounding area. Write down the details that you remember as soon as you can. If there are any witnesses willing to verify you were not at fault, write their contact information down.
If you have to take your car for any repairs or have to go to the doctor for injuries, be sure to hold onto all relevant records. If the other person is found at fault, they will have to pay for these damages.
Find Affordable Car Insurance in Georgia Today!
Liability insurance is important for every driver, but it only offers so much protection. But what if you could give yourself and your car the protection you both deserve?
To learn more about how Velox Insurance can assist with your insurance needs, all you have to do is contact us online. Or you can just give us a call at 770-293-0623. Finally, you’re welcome to visit us in person at one of our convenient locations.